JC's Live Blog: Bears vs. 49ers

This is the exhibition game that will feel most like a regular season contest, especially if Rex Grossman fumbles a snap and the boobirds come out in full force. Let's hope for his sake he doesn't. Be sure to refresh this story every now and then for all the goings on at Soldier Field. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're a part of the game.

6:01 p.m.
Greetings, Bears fans. After a seventh-month hiatus, it's great to be back in the press box at Soldier Field. I got a really good laugh yesterday from a girl I know who's attending the game tonight. She asked me if I would be tailgating. Ha! Tailgating, that's a good one. Like I actually get a chance to enjoy the football experience like the typical fan does. I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong. I've got a great life, and I love what I do for a living. But it would be nice to have a beer and a brat in the parking lot before kickoff like regular football fanatics every now and then ...

6:39 p.m.
Israel Idonije, Ruben Brown, John St. Clair, Brandon Rideau, Muhsin Muhammad, and Tommie Harris are inactive tonight for the Bears. As for the 49ers, RB Frank Gore, S Dashon Goldson, DT Aubrayo Franklin, and DT Bryant Young will watch this one from the sideline. Devin Hester is actually in the starting lineup tonight for Muhammad, while Terrence Metcalf takes over for Brown and Darwin Walker for Harris. It's a shame Rideau's ankle won't allow him to play because that probably means he doesn't make the team now. If Harris isn't playing tonight, then he's taking the entire preseason off because there's no way he suits up in the exhibition finale against Cleveland ...

7:04 p.m.
The Bears have won the toss and elected to receive ...

7:13 p.m.
Touchdown Bears as Cedric Benson plows into the end zone from two yards away on 4th-and-short. Rex Grossman opened the drive with a gorgeous 45-yard completion to Bernard Berrian on a double move. It was a 60-yard drive on six plays in 3:23, featuring five carries by Benson ...

7:16 p.m.
Three-and-out for the 49ers as Alex Smith bounces a third-down pass to Taylor Jacobs. Hester is once again the most popular man in the building, returning the San Francisco punt 29 yards nearly to midfield. First down Bears with a 7-0 lead and great field position ...

7:22 p.m.
Hester is slow to get up after a first-down run by Benson, and you can hear a pin drop in Soldier Field right about now ...

7:26 p.m.
I don't believe it. Grossman fumbles another snap. Cue the boos. Hester trotted off the field under his own power by the way. So the Bears have that going for them, which is nice ...

7:27 p.m.
The Bears settle for a 37-yard field goal by Robbie Gould and a 10-0 lead with 7:14 left in the opening stanza ...

7:31 p.m.
Hester suffered some sort of shoulder injury and is out for the rest of the game, by far the worst news of the preseason no matter how severe it ends up being ...

7:39 p.m.
After another San Francisco punt, Grossman is engineering another steady drive down the field. That's the end of the first quarter, Bears leading 10-0 and on the move again. The Midway Monsters outgained the 49ers 136-19 in the opening period ...

7:43 p.m.
Touchdown Bears on the first play of the second quarter as Grossman connects with Berrian on another double move from 25 yards out. Grossman has thrown the ball pretty well so far in the preseason, but his inability to take the snap from center consistently is nothing short of maddening. Nobody doubts the guy's talent, but there's something between his ears that's off-center a little too often ...

7:51 p.m.
Apparently this fumble-snapping problem is contagious as Smith just put one on the ground. The 49ers are yet to pick up a first down tonight. But they get a break on the ensuing punt as rookie Drisan James bobbles the ball and gives it right back at the Chicago 6-yard line ...

7:54 p.m.
Touchdown 49ers as Maurice Hicks finds the end zone from two yards out. 17-7 Bears still leading with about 12 minutes left before intermission. San Francisco still has just 29 yards of total offense ...

7:59 p.m.
How do you like that? On a 4th-and-13 play, punter Brad Maynard keeps it for an 18-yard gain down the right sideline on the fake. Gotta love that pulse-pounding preseason action ...

8:05 p.m.
On 2nd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Grossman sells the play-action fake beautifully and hits a wide-open Desmond Clark in the back of the end zone for an easy touchdown. 24-7 Bears as the offense continues to move the ball up and down the field seemingly at will. That drive took 5:21 and covered 77 yards on 11 plays ...

8:10 p.m.
Adewale Ogunleye continues his big preseason with a sack of Smith on third down. Lance Briggs also made a nice play on that series, popping Michael Robinson for just a two-yard gain when he looked to have some running room. So much for all this talk about Smith making a quantum leap in his development this season ...

8:13 p.m.
Apparently, Grossman just can't keep it together for too long. On 3rd-and-5, Walt Harris undercuts a flat pass to rookie Greg Olsen for the interception and races 58 yards untouched for a touchdown. Just as the critics up in the press box were finishing their Grossman apology columns, he makes another mistake that a quarterback of his experience shouldn't be making anymore ...

8:20 p.m.
Grossman is lucky he didn't throw another pick-six right there, as Manny Lawson lets one go through his fingertips along the right sideline. Jason McKie was open in the flat, but the pass was delivered late. Adrian Peterson comes up short on a third-down screen pass, so Maynard will punt it away right after the two-minute warning ...

8:23 p.m.
What a play by Nathan Vasher, who zig-zags all over the field with a Robinson fumble to the San Francisco 20. First down Bears with about a minute and a half to go before intermission. Time to rehearse the red-zone offense ...

8:28 p.m.
Touchdown Bears as Peterson punches it in around the left side from three yards out. Gould splits the uprights once again for a 31-14 lead with 36 seconds left in the half. Grossman has thrown for 211 yards so far on 13-of-20 passing, but the fumbled snap and interception-for-touchdown are bound to dominate the headlines come Sunday morning ...

8:31 p.m.
And that's the half as almost every media member in the press box makes a mad dash for the dinner line, even though the Bears already fed us once before kickoff ...

8:51 p.m.
A pair of penalties by Vernon Davis effectively killed that drive for the 49ers, although he did make a big play in the passing game. Davis got loose on a flag route near the left sideline and made the catch behind Adam Archuleta, who continues to look like somewhat of a liability in coverage. Briggs was once again stuffed at the line of scrimmage when blitzing on the play, just like he was all too often last season ...

8:56 p.m.
Brian Griese takes over under center for the Bears, but he can't get anything going on his first drive. I guess 31 points by the starting offense before halftime was all head coach Lovie Smith needed to see out of Grossman. Alex Smith, on other hand, is still in the lineup for San Francisco ...

9:02 p.m.
Andy Lee, the punter for San Francisco, is going to have a sore leg tomorrow morning. Smith & Company just can't get anything going against this Bears defense. Briggs makes a nice play on third down to knock down a Smith pass, although Dusty Dvoracek jumped offsides yet again and seems to be having a hard time breaking that habit ...

9:10 p.m.
13 yards and a rushing first down for Griese, although I could have eaten an entire Italian beef sandwich in the time it took him to run that far ...

9:15 p.m.
The second-string defense finally takes over after a sensational effort by the starers ...

9:17 p.m.
That's the end of the third quarter, Bears still leading 31-13. Chicago has outgained the 49ers 314-120 in terms of total yards so far. Benson once again did very little running the football, but Peterson has looked much better with 6 carries for 27 yards and scored a touchdown for the second consecutive week ...

9:20 p.m.
Touchdown 49ers as Trent Dilfer delivered some good-looking passes on that drive, the capper a short touchdown toss to Zachary Hilton from three yards out. 31-20 Bears as both backup brigades will take us the rest of the way. Exhibition football, gotta love it ...

9:28 p.m.
Five straight touches for rookie Garrett Wolfe on that drive, including a pair of solid runs before being flattened like a pancake for a five-yard loss shortly thereafter. You can't help but worry about that kid when he gets hit like that. He's listed at 5'7" and 186 pounds, but he's gotta be standing on a dictionary and holding a sack of potatos to make those numbers accurate ...

9:34 p.m.
Rookie Dan Bazuin gets himself into the stat column, sacking Dilfer on third down to force another San Francisco punt ...

9:37 p.m.
Kyle Orton takes over at quarterback with 8:54 left in the ballgame ...

9:44 p.m.
The Bears get the ball back on their own 8-yard line as Delanie Walker fumbles after catching a pass over the middle from Dilfer. Danieal Manning makes the hit and also comes up with the recovery. Two turnovers now for both teams ...

9:52 p.m.
Touchdown 49ers as Dilfer connects with rookie speedster Jason Hill on a slant pattern from nine yards out. Dilfer then hits Bryan Gilmore for the two-point converstion to cut the lead down to 31-28. 1:52 left in the game ...

9:58 p.m.
7,487 unused tickets this evening, although it looked like a few more right about kickoff ...

10:00 p.m.
And that's the ballgame, ladies and gentlemen, as the Bears wrap-up a 31-28 victory over the 49ers at Soldier Field ...

Be sure to visit BearReport.com for all the analysis, all the insight, and all the latest from Chicago as the Bears move their exhibition record to a perfect 3-0.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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