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Bears Strike Gold In San Francisco

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 15, 2014 4:30PM

For a week, at least, Bears fans can ease back from the ledge they were precariously standing on after the team’s season opening loss at home against Buffalo, thanks to a come-from-behind, 28-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. The win was the Bears’ first in San Francisco since 1985, but don’t break out our battered copies of the Super Bowl Shuffle yet. The Bears return home confident the offense can put up points against a contending team, but their health woes were further impacted last night with injuries to key players.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from last night’s game.

The Good

Jay Cutler: The Sulky QB’s detractors can renew their calls that Cutler won’t lead the Bears to a Super Bowl tomorrow. Today, Cutler earns praise and a game ball, as his second-half performance provided one of the keys to the Bears comeback. Cutler was 23 for 34 passing for only 176 yards. But he threw four touchdowns passes, didn’t turn the ball over (although the Niners had a couple golden opportunities to intercept him deep), produced a 119.2 QB rating and was the Bears leading rusher with 25 yards on five carries. Cutler proved his toughness once again, getting up after a brutal hit from San Francisco’s Quinton Dial late in the second quarter.

Dial was flagged for roughing the passer and the penalty seemed to awaken the Bears offense, as Cutler got up and drove the Bears downfield for their first score and cut the deficit to 17-7 at the half.

Brandon Marshall: Cutler’s favorite target, who was listed along with Alshon Jeffery as questionable to play, also proved his mettle and toughness. Marshall was target eight times, caught five passes for 47 yards and was the recipient of three of Cutler’s touchdown passes, including this beauty.


In 34 games as a Bear, Marshall now has 27 touchdown receptions as he continues his rocket ride up the team's all-time receiving marks.

Bears "D" turns up the heat: The Bears defense allowed 361 total yards but were able to put pressure on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tighten up in the middle while Cutler and the offense mounted their comeback. The Bears sacked Kaepernick four times, recovered a Kaepernick fumble and forced him to throw three interceptions, Two of those picks were by rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller also led the Bears with seven tackles, five of them solo. Defensive end Willie Young, whose offseason signing was overshadowed by Jared Allen's arrival, recorded two of the Bears' four sacks. Shea McClellin was awarded a sack, as well.

The Bad

The Running Game: When Cutler is your leading rusher, that doesn't normally equate to a Bears win. The Niners went into the game with a plan to keep Matt Forte in check and it worked, mostly. Forte only gained 21 yards on 12 carries as San Francisco stacked their defensive front line to keep him from breaking to the outside corners where he thrives. Forte catch five passes for 15 yards, but was largely a non-factor.

Slow out of the gate: Before Dial's hit on Cutler, it looked as though the Bears would be heading to an 0-2 record and Lord knows how fans would have reacted on sports talk radio this morning, if that happened. The Bears offense managed to rack up only 93 yards in the first half.

The Ugly

Penalties: This was a sloppy game, with the referees throwing penalty flags all over the field. One of the reasons the score was only 17-7 at halftime was the 49ers being called for 11 penalties in the first half. A total of 26 penalties were called in the game—16 by San Francisco. At one point late in the third quarter, six of the Bears' 16 first downs were the result of penalties.

Injuries: The Bears defense was hit hard with injuries last night, which made their second half play even more remarkable. Cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman re-injured his triceps muscle. Cornerback Sherrick McManus suffered a quadriceps injury. Other injuries weew suffered by defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion). The Bears defensive depth is already being put to the test, while Marshall and Jeffery were walking wounded on offense throughout the game.

The Bears will practice at home this week before heading to MetLife Stadium Sunday to tackle the New York Jets in a "Monday Night Football" matchup on ESPN.