Bears lose in overtime to lowly 49ers 26-20

Bears lose in overtime to lowly 49ers 26-20

The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears both flubbed terrific opportunities to win a game Sunday. But the 49ers got a second chance, and they prevailed 26-20 on Blaine Gabbert’s 71-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith after 2:10 of overtime.

With the game tied at 20 following Gabbert’s 44-yard scramble for a touchdown with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bears got a 74-yard kickoff return from Deonte Thompson to start their next drive at the 49ers’ 28-yard line.

As time expired, however, Robbie Gould, who before the game had made 24 of 27 field goal attempts this season, was wide left on a potentially game-winning 36-yard field goal attempt, his second miss of the second half.

It was not a happy birthday for Gould, who turned 34 Sunday. He missed two field goal attempts in the same game for the second time in a month, something he had done only twice in 10 previous NFL seasons.

“There’s no excuse for it,” Gould said. “I have a job to do, and I didn’t do that today … Both are the worst kicks I’ve had all year.”

San Francisco went 3-and-out on the first series of overtime, and then, on Chicago’s third play from scrimmage, a Jay Cutler pass floated right into the arms of linebacker Corey Lemonier for what looked like an easy interception that would have set the 49ers up for victory.

But Lemonier dropped the ball, giving the Bears what proved only a temporary reprieve. They punted, and on the next play the Bears’ secondary lost track of Smith, and lost the game.

Asked what happened, Chicago coach John Fox was succinct.

“I would say (our defense) wasn’t well executed,” Fox said.

Neither was their offense for much of the game, at least not where it counted. The Bears were across the 50-yard line eight times but had to settle for four field goal attempts and two punts to go with two touchdowns. The 49ers were across the 50 only three times until the winning play.

“We’ve got to play better offensively,” said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Unfortunately for the Bears, that work now must be geared toward next season because their already-slim playoff chances were minimized even more by this loss. Chicago is 5-7 and, remarkably, has only a 1-5 record at home. San Francisco, winning for the first time in six road games, is 4-8.

“We’ve got a long way to go, and we’ve got a lot of improving to do,” said Jim Tomsula, the 49ers’ coach.

What we learned about the Bears:

1. It’s time to end the talk a run to the playoffs, even though that is still mathematically possible. This is a team that might have gotten a false impression of itself with the Thanksgiving victory at Green Bay. The Bears are in need of a lot of help – and a big question looming over it all is whether Jay Cutler is the right quarterback going forward.

2. Rookie running back Jeremy Langford is a terrific complement to Matt Forte and will force a tough decision at the end of the season. While Forte rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries, Langford also showed nice bursts in gaining 59 yards on 12 carries. Forte might have a big edge, however, as a receiver and pass protector.

3. The secondary is in need of more repair. While it was most glaring on the winning touchdown pass, the Bears also allowed Blaine Gabbert to run through them for 44 yards and a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chicago has only six interceptions in 12 games, and too often the 49ers had receivers running wide open.


–PK Robbie Gould has missed two field goal attempts in a game in two of the last four games, something he had done only twice previously in a decade. Gould’s five missed field goal attempts this season is one short of the career-high six he missed as a rookie in 2005.

–QB Jay Cutler has thrown three pick-6 interceptions this season, and his inconsistency will force the Bears to make a decision at the end of the year. Do they want to continue along the same road with Cutler as they rebuild or do they accelerate the search for a replacement?

–DL Eddie Goldman looks like a keeper. Goldman was effective pressuring Blaine Gabbert and made two sacks, bringing his season total to 4.5. Goldman was the Bears’ second-round draft choice last spring.