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Bears mount impressive comeback to topple 49ers

  • By Dan Hanzus & Marc Sessler
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We imagine the Chicago Bears sitting on their charter early Monday morning knowing full well they stole one on Sunday night.

The Bears showed little sign of life as they entered the fourth quarter down 20-7 to the San Francisco 49ers. A grim 0-2 start was staring them in the face. But then Colin Kaepernick started making mistakes, Kyle Fuller started looking like a genius draft pick, and the Bears had suddenly taken over.

Brandon Marshall's third touchdown reception of the night put Chicago ahead with 2:13 to play, and a final defensive stand ensured a 28-20 win at Levi's Stadium.

Charles Tillman went down with another arm injury. Matt Forte averaged 1.8 yards per carry. Jay Cutler averaged 5.2 yards per attempt -- life dangerously close to The Gabbert Zone. And yet, the Bears found a way.

All this set against the backdrop of the opening of the Niners' new stadium. This was supposed to be the 49ers' night. Instead, the Bears reminded us they should be seen as a real player in the NFC.

Other takeaways from Sunday night:

1. One nugget from a wacky box score: The Bears were victorious despite just 21 yards from Forte on the ground. Chicago's featured back was outrushed by Cutler on a night when no Bears wideout crossed the 50-yard barrier through the air.

2. Kaepernick's turnover geyser helped Cutler toss four touchdown passes on the night, but it took the Bears starter nearly two quarters to get untracked. Chicago looked lost at the half, averaging 2.9 yards per play and showing no sustaining elements on offense before the comeback.

3. On defense, the Bears loaded the box early and dared San Francisco to run. Countering with plenty of four-wide sets that saw Bruce Ellington replace Frank Gore on passing downs, Kaepernick threw eight balls before Gore attempted his second rush. On the ground, the 49ers confronted Chicago with a rich variety of formations and looks -- including a string of plays out of the diamond formation -- but the Bears successfully held Gore to just 63 yards on the night. Promising rookie Carlos Hyde was an afterthought with zero yards off four totes.

4. Niners corners hovered close to the banged-up duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery out of the gate, challenging the Bears receivers to get past them on routes. The pass-catchers combined for two catches for 13 yards over the first 29-plus minutes before Marshall -- looking healthier than Jeffery -- hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cutler. The second half was a different story because of Marshall's heroics, but Marc Trestman won't be thrilled with Cutler's 5.2 yards per attempt.

5. The 49ers lost tight end Vernon Davis for the night with an ankle injury, while Tillman was seen in tears on the sideline after exiting with a triceps injury. It's a concerning setback after the Bears cornerback missed the final seven games of last season with a torn triceps.

6. Bears pass rusher Willie Young went off for two late-game sacks at the expense of 49ers right tackle Jonathan Martin. After San Francisco resorted to lining up a tight end next to the former Dolphins blocker, consider this a position of concern going forward.

7. The loss snaps a seven-game regular-season win streak for the 49ers, who now shift their focus to next Sunday's NFC West duel with the undefeated Cardinals. The Bears, meanwhile, ride high into Gotham to face the New York Jets on Monday night.

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