Robbie Gould swore last week there was no such thing as a -revenge game.
It was clear after the 49ers’ kicker made the 24-yard game-winner with four seconds left Sunday -— his fifth field goal in the 15-14 victory — that he never believed it for one second.
“That one was pretty special for me,” he said.
When the final kick went through the uprights, Gould screamed right at the Bears’ sideline, as if to remind them they cut him unceremoniously after 11 years on the eve of the 2016 season.
Going 5-for-5 at Soldier Field for the first time in his career, Gould was a walking, kicking remnant of the last time the Bears, who sunk to 3-9, were great. He’s the last player from the Bears’ -Super Bowl XLI team left in the league. The Bears, meanwhile, figure to brace for another coaching change after losing to a one-win team in front of 8,489 empty seats.
Gould was also a real-time rebuke of one of general manager Ryan Pace’s most controversial decisions. Since cutting Gould, the Bears suffered through a year-and-a-half of Connor Barth. His replacement, Cairo Santos, tweaked his recurring groin injury Sunday, limiting him to extra points and forcing punter Pat O’Donnell to kick off.
Pace hasn’t reached out to Gould since — “I don’t expect him to,” Gould said — though others, such as Fox and special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, greeted the kicker during warmups before his first game back at Soldier Field. Fox even accidentally started to say Gould’s name when referring to O’Donnell after the game. After Gould’s last kick, the stadium public-address announcer similarly said Gould was set to kick off for the Bears.
“This one is kind of bittersweet for me,” Gould said. “Coming back to a place that is probably the greatest sports organization, the greatest group of fans I’ve ever been a part of, and now to be a Niner and see the faithful and how great they’ve been through thick and thin. This one means a lot to me in a lot of different ways.”
The supercompetitive Gould said he had Pace, Fox and Rodgers to thank for re-evaluating his career. Gould focused on sloppy footwork after he was cut and has shined since. He went perfect on 10 field goals for the Giants last year — although he missed two extra points against the Bears — and is 26-for-28 with the 49ers.
“If I would’ve stayed here, who knows what my career would’ve ended like,” he said. “But you never want someone to tell you, you weren’t good at your job.”
While quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo outplayed Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky in his first 49ers start — the Arlington Heights native went 26-for-37 for 293 yards — he couldn’t spark a touchdown. The 49ers got close on their final drive, which started at their 8 with 5:27 to play. Thirteen plays later, Garoppolo kneeled on the Bears’ 5, setting up Gould’s winner.
“I would have loved to blow them out — you always love blowing out a team,” said 49ers punter and holder Bradley Pinion. “But I couldn’t think of a better way to win this game.”
Neither could Gould.
“To come in here and get a win like that and kick a game-winner,” he said, “I don’t think I could have written it any better, to be honest with you.”
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