It wasn’t always pretty but the Bears came away from Week 16 with a 14-9 victory over the 49ers in Santa Clara, California. They’ll retain an outside chance at clinching a bye for the first round of the playoffs if they can win again next weekend against the Vikings.
Mitch Trubisky had one play in particular he’s fortunate got called back by a penalty, but otherwise played well. The second-year QB completed 25 of 29 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown to lead the team to its eighth win in nine games.
The defense also played well against a shorthanded 49ers offense by limiting it to three field goals. There were times where Nick Mullens was able to get the offense moving, but their inability to capitalize in the red zone cost them in a low-scoring game.
Relive the Bears’ 11th victory of the season here:
Final score: Bears 14, 49ers 9
Bears 14, 49ers 9: The 49ers drive past midfield before hitting a fourth-and-4 with the game on the line … and Nick Mullens throws a heave with no chance of being caught despite having some room to run in front of him. A questionable decision that effectively ends the game and gives the Bears their latest victory.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: A potentially huge turnover as Allen Robinson fumbles after making a catch over the middle that’s recovered by Greg Mabin. All Robinson needed to do was get done after making the catch but he got popped from behind trying to push the ball upfield. Now it’s back on the defense to put this one away.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: A big-time throw by Mitch Trubisky on third down hits Allen Robinson to move the chains. The 49ers just used their last timeout with 3:14 remaining.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: Mitch Trubisky takes it himself for the first down, that’s a huge play to keep the ball in the Bears’ hands with less than four minutes to go.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: Matt Nagy loses another challenge on the spot of the ball after a third-down completion to Adam Shaheen, so it looks like they’re going for it on fourth down in their own territory.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: A late hit on Mitch Trubisky leads to a melee and a whole bunch of penalties. The end result? All of those penalties negated each other, but Joshua Bellamy, Anthony Miller and Richard Sherman were all ejected.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: INTERCEPTION! Danny Trevathan delivers the defense’s clutch play of the week with a heads up play after the ball deflects off Marquise Goodwin’s hands.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: Nick Mullens makes a stellar throw over the middle on third-and-13 to hit Kendrick Bourne for a first down. The 49ers are right at the Bears’ 20 with a chance to go ahead.
Bears 14, 49ers 9:Kyle Fuller gingerly walked off the field after another 49ers first down pushed them past midfield on their current drive. It looked like Fuller just lost his footing on the field.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: The Bears’ drive stalls out after a sack by DeForest Buckner and an offensive pass interference penalty by Allen Robinson.
Third quarter: Bears 14, 49ers 9
Bears 14, 49ers 9: The Bears are driving again with the third quarter coming to an end. Another score early in the fourth quarter would give them some much-needed breathing room.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: Impressive closing speed by Roquan Smith for his fifth sack of the season after a blown blocking assignment by the 49ers. The rookie linebacker continues to impress in his 15th game.
Bears 14, 49ers 9: TOUCHDOWN! Jordan Howard plows through from a short distance for his seventh touchdown of the season to complete a very impressive 12-play, 90-yard drive. The Bears had possession for more than half of the quarter (7:43) there.
49ers 9, Bears 7:Allen Robinson gets stripped on the Bears’ first offensive play of the second half but a video review overturns the call after it’s shown that Robinson’s knee was down before he fumbled. That would’ve been a bad blow but it’s second-and-1 for the Bears instead.
49ers 9, Bears 7: The 49ers announce during their drive to open the second half that Matt Breida, Dante Pettis and Garrett Celek won’t return to the game, so Nick Mullens won’t have as many weapons to tune to. Time for lots of George Kittle!
Halftime: 49ers 9, Bears 7
49ers 9, Bears 7: The 49ers’ two-minute drill ends in chaos with a booth review on a first down call that forces them to immediately kick a field goal upon the whistle as time expired in the half. Robbie Gould, unsurprisingly, didn’t miss the 23-yarder to put San Francisco back ahead by two.
Bears 7, 49ers 6: TOUCHDOWN! Mitch Trubisky hits Anthony Miller for the rookie’s seventh score of the season. The receiver ran a very good route to the outside to set up the catch.
And the obligatory celebration video:
49ers 6, Bears 0: Mitch Trubisky gets a massive favor amid a good drive when an interception in the end zone is called back due to a defensive holding call on the 49ers. The Bears are now inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line with a chance to strike.
49ers 6, Bears 0: The Bears’ defense holds after the turnover so the 49ers settle for a 30-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.
49ers 3, Bears 0: Mitch Trubisky makes a disastrous decision to try a backwards pass instead of running and it ends with the 49ers coming away with the ball. An unnecessary mistake gives San Francisco a chance to add to its early lead.
49ers 3, Bears 0: Good as Gould. Robbie hits from 33 yards to break the scoreless tie.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: Matt Nagy challenges the call that Pettis’ knee was down before he fumbled … and loses. He’s now 0-for-2 in challenging calls by the officials this year.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: The Bears nearly pull off another turnover-for-touchdown by stripping Dante Pettis, but the 49ers receiver’s knee was down before he lost control of the ball. That’s the good news for Pettis – the bad news is that he appeared to suffer a leg injury on the play because trainers needed to help carry him off the field.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: A rare example of Khalil Mack finally drawing a penalty! The 49ers get busted for a block in the back amid a drive into the red zone.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: Play stops early in the second quarter as trainers tend to 49ers running back Matt Breida, who missed time recently due to an ankle injury. He got his leg caught on a run on the previous play, so it’s possible he re-aggravated his problem in some way.
First quarter: Bears 0, 49ers 0
Bears 0, 49ers 0: The first quarter wraps up with the 49ers narrowly picking up a first down near the Bears’ 40. They’ll have a chance to take the lead once play resumes in the second.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: The big pass won’t lead to points after the drive stalls, then Cody Parkey misses from 37 yards. That’s the seventh missed field goal of the season for the Bears’ kicker … and naturally the broadcast brought up Robbie Gould right afterwards.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: A beauty! Mitch Trubisky goes deep on the Bears’ second drive to hit Allen Robinson over the top for 43 yards. The quarterback put it right where he needed to avoid the risk of a turnover and Robinson made the leaping catch worthy of his tag as the team’s highest-paid receiver.
Unfortunately, Robinson also came immediately off the field and into the medical tent after the play, so hopefully he’s okay.
Bears 0, 49ers 0: The Bears open the game with possession but are forced to settle for a punt into the end zone after stalling near midfield. Allen Robinson, Joshua Bellamy and Trey Burton were targeted, and the only rushing attempt went to Taquan Mizzell.
Before the game
The Bears already accomplished their biggest goal for the 2018 regular season by winning the NFC North last weekend, but their quest for a first-round bye in the postseason continues Sunday against the 49ers.
If the team can win its final two games of the year to finish 12-4, it’ll put pressure on the Rams to win out in order to hang onto their spot as the NFC’s second seed.
A strong second half from the Bears, including a Week 14 win over Los Angeles on “Sunday Night Football,” has positioned them to potentially leapfrog into a first-round bye. However, the team needs to win its final two games of the season and have the Rams lose at least one of their final two games. It’s a series of events that’s not necessarily likely to pass, but with the Rams sputtering in recent weeks and the Bears having won seven of their past eight, the possibility is there.
The 49ers stand as a key figure in what happens from here. They host the Bears this weekend before traveling to L.A. for a Week 17 matchup against the Rams. With rookie quarterback Nick Mullens leading them to back-to-back wins over the Broncos and Seahawks, they seem to be trending upward right now. It’s possible they play a spoiler here one way or another, either by beating the Bears to clinch the bye for the Rams, or by beating the Rams to open the door for the Bears to pass them.
All of that provides some intrigue to the Bears’ late-afternoon trip to the Bay Area, even if their seeding is likely set.
How to watch Bears vs. 49ers
Time: 3:05 p.m. CT
Live stream: FOX Sports Go