49ers rally over Bears in Garoppolo’s first start
CHICAGO — San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould turned toward the Chicago Bears’ sideline and let out a triumphant scream.
Moments earlier, the veteran kicker had kicked a 24-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining to cap a perfect 5-for-5 performance from field-goal range against his former team.
The go-ahead kick lifted the 49ers to a 15-14 comeback win over the Bears on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
“This one’s kind of bittersweet for me,” said Gould, who is the Bears’ all-time leading scorer but was released before the start of the 2016 season. “I played a long time here. I was going against a team that I have a lot of respect for. This one means a lot to me in a lot of different ways.”
The kick also sealed a victory for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in his first start since the 49ers acquired him from the New England Patriots on Oct. 31. Garoppolo showed poise and promise as he completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards.
In the final six minutes with his team trailing 14-12, Garoppolo engineered a 14-play, 86-yard scoring drive. The sequence included a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Trent Taylor on third down that moved the ball into the red zone.
San Francisco (2-10) won for the second time in the past three games and earned its first road victory of the season.
“I thought it was a huge team win,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I think everyone contributed. Especially Robbie, being 5-for-5 on those field goals, coming back to where he spent most of his career, it was a huge day for him and it was a perfect time to do that for us.”
Garoppolo’s grin was nearly as big as he played in front of dozens of friends and family members. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs, where he watched Bears games on television as a child.
“I can remember since I was in elementary school, really, you always have that dream of playing in the NFL,” Garoppolo said. “You don’t really know if it’s going to come true or not. It’s crazy how things work out.”
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 12 of 15 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Tarik Cohen added a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Chicago (3-9) lost its fifth straight game and dropped to 2-5 at home. The loss secured the Bears’ fourth consecutive losing season, including its third sub-.500 season in a row under head coach John Fox.
“Obviously, this was a very disappointing loss,” Fox said. “In a nutshell, if you don’t give up an offensive touchdown, you’re going to win your share of games in this league. That wasn’t the case today.”
Chicago led 14-9 at halftime, but San Francisco cut the deficit to 14-12 on a 34-yard field goal by Gould with 1:57 to go in the third quarter. The Bears managed two first downs on their final two possessions, both of which ended with punts.
The 49ers outgained the Bears 388-147 in yards and controlled time of possession by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.
“We just didn’t execute today,” Trubisky said. “We had a great week of preparation, but it only means so much if you (fail to) execute on Sundays. They did a few things that we weren’t expecting, but for the most part, they’re pretty true to what they do on defense, and they did it well today.”
Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman scored the Bears’ first touchdown when he hauled in an 8-yard pass from Trubisky with 10 seconds left in the first quarter. Cohen followed with an electrifying punt-return touchdown in the second quarter as he retreated 15 yards before reversing direction and finding daylight along the left sideline.
Gould made three field goals in the first half to account for San Francisco’s first nine points.
“To come in here, get a win like that and kick a game-winner, I don’t think I could have written it any better,” Gould said.
NOTES: Bears RB Tarik Cohen became the first rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 to notch a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown in a single season, according to the NFL. ... 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw his first career interception on his 104th career pass attempt. Bears CB Kyle Fuller pried the ball from the hands of 49ers WR Louis Murphy Jr. for the takeaway. ... Bears LB Danny Trevathan returned to action after missing the previous three games because of a calf injury. ... 49ers RT Trent Brown started despite being limited in practice all week with a shoulder injury. ... Bears CB Bryce Callahan (knee) missed his fourth straight game.