The Bears spoiled the 49ers opening regular season home game at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara last night with a second half 28-20 comeback victory. The beat-up Bears did not look good in the first half when they fell behind 17-0. The 49ers defense man-handled the Bears to the point where it looked like they might get shutout despite the fact that the Bears are clearly laden with receiving talent. As the first half was winding down, Jay Cutler had a 25-yard run and then was hit squarely in the center of his chest by 49ers defensive end Quinton Dials. It looked like the kind of hit that would take someone out of the next several games, but Cutler was able to brush it off immediately. The Bears quarterback tossed up a jump ball to Brandon Marshall in the end zone who snagged it with one hand. Both Marshall and Alshon Jefferey were hobbled by leg injuries from the previous week, but they carried on. Marshall would go on to catch two more touchdown passes and Martellus Bennett caught one as well. The 49ers defense were keying in on Forte, but the Bears back was able to contribute as well. Jimmy Clausen played a little red-light green-light red-light on the sideline when Cutler was speared, but ended up cheering from the sidelines for the entire game.
Several Bears were injured during the contest. With veterans Chris Conte, Peanut Tillman and Jeremiah Ratliff out, the Bears defensive rookies picked up their game in the second half, especially Kyle Fuller who looked like a pro-bowler with his two interceptions. A ton of penalties and a kind of bully attitude peppered with some self-destructive play helped lead the 49ers demise, but it was managed by a gutsy Bears performance.
The Bears will play a motivated and perhaps angry New York Jets team next Monday night. The Jets were outplayed by the Green Bay Packers in the second half of their match yesterday with a plot similar in many respects to the Bears-49ers game. A skinny, calm-looking Rex Ryan watched his Jets lose 31-24 yesterday afternoon.
San Francisco moves on to play a 2-win Arizona Cardinals team. Some San Francisco fans and critics are talking about Colin Kaepernick's poor second half performance, but to me it looks more like a situation that calls for two aspirins, game films study in the morning, and more work on the field. Most NFL teams would love to have Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers are likely to shake off this loss and keep getting better this season.
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