Bears defensive backs Sherrick McManis (27) and Deon Bush (26) celebrate after an incomplete pass sealed Chicago's win.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Bernstein: Sloppy Bears Get Some Gifts

The Bears earned an ugly 14-9 victory against the 49ers.

Dan Bernstein
December 23, 2018 - 6:58 pm
Categories: 

(670 The Score) Timely penalties, a bobbled pass and a bad decision are better Christmas presents than more socks and underpants, at least.

The 49ers gave the Bears enough to help Chicago to a 14-9 win Sunday, when San Francisco was unable to take enough advantage of the unlikely opportunities afforded it by the visitors all afternoon. The 10-win team beat the four-win team as it was expected to do, succeeding despite a spate of maddening mistakes that would've doomed the Bears against stiffer competition and forcing their dominant front seven to matter until the very end.

Our played-out Robbie Gould narrative lived on early, with Cody Parkey derping a weakly struck 37-yarder only to see the former Bears kicker Gould drill field goals of 33 and 30 yards thereafter in the second quarter, with one cashing in on a brutal fumble when a Mitchell Trubisky option lateral went kablooey. Trubisky also appeared to throw an unconscionable interception in the end zone but was bailed out by a defensive holding call that kept the drive alive and later resulted in a four-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller.

Trubisky ended the day with a stellar passer rating of 113.5, completing 25 of 29 throws for 246 yards, that one score and no interceptions. It didn't quite feel as good as that looks, however.

Another huge break occurred early in the third, when a tackle of Jordan Howard deep in the backfield inside the Bears' 10-yard line also included a facemask personal foul on DeForest Buckner. The ensuing drive was the Bears' longest of the season, eating up 7:43 on the clock, covering 90 yards in 12 plays and ending with a Howard plunge for a touchdown that would be the last scoring play of the game.

San Francisco appeared poised to score in the fourth, but receiver Marquise Goodwin spit the ball out right into the hands of Danny Travathan to kill the drive. Then all hell broke loose with a late hit on Trubisky, a stupid fight that saw Miller and Josh Bellamy kicked out of the game, then a fourth-and-1 Trubisky sneak to keep the clock running -- a somewhat risky but in no way reckless coaching decision that seemed to blindside the FOX broadcast crew, despite league-wide trends that reflect an enlightened understanding of math and probability.

Allen Robinson had the ball stripped from him late as he tried to gain needless yards after the catch when sliding to the ground would've effectively ended the game. It gave Nick Mullens one last chance to drive for a go-ahead score, but on fourth-and-3 from the Bears' 45 he passed up what looked like an easy scramble to the marker for a no-chance lob out of bounds.

The Niners' bumbling allowed Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith to keep having enough of an impact on the entire game, and Trubisky should be credited for continuing to execute even as it got weird and ugly. Howard's 53 yards on 13 carries helped Bears coach Matt Nagy manage the clock on a day that saw his team catch some breaks.

The Bears can get out of there and get home still hoping for a lot of luck to grab a playoff bye, and they can write thank-you notes later.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​