Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Recap: 49ers can’t capitalize in the red zone, fall short to Bears in Week 16

Dec 23, 2018 at 4:14 PM--



1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
CHI 0 7 7 0 14
SF 0 9 0 0 9

The San Francisco 49ers held their own against the Chicago Bears in Week 16, ultimately falling 14-9 after suffering key injuries and failing to do damage in the red zone.


The San Francisco 49ers couldn't quite continue the spoiler role against the playoff-bound Chicago Bears Sunday, falling to the 2018 NFC North champions 14-9 in Week 16.

Defense figured to be a major force, especially with Chicago entering the contest with the league's third-best defense in both points and yards allowed. Fortunately for coordinator Robert Saleh, the Niners' own defense was equal to the task early on and through much of the second half. In total, the Bears managed 325 total yards of offense.

San Francisco, meanwhile, finished with 279 all-purpose yards against one of the league's top defenses, but failed to capitalize on three red-zone trips, which ultimately proved to be the difference.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Niners managed to get on the board first with consecutive field goals by kicker Robbie Gould. Gould, who managed five field goals during the 49ers' 2017 win in Chicago over the Bears, was 3-of-3 on his field-goal tries, including three in the first half to account for all of San Francisco's points.

The Bears, however, managed touchdowns over the first three quarters -- the first coming off a 4-yard pass from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to wide receiver Anthony Miller that briefly gave Chicago the lead.

Running back Jordan Howard added a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the Bears up 14-9, which proved to be the game winner:


The 49ers managed to frustrate Trubisky early, which included two sacks by EDGE Cassius Marsh in the first half. Yet Trubisky managed to bounce back after halftime, finishing with a 25-of-29 mark for 246 yards, a touchdown with a 113.5 passer rating on the day. Meanwhile, the Niners were also able to get their sixth and seventh defensive takeaways of the year, as defensive tackle DeForest Buckner capitalized on a lost fumble by Trubisky.

In contrast, quarterback Nick Mullens went 22-of-38 for 241 yards and an interception. One of his better drives occurred just before halftime -- an eight-play, 63-yard drive culminating with Gould's third field goal of the game. Mullens hit wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor on back-to-back plays for 17 and 23 yards, respectively.

One of San Francisco's issues, however, was the lack of end-zone pay dirt and settling for field goals instead. Going 0-of-3 on red-zone drives didn't help matters, and neither did injuries to wide receiver Dante Pettis (knee) and running back Matt Breida (ankle). No. 2 tight end Garrett Celek was also removed with a head injury, and all three were declared out for the rest of the game after halftime.

As a result, the Bears attempted to clamp down hard on Mullens' top offensive weapon, tight end George Kittle, holding him to seven catches for 74 yards on the day.

Nickel cornerback K'Waun Williams also exited with a knee injury.

Trailing 14-9 halfway through the fourth quarter, Mullens tried to hit Goodwin again for a key pickup. But the ball bounced off Goodwin's fingertips and right into the hands of Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan. That spoiled a key red-zone drive for San Francisco with just under eight minutes remaining. And on Chicago's ensuing possession, safety Marcell Harris elected to hit Trubisky hard after he went into a slide on a scramble. That touched off a nice little scrum and delayed the game about five minutes as officials sorted out the mess.


Cornerback Richard Sherman was ejected for San Francisco, while Chicago wide receivers Joshua Bellamy and Anthony Miller were also disqualified.

The Bears appeared to ice the game just after the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter. With the 49ers out of timeouts and Chicago needing a first down, wide receiver Allen Robinson was hit from behind by cornerback Tarvarius Moore. Robinson fumbled, and the ball was picked up by Niners defensive back Greg Mabin for San Francisco's second defensive takeaway of the game.


Had Robinson gone down, the Bears would have won right there.

But Mullens made an equally perplexing play on San Francisco's final drive. Facing 4th-and-4 and with plenty of time on the clock, Mullens scrambled out to his left and had no Bears within 30 yards in front of him. He could have picked up the first down and then some.

Instead, he attempted a deep pass to Goodwin, which sailed out of bounds and ensured Chicago's victory.

The 49ers now fall to 4-11 and will have a road contest against the Los Angeles Rams a week from today to close out 2018.


CHI Team Stats SF
20 First Downs 15
325 Total Yards 279
235 Pass Yards 232
90 Rush Yards 47
4 (30) Penalties (Yds) 6 (45)
2 Turnovers 1
3 (33) Punts (Avg) 4 (45)
35:30 Time of Pos. 24:30

Bears Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
M. Trubisky 25/29 246 1 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
J. Howard 13 53 1 9
T. Cohen 6 12 0 9
A. Robinson II 1 9 0 9
T. Gabriel 1 8 0 8
A. Miller 1 4 0 4
M. Trubisky 5 3 0 3
T. Mizzell 1 1 0 1
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
A. Robinson II 6 85 0 43
T. Burton 5 30 0 8
T. Gabriel 3 28 0 16
A. Miller 3 24 1 12
T. Mizzell 2 27 0 26
J. Howard 2 17 0 16
B. Braunecker 1 18 0 18
T. Cohen 1 7 0 7
J. Bellamy 1 6 0 6
A. Shaheen 1 4 0 4
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
A. Robinson II 1 1 0 0
M. Trubisky 1 1 0 -8
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
C. Parkey 0/1 0 2/2 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
P. O'Donnell 3 39.7 1 49
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
A. Miller 1 30 0 30
T. Mizzell 1 22 0 22
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
R. Smith 6-3 1 0 0
A. Amos 7-1 0 0 0
D. Trevathan 7-0 0 1 0
K. Mack 3-2 0 0 0
K. Fuller 2-0 0 0 0
J. Bullard 2-0 0 0 0
D. Bush 2-0 0 0 0
P. Amukamara 1-1 0 0 0
R. Robertson-Harris 0-2 0 0 0
L. Floyd 1-0 0 0 0
A. Hicks 1-0 0 0 0
K. Toliver II 1-0 0 0 0
E. Goldman 1-0 0 0 0
S. McManis 0-1 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
N. Mullens 22/38 241 0 1
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
J. Wilson 11 27 0 8
M. Breida 4 20 0 11
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
G. Kittle 7 74 0 35
K. Bourne 4 73 0 25
M. Goodwin 3 29 0 17
D. Pettis 3 21 0 13
J. Wilson 2 11 0 9
T. Taylor 1 23 0 23
M. Breida 1 6 0 6
R. James 1 4 0 4
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
D. Buckner 0 0 0 0
G. Mabin 0 0 0 2
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 3/3 33 0/0 9
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
B. Pinion 4 45.3 1 49
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
R. James 2 15 0 16
M. Dayes 1 17 0 17
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
E. Lee 11-1 0 0 0
T. Moore 7-0 0 0 1
M. Harris 4-1 0 0 0
K. Williams 3-2 0 0 0
S. Thomas 3-1 0 0 0
F. Warner 2-2 0 0 0
D. Buckner 3-0 1 0 0
C. Marsh 2-1 2 0 0
R. Blair 2-1 0 0 0
D. Jones 2-1 0 0 0
R. Sherman 2-1 0 0 0
D. Reed 2-0 0 0 0
J. Taylor 1-1 0 0 0
A. Exum 1-0 0 0 0
M. Nzeocha 1-0 0 0 0
A. Armstead 0-1 0 0 0
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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