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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould celebrates after kicking the game-winning field goal Sunday against this former team, the Bears.

Monday, December 04, 2017 1:00 am

San Francisco 15 Chicago 14

Garoppolo, Gould too much for Bears

Both 49ers have ties to Chicago

ANDREW SELIGMAN | Associated Press

CHICAGO – The San Francisco 49ers believe better days are coming now that they have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. His first start for them was a promising one.

Garoppolo threw for 293 yards, and former Bear Robbie Gould kicked a 24-yard field goal in the closing seconds to lift the 49ers to a 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

It was quite a homecoming for Garoppolo, who grew up near Chicago and played at Eastern Illinois.

“You always dream of it as a little kid,” he said. “I can remember ever since I was in elementary school, really. You always have that dream of playing in the NFL. You don't really know if it's going to come true or not, but it's crazy how things work out.”

Garoppolo grew up a Bears fan but never attended an NFL game until he entered the league. His shot at starting comes after he backed up Tom Brady for 31/2 years before getting dealt to San Francisco (2-10) at the trade deadline in late October.

Against Chicago (3-9), he completed 26 of 37 passes with an interception. He showed poise on the winning drive, leading San Francisco from its 8.

Gould's return

Gould pumped his right arm and screamed at the Chicago sideline after he kicked the winner. It was a sweet moment for the Bears' all-time leader in points and field goals made.

He made all five attempts – none longer than 35 yards – in his first appearance at Soldier Field since the Bears cut him before the 2016 opener. In 11 seasons with the Bears, he was 276 for 323.

Big return

The Bears' Tarik Cohen returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown. That made him the first NFL rookie with rushing, receiving, passing and punt return TDs in a season since Gale Sayers in 1965.

Cohen initially ran about 15 yards back in the opposite direction before crossing left and finding an opening.

“I was worried that I might get tackled for a loss of yards,” Cohen said. “But in that case, just like my coaches always tell me, trust my speed, just go with the plan and get back left.” 

Fox's decision

Bears coach John Fox could have given his team a chance to win with a late touchdown drive by letting San Francisco score a TD with 11/2 minutes remaining.

It would have put the 49ers up 19-14 and left the Bears with time.

Instead, he opted to play defense and attempt to block Gould's winner as the 49ers killed off all but 4 seconds of the clock. 

“We felt good about the block we had on the potential field goal,” Fox said. “Neither one of those are great options at the 4- or 5-yard line.”