CHICAGO (CBS) — Bears coach John Fox an ugly 15-14 loss to the 49ers on Sunday was “a frustrating day for everybody” but promised fans the 3-9 team would “give everything they’ve got” in the final four games of the season.
Chicago lost on a late field goal from Robbie Gould, who accounted for all of San Francisco’s points with five field goals – a first for him at Soldier Field.
Despite coming into the game with the league’s worst record at 1-10, the 49ers outplayed the Bears all game, even though they trailed for most of the contest, dominating time of possession by holding the ball for more than 38 minutes.
Fox said the loss was tough to take.
“It was a week of preparation I thought that was outstanding, and a couple areas of the game didn’t go like we’d expected, but our guys compete, and our fans were great,” Fox said. “I know they want a winner very, very bad, and I think that was a frustrating day for everybody.”
Even though it was quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start for the 49ers, San Francisco played with much better rhythm and efficiency than Chicago. The 49ers converted 10 of 18 third downs and had 15 plays of at least 10 yards.
Despite several injuries, the Bears defense kept the team in the game all day. They started the game without three of their top four safeties, two of their cornerbacks and played with only two outside linebackers after Pernell McPhee was sidelined with a shoulder injury. They also lost their top pass rusher, linebacker Leonard Floyd, to a season-ending knee injury in Week 11.
“Our guys hung in there,” Fox said. “It was a big third down; I think that was the big play to put them in field goal range. We just had to execute better.”
The 49ers set up Gould for the game-winning field goal after converting a third-and-9 at their own 49-yard-line with a 33-yard pass to wideout Trent Taylor. Seven plays later, Gould kicked his fifth field goal of the day to give the 49ers their first lead of the day with only 4 seconds left on the clock.
The Bears’ offense was stagnant for the second week in a row, running only 36 plays, making only eight first downs and gaining only 147 total yards on the day. After Tarik Cohen’s electrifying 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, the Bears didn’t score again, and the offense gained only 69 yards in the final 36 minutes of the game.
“Just couldn’t get in rhythm,” Fox said. “Part of it was San Francisco’s offense kept it away. You know, we didn’t do as well on third downs, and they were able to possess the ball, so that cut the time of possession as well as the first downs. We just weren’t able to establish the run. In games we’ve found ways to win at the end, we’ve been able to do that. In games we haven’t, we’ve not.”
Calls for the Bears to fire Fox seem to grow louder with each loss, but he said that “comes with the business.”
“We all understand that, and it’s what we sign up for,” Fox said. “I’m giving everything I can. I know our fans want it. I want it for them. It was a beautiful day yesterday. Our fans were passionate, and I understand it. We’ve got four games left, and I can promise them that this building will give everything they’ve got.”
The Bears (3-9) face the Bengals (5-6) in Cincinnati next Sunday.