5 most important plays in Bears win over 49ers


When a team enters a game as a seven-point underdog, as the Bears did on Sunday when the 49ers came to Soldier Field, nearly everything needs to go right for that team to pull off the upset. Outside one bad interception, and one crazy towel penalty, the Bears played a very clean game. They won the turnover battle. They were far more disciplined than the Niners, committing only three penalties compared to San Francisco’s 12 penalties. None of the Bears penalties came on offense, so they never put themselves behind the sticks. There were many moments which contributed to the win, but when the Bears look back at the tape, the following plays will stand out as big reasons why they came away with the win on Sunday.


The scene - 49ers: 10, Bears: 7. 49ers have the ball, 3rd-and-9 at their own 33-yard line. 2:31 remaining in the third quarter.

The play - Trey Lance drops back to pass, then quickly decides to take off on the run. He scrambles left looking for the line to gain, but Smith tracks him down and makes an open-field tackle to force a punt.

The Bears weren’t the best at stopping the 49ers on third down, allowing them to convert 8-17 opportunities. The Bears also struggled with field position all day. Getting this stop, in this moment, not only prevented the 49ers from sniffing scoring range to increase their lead, it also allowed the Bears to start at their own 16-yard line instead of backed up against the goal line. The Bears made the most of it on their next possession, by scoring what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.


The scene - 49ers: 0, Bears 0. 49ers have the ball, 3rd-and-7 at the Bears 29-yard line. 5:58 remaining in the first quarter.

The play - Robinson beats Mike McGlinchey, grabs ahold of Trey Lance’s jersey, and drags him to the ground.

At this point in the game, the Bears offense was struggling mightily. It looked like if the Bears had any hope of winning, the defense would need to limit the 49ers to as many points as possible, and that’s exactly what Robinson did with his first career sack. With rain and wind, the 49ers opted to punt from the Bears 35 instead of trying a long field goal, and the game remained scoreless. As a cool side note, it appears Robinson used Robert Quinn’s patented mid-air cross-chop move to get the sack. Robinson told us last month he was trying to learn the move from Quinn and was hoping to bust it out at some point this season. He picked a pretty great time to try it.


The scene: 49ers: 0, Bears: 0. 49ers have the ball 1st-and-10 at the Bears 16-yard line. 10:24 left in the first quarter.

The play: Deebo Samuel runs the ball to the left, Jaylon Johnson comes off his block to punch the ball out of Samuel’s hands, and Jaquan Brisker is Quanny on the Spot for the fumble recovery.

This is the first time the Bears defense got to show the world their H.I.T.S. philosophy can really work on Sundays. The 49ers offense had marched down the field up to this point, and were coming off of a huge 31-yard gain from Brandon Aiyuk. They looked destined for the end zone. But the textbook Peanut Punch from Johnson stopped the Niners in their tracks. The offense wasn’t able to do anything with the ball on their following possession, but it was a huge moment for the Bears to keep points off the board.


The scene - 49ers: 10, Bears: 7. Bears have the ball 3rd-and-2 at the 49ers 18-yard line. 12:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The play -  The Bears dial up a play-action pass, Equanimeous St. Brown blocks downfield, then releases to get behind the defense for an open touchdown catch.

St. Brown wasn’t the first read on the play, it was Khari Blasingame instead. But St. Brown had the wherewithal to notice 49ers defenders flowing towards the flat where Blasingame was headed, so he released from his block and leaked into the end zone knowing he was a read for Fields farther down the route tree. St. Brown made his way behind the defense and Fields found him for what ended up being the go-ahead touchdown. This play was a perfect blend of smart design and great execution, and ultimately gave the team the win.


The scene - Bears: 13, 49ers: 10. 49ers have the ball 3rd-and-5 at their own 41-yard line. 9:52 left in the fourth quarter.

The play - Eddie Jackson breaks to the middle of the field, stops in his tracks then changes directions to the left side of the field to undercut a Trey Lance pass intended for Jauan Jennings. Jackson dives to make the catch, gets up and returns it 26 yards to the Bears 21-yard line.

The Bears have performed well in the red zone in practice, but not so well when trying to move the ball into the red zone. Jackson’s late-game interception helped them skip that lead up to the red zone, and gave them the ball in scoring range right away. Khalil Herbert rushed for a touchdown just five plays later. That’s all great, but what’s most impressive about the interception is the Bears defense orchestrated it to happen. After the game, several players said they did things to bait Lance into making the throw to Jennings. First, they recognized that Deebo Samuel and Jennings were bunched together, and that Jennings would run a slant out of the formation. That’s what they wanted to happen, so they showed Cover-2. Then, Jaylon Johnson moved to outside leverage to open up the Jennings slant to the inside. Post-snap Jackson shaded away from the play as the final disguise before breaking on the throw he knew was coming all along. After the game, the Bears defenders said they knew the game was over after the offense was able to capitalize on the takeaway to score a touchdown. They were right.


The scene - 49ers: 10, Bears: 0. Bears have the ball 3rd-and-10 on their own 49-yard line. 5:45 left in the third quarter.

The play - Justin Fields escaped two pass rushers converging on him at once, then rolled right. He spotted Dante Pettis, all by himself, deep on the right side of the field, reset his feet, then lofted an easy pass to Pettis. When Pettis came down with the ball, he turned upfield, got a great block from Equanimeous St. Brown, then ran to the end zone.

This was the watershed moment for the Bears. It got the Bears on the scoreboard and gave them confidence moving forward. After the game, Fields called it the big momentum shifter for the team, and clearly the offense picked up the pace from that point forward. It showed off the work the team has done to focus on scramble drills, and how H.I.T.S. can translate to points as St. Brown’s block helped Pettis score. Further, the touchdown was a perfect example of the playmaking ability that makes Fields one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league. Undoubtedly the play of the game.

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