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Mistake-prone Bears fall to 49ers in OT

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After stunning the Packers on Thanksgiving night with a rare victory at Lambeau Field, the Bears were the ones left shaking their heads in disbelief and disgust 10 days later.

Facing a struggling 49ers team Sunday that was 0-5 on the road and ranked 32nd in the NFL on offense and 28nd on defense, the Bears stumbled mightily.

Looking to reach the .500 mark, they committed costly penalties, threw an interception for a touchdown, allowed big plays, failed to take advantage of good field position and missed short field goals. All of the miscues added up to a deflating 26-20 overtime loss at Soldier Field, dropping the Bears to 5-7.

"It really isn't what you've done last week, it's what have you done for me lately in this league," said coach John Fox. "You've got to be ready every week and you've got to perform at a high level. We came up a little short today."

Robbie Gould struggled on his 34th birthday, missing a 36-yard field goal attempt wide left on the final play of regulation that would have given the Bears (5-7) a 23-20 victory. The normally-reliable kicker also missed a 40-yard try wide left in the third quarter.

"I didn't get the job done today," Gould said. "The guys did a great job of getting it down the field, whether it's a 40-yarder early on in the second half or a [36]-yarder at the end of the game. I just missed both of them. There's no excuse for it. I just didn't get it done."

The defense kept the Bears in the game, forcing three-and-outs on six of the 49ers' first nine possessions and allowing just one touchdown through the first three-plus quarters.

But the unit crumbled late, permitting TDs on quarterback Blaine Gabbert's 44-yard run that tied the score 20-20 with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter and Gabbert's 71-yard bomb to receiver Torrey Smith with 12:50 to play in overtime.

The offense was sluggish most of the game, mustering just one touchdown on its first 10 possessions into the fourth quarter. The Bears failed to score TDs on drives that started at the San Francisco 41, 46 and 28 and the Chicago 47 and 41.

Quarterback Jay Cutler completed 18 of 31 passes for 202 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a season-low 64.2 passer rating.

"We had good field position for most of the day," Cutler said. "I thought our defense did a heck of a job for us. We've got to play better offensively. That starts with me. I know for a fact that we're not going to like watching the film tomorrow."

The Bears led 6-0 on Gould field goals of 40 and 51 yards late in the first quarter when safety Jimmie Ward jumped a screen pass to Alshon Jeffery along the line of scrimmage, intercepting the ball and returning it 29 yards for a TD. Eddie Goldman blocked Phil Dawson's extra-point attempt, keeping the game tied 6-6.

Kyle Long powered into the end zone for a 5-yard TD run that gave the Bears a 13-6 lead early in the second quarter, but the 49ers tied it 13-13 on Shaun Draughn's 1-yard touchdown burst with 6:53 left in the first half.

Draughn capped a 16-play, 81-yard drive that came after the 49ers had been held to just five yards on nine plays while opening the game with three straight three-and-outs.

The Bears took a 20-13 lead on Ka'Deem Carey's 4-yard TD run with 3:32 to play in the fourth quarter, but the 49ers answered on Gabbert's long touchdown run up the middle.

The momentum swung back in Chicago's direction when Deonte Thompson returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to the San Francisco 28, allowing the Bears to set up for a winning field goal try. But Gould missed the kick as time expired in regulation.

After the teams traded punts in overtime, Gabbert hit Smith with the game-winning 71-yard TD pass on the first play of the 49ers' second possession, taking advantage of what appeared to be some miscommunication in the Bears secondary.

The Bears have won five of their last nine games with their four losses coming by margins of 3, 3, 2 and 6 with two of the defeats occurring in overtime.

"Like any close loss like today—and we've had our share—it comes down to us making plays in every area of the team," Fox said. "We just didn't make enough."

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