|Date of game: 9/14/2014
Recap: San Francisco vs. Chicago
Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - All it took was a new stadium for the Chicago Bears to end their near 30-year hex in San Francisco.
Jay Cutler tossed three of his four touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall and the Bears rallied for a 28-20 victory over the 49ers on Sunday night in the first regular-season game at Levi's Stadium.
San Francisco opened up a 17-0 second-quarter lead, but Chicago (1-1) outscored the 49ers (1-1) 28-3 from the one-minute mark of that second frame on to win its first game in San Francisco since 1985.
"The defense did a great job giving us short fields, causing turnovers and keeping it close enough so that we could get back in it," Cutler said.
The Bears had dropped eight in a row in San Francisco by an average margin of 34-6 prior to Sunday's tilt.
The 49ers regained possession with 6:55 remaining following Marshall's 3-yard TD catch, which staked Chicago to a 28-20 lead.
Colin Kaepernick scrambled for 15 yards on a 3rd-and-3 and later moved the chains on a 4th-and-6 when he hit Michael Crabtree for a gain of nine yards. A delay of game penalty further in the drive set up a 3rd-and-17 at the Chicago 25.
Kaepernick dumped the ball off to Frank Gore for a gain of eight to set up 4th-and-9, but his pass to Crabtree went off his hands and two Cutler kneeldowns sealed the outcome.
Rookie first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller tallied a pair of interceptions after taking over for Charles Tillman, who left the game with a triceps injury.
Five key Chicago defenders were hurt in all, which also included cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder).
Cutler finished 23-of-34 for 176 yards, while Marshall caught five passes for 48 yards for the Bears, who avoided their first 0-2 start since 2004. Chicago suffered a bitter overtime defeat to Buffalo in Week 1.
Marshall was cleared to play just 90 minutes before kickoff due to an ankle injury.
Kaepernick completed 21-of-34 passes for 248 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, a complete 180 from his breakout performance on Monday night against Chicago two years ago in his first career start. Kaepernick added 66 yards on the ground on nine carries.
"I made the throws I wanted to, they made plays on the ball," Kaepernick said of his three interceptions.
Crabtree hauled in seven balls for 82 yards and a score for San Francisco, which debuted its sparkling new $1.2 billion stadium.
The sloppy game was marred by 26 penalties -- 16 by the 49ers.
Chicago finally got on the board with 13 seconds left in the first half when Marshall leapt and made a one-handed catch for a 17-yard score, trimming the deficit to 17-7.
"That really sparked our football team," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said of Marshall's catch.
San Francisco outgained the Bears 197-93 in the first half and kept the ball for the first nine minutes of the third before settling for a 24-yard Phil Dawson field goal to extend their advantage to 20-7.
The Bears answered with a 7:21, 13-play drive that spilled into the early stages of the fourth. Cutler flipped a 5-yard TD pass to Marshall to cut the gap to 20-14.
Chicago then found the end zone again just 24 seconds later.
Fuller wrestled the ball out of Crabtree's hands on the first play of San Francisco's ensuing series and returned the interception 20 yards to the 49ers' 6. The ball was then placed on the 3 following a Kaepernick "inappropriate language" penalty.
Cutler then hit Martellus Bennett with a back-shoulder pass in the back right corner of the end zone to put the Bears in front with 13:14 to play.
Fuller picked off Kaepernick again on the 49ers' next series.
Earlier, Aaron Lynch blocked a punt, which led to Kaepernick finding Crabtree for a 3-yard score three plays later for the game's first points on San Francisco's opening possession.
Dawson split the uprights from 27 yards out late in the first and Gore darted in from eight yards out with 2:22 left in the second for San Francisco's 17-0 spread.Game Notes
The Bears were 3-of-9 on third down, while San Francisco finished 7-of-13 ...
The 49ers outgained Chicago, 361-216 ... Chicago is in the midst of playing
six of their next eight games on the road.