The San Francisco 49ers (3-4) put an end to their four-game losing streak with a 33-22 victory at Soldier Field over the Chicago Bears. With the victory, the 49ers kept their playoff hopes alive.
Unlike a week ago, the 49ers were able to clean up most of their self-inflicted wounds. Let’s look back at some of the key plays from Sunday’s game.
First Quarter, 3rd and 10, San Francisco 33
This as good a throw as any from Jimmy yesterday. Beats the blitz on the first 3rd down of the game with a strike to Sanu on the deep thru route over the middle. pic.twitter.com/eF9GDyQR1Z— Rich (@richjmadrid) November 1, 2021
After a drop by Deebo Samuel and incompletion on a deep throw to Brando Aiyuk, the 49ers face their first third down of the game.
Garoppolo is able to beat the Chicago blitz, even with a somewhat free rusher in his face, delivering a strike to Mohamed Sanu over the middle.
This play really shows off Garoppolo’s early release, starting his throwing motion well before Sanu gets to the top of his break. While the Joey Slye would eventually miss the field goal on this drive, the big play was a sign of things to come.
First Quarter, 1st and 10, San Francisco 25
San Francisco was able to dominate on the ground, especially when running to the left side, and it showed up early.
On the opening play of the 49ers second possession, Elijah Mitchell took a toss from Jimmy Garoppolo and broke free for an explosive run of 26-yards. Charlie Woerner and Kyle Juszczyk get the play started with a kickout block on the outside linebacker. Meanwhile, Trent Williams and Alex Mack get up to the linebackers at the second level and seal them off, and Deebo Samuel gets downfield to block the safety.
The 49ers would come back to this later in the game when they needed a big play, and Mitchell would rip off gains of 27 and 39 yards to seal the victory.
Second Quarter, 2nd and 11, San Francisco 24
Chicago is in man coverage with a single free safety in the middle of the field, and their secondary does a good job early in the play.
The 49ers offensive line does a good job protecting the quarterback, but with nobody open downfield, Garoppolo escapes the pocket out to his left. Brandon Aiyuk sees this and mirrors Garoppolo, who finds the receiver open for a gain of 23 yards.
This is the type of pocket presence and ability to make throws on the run that San Francisco needs to see on a more consistent basis from Garoppolo to be successful on offense.
Third Quarter, 3rd and 20, San Francisco 15
Deebo Samuel turns a screen pass into an 83-yard gain. Insane.— 107.7 The Bone (@1077TheBone) October 31, 2021
San Francisco opened the second half facing a tough third and long situation following a block in the back penalty on Kyle Juszczyk and an incompletion from Garoppolo to Charlie Woerner.
The play is a simple screen to Deebo Samuel on the left side, and while he gets credit for the 84 yards, the execution by his teammates is flawless. The first blocks which set the play up are a kickout by Juszczyk and a seal by Trent Williams, both tough blocks out in space.
Brandon Aiyuk then makes a nice block on the cornerback, and Samuel is off to the races where we find Alex Mack making another key block. That is a 35-year-old center getting 20 yards downfield to make a block.
Mohamed Sanu screens off the last Bears defender and Samuel gets all the way to the Chicago one yard line before being caught from behind.
This type of teamwork shows up all over the 49ers offensive film from Sunday.
Fourth Quarter, 3rd and 11, Chicago 40
Samson Ebukam had more pressures on Sunday against the Bears (5), than he had all season leading up to that game (4)— Jordan Elliott (@splash_cousin) November 2, 2021
Including this sack on Justin Fields on a critical 3rd & 11 late in the 4th quarter pic.twitter.com/ndclPFBsFA
Wrapping this up with a defensive play.
With San Francisco holding on to an eight-point lead, Chicago moves the ball out near midfield. That is when free agent acquisition Samson Ebukam comes up with his biggest play to date as a member of the 49ers.
On this play, the 49ers have three defensive ends on the field, Nick Bosa, Arden Key and Ebukam with Key and Ebukam both lined up on the right side. Ebukam takes a hard inside rush with Key twisting around to secure the outside and is able to bring Chicago quarterback Justin Fields down for a sack.
This was only the second Chicago possession of the game that did not result in points. Their final possession would end with an interception by Josh Norman.