The 49ers’ shot at a third straight victory Sunday went in and out of the hands of wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
Trailing the Chicago Bears 14-9 early in the fourth quarter, the Niners marched 70 yards in eight plays, advancing to the Bears’ 20-yard line. Then, on a first-and-10 play, quarterback Nick Mullens hit Goodwin on a short route across the middle, but Goodwin, who had to reach forward a bit for the pass, had the ball bounce off his hands into the possession of Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan.
The Bears then drove the other way, going 52 yards and taking nearly six minutes off the clock until they lost a fumble, giving the 49ers one more shot, but with less than two minutes to go. The 49ers moved 31 yards, but eventually turned the ball over on downs, and – with no timeouts remaining – couldn’t stop Chicago from running out the clock and securing the five-point victory.
The 49ers, coming off consecutive victories over the Broncos and Seahawks, fall to 4-11 with just one game remaining. The Bears, who’ve already clinched the NFC North title, improve to 11-4.
San Francisco had been 7-1 in December games under head coach Kyle Shanahan in his two seasons, and looked poised to get an eighth December victory on that early fourth-quarter drive until Mullens’ only interception of the game.
Mullens, now 3-4 as the 49ers starter, completed 22-of-38 passes for 241 yards and no TDs. The only scoring the 49ers could produce came on three Robbie Gould field goals in the second quarter, when the offense stalled and couldn’t produce one touchdown.
Mullens’ main target, again, was tight end George Kittle, recently selected for the Pro Bowl. Kittle had seven catches for 74 yards. Kittle now has 1,215 receiving yards this season – a franchise record – tied for the seventh-best season in that category in NFL history (and just 112 yards behind record holder Rob Gronkowski, who had 1,327 yards in 2011).
The 49ers will close out the 2018 season this coming Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum when they take on the division-champion Rams, who won again Sunday to improve to 12-3.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Cant-Snag-Opportunity-for-Victory-over-Bears-503417731.html.