San Francisco 49ers

Halftime: 49ers defense, Carl Cheffers’ officating crew prominent early on

Like they did last week in Dallas, the 49ers pounced early in their home opener at Levi's Stadium and they lead 17-7

This time a blocked punt after a three-and-out possession by the Bears helped give San Francisco an early advantage.

Rookie Aaron Lynch, who is 6-6, 270 pounds, drove back the Chicago blocker opposite him, 205-pound Shaun Draughn, and got his hand up to deflect punter Patrick O'Donnell's attempt. The ball went out of bounds at the Chicago 8-yard-line, and three plays later Colin Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a short touchdown.

Against Dallas, a Chris Culliver fumble return gave the 49ers the lead 54 seconds in. Today the 49ers went ahead 7-0 2:18 into the game. They have outscored their two opponents 45-10 so far in the first half.

On their next drive, the 49ers converted three third downs and ran 14 plays, driving the ball to the Chicago 9-yard before Phil Dawson kicked in a 27-yard field goal.

After that, the 49ers offense sputtered.

One promising drive ended when Kaepernick, who was targeting Anquan Boldin down field, was picked off by Bears safety Chris Conte. Another drive ended when, after holding onto the ball on a read-option play, Kaepernick took a big hit from defensive end Jared Allen and lost the ball.

That play was preceded by what appeared to be a 54-yard touchdown run by Frank Gore. The score, however, was wiped away by a holding call against Boldin.

Flags have been commonplace in the game. The 49ers have been called for 10 penalties, the Bears seven.

Gore’s erased touchdown didn't seem to matter. One possession later, the 49ers took over at the Chicago 30-yard line and needed just four plays to reach the end zone, the touchdown coming on an eight-yard run by Gore.

The 49ers defense dominated the first half, including the run defense, which was questioned in the run-up to today's game after allowing 118 yards to the Cowboys' DeMarco Murray a week ago. So far in this game, Matt Forte has just eght yards on eight carries while Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has passed for 64 yards. The Bears had a penalty-aided drive at the end of the half that ended with a dazzling, one-handed touchdown catch on a 17-yard pass from Cutler.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers .

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