San Francisco 49ers

Report card: Gabbert, 49ers come up big at the end

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) runs to the end zone for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) runs to the end zone for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago. AP

Offense: There were long periods in which Blaine Gabbert and the offense didn’t have a first down or even a pass completion. But who cares? The 49ers quarterback came up huge in the game’s most critical moments with a 44-yard touchdown run and a game-ending 71-yard touchdown pass. Grade: B

Defense: The 49ers borrowed a page from former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio by taking away big plays, forcing the Bears into long drives and – mostly – limiting them to field goals. They also scored their first touchdown since Week 16 of last year when Jimmie Ward intercepted a Jay Cutler pass for a 29-yard score. Grade: B

Special teams: A holding penalty wiped out a Bears punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter while a blocked kick cost Phil Dawson his first point-after miss of the season. A late-game 74-yard kickoff return by the Bears should have ended the game in regulation. Only Bradley Pinion’s booming punts saved this from being an F-minus grade. Grade: F

Overall: For the first time this season, the 49ers didn’t come out flat on the road. Their win has as much to do with Bears kicker Robbie Gould’s shank at the end of regulation than anything the 49ers did, but the young team showed fight throughout. And more than anything else, that’s a good sign for the future. Grade: B

Matt Barrows

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