Vasher’s stumbling 71-yard interception return in the fourth quarter— upheld by video replay—iced the Bears’ 23-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
“I just made a break on it. Luckily, I stayed up and the guys gave me some real good blocks coming down,” Vasher said.
The 49ers challenged. But when officials ruled after video replay that Vasher was not touched down by contact—his knee hit the ground—because he was bobbling the ball at the time, the TD return with 3:52 left stood, and the Bears had ended a four-game losing streak.
“I felt confident about it, but you never know how they will rule it,” Vasher said. “So they got it right this time and it was the key for us.”
Edinger, who like 49ers kicker Todd Peterson had a field goal hit the crossbar and go over, made a 27-yarder a minute into the final quarter to give Chicago a 16-13 lead.
Dorsey tried to drive the 49ers (1-6) into scoring position—they reached the Chicago 36—but his wobbly pass for Brandon Lloyd was picked off.
“I’m angry at myself about my performance,” Dorsey said. “I want to prove myself. It’s definitely something that hurts right now.”
Krenzel and Dorsey had squared off in the national title game following the 2002 season when Krenzel led Ohio State past Dorsey and Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
Krenzel wasted little time making an impression. On the second play from scrimmage, he lofted a perfect pass to fellow rookie Bernard Berrian, who beat Shawantae Spencer and broke his tackle to complete a 49-yard TD pass just 2 minutes into the game.
But the euphoria didn’t last long. After he’d driven the Bears to the San Francisco 9 with passes of 30 yards to Anthony Thomas and 16 to Bobby Wade, Krenzel fumbled on a hit by Brandon Moore and Dwaine Carpenter scooped it up. Carpenter raced 80 yards for a tying TD with 5:26 left in the first period.
On the next series, Ronnie Heard intercepted Krenzel’s overthrown pass, leading to Todd Peterson’s 48-yard field goal.
“I did some really good things out there, threw some nice passes,” Krenzel said. “I’m very disappointed in the way I protected the ball.”
Dorsey was harassed by a strong Bears pass rush and hurt by the lack of a running game—the 49ers managed just 12 yards on the ground in the first half and 62 for the game.
Dorsey was 16-of-36 for 122 yards, while Krenzel was 13-of-25 for 168.
“They were coming after me,” Dorsey said. “I missed throws I’m capable of making. You’re going to miss throws but you have to make the majority of them.”
San Francisco coach Dennis Erickson wasn’t ready to judge Dorsey after three starts.
“Ken didn’t play well, like everybody else,” Erickson said.
“We need to judge him more down the road. He’s a young quarterback who hasn’t played a lot. Just like they will evaluate Krenzel. They’re inexperienced guys and they made mistakes. I don’t know if you can jump to any conclusions right now.”
The Bears tied it in the second quarter when Edinger made a 52-yarder as the ball hit the top of the crossbar and bounced through, a kick set up by Thomas’ 28-yard run.
Not to be outdone, Peterson put the 49ers up in the second quarter with a 51-yarder. It also hit the crossbar and bounded over. After Jerry Azumah took the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the San Francisco 23, the Bears got a 45-yarder from Edinger.
After the Bears took the lead in the fourth quarter, a video replay overruled a catch by Lloyd that would have given the 49ers a first down. Peterson missed a 50-yarder for a tie.
San Francisco defensive end Brandon Whiting limped off with 10 seconds left in the half with a left knee sprain.
The Bears lost leading rusher Thomas Jones, had had a 1-yard carry on the first scrimmage play and then left with a sprained foot, giving Thomas a chance to play.
Thomas finished with 98 yards on 25 carries.
Bears G Rex Tucker, who hadn’t played in two years because of a series of injuries the last three seasons, started at right guard. … The 49ers had only 162 yards total offense, the Bears 254.