Explosive plays key to 49ers beating Bears to snap losing streak

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49ers finally capitalize on explosive plays in win over Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

CHICAGO -- The 49ers' explosive plays were back in Chicago and made a huge impact in the club’s 33-22 win over the Bears

On Sunday afternoon, Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense were able to execute eight plays that went 20 yards or more, tying their highest total of the season from Week 1 vs. the Detroit Lions. Deebo Samuel’s 83-yard run after catch was the biggest play of the day and the spark that helped break the team’s four-game losing streak. 

Samuel’s dive into the end zone was overturned, but three plays later Garoppolo dove past the goal line for the first 49ers' touchdown of the game. The offense scored touchdowns on their next two consecutive drives. 

After the game, Bears acting head coach Chris Tabor shared how Samuel's huge play was a tough pill to swallow.

“Yeah, that hurt,” Tabor said. “That did. That was a great play by them. You get them in third-and-20 and you always think that you're going to get off the field and set yourself up possibly for a short field situation, and it didn't happen.” 

On Monday, coach Matt Nagy shared that the screen to Samuel flipped the direction of the game. While he complimented his defense in the first half, the head coach admitted the 49ers' big plays were the reason the Bears didn't come away with a win. 

“I really felt like the game changed on the third-and-19 screen they hit down to the one,” Nagy said. “That was a pivotal part of the game. Defensively, I felt like there were too many explosives. They scored on every possession and didn’t have a punt. There were explosives on each drive.” 

Garoppolo’s 50-yard pass to Samuel in the second quarter was the second biggest play of the game. The veteran quarterback threw three additional passes that resulted in gains over 20 yards. Elijah Mitchell’s two runs for 27 yards and a third for 39 yards rounded out the top eight plays of the game on offense. 

Outside of Weeks 1 and 8, the 49ers have been unable to put together more than a handful of big plays. Their third-highest total was Week 5 vs. Cardinals when they managed four plays of 20 yards or more. In their remaining four games, they only have managed 11 explosive plays combined. 

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Here are the totals for each game 

  • Week 1 vs. Lions -  8

  • Week 2 vs. Eagles - 3

  • Week 3 vs. Packers - 3

  • Week 4 vs. Seahawks - 2

  • Week 5 vs. Cardinals  - 4

  • Week 7 vs. Colts - 3

  • Week 8 vs. Bears -  8

After the game, Kyle Shanahan shared how impressed he was with Mitchell’s runs and the help of the offensive line.

“He made a lot more plays than what he was blocked for,” Shanahan said. “And just the receivers blocking on the outside, everything. That allows you to get the big ones. Would have been a much tougher day if we didn't get those big ones.”

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