The Bears scored on a 51-yard Caleb Hanie touchdown pass to Brandon Rideau as time expired, but the 49ers had plenty of points on the board for a 37-30 road victory.
The 49ers cushioned their lead over the Bears 37-23 with 4:38 left in the game after a 31-yard field goal by Ricky Schmitt. The kick capped off a 12-play, 56 yard Shaun Hill drive that ate over 8 minutes off the clock.
Hill also led his unit to a score on his first series of the night, a drive that began in the third quarter and ended with 14:14 left in the fourth. The 6-play, 46-yard drive concluded with a 15-yard touchdown run by Thomas Clayton to put the 49ers up 34-23.
Early in the third quarter, quarterback Alex Smith commanded an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive finished with a 12-yard touchdown throw to Dominique Zeigler to go up 27-20.
Chicago soon trimmed that lead back to within four with a 28-yard Robbie Gould field goal that was set up by a blocked Andy Lee punt by former 49ers Brandon Lloyd.
It was a 20-20 score at the half.
The 49ers scored first with their 8-play, 65-yard opening drive. An explosive 28-yard run by Frank Gore and a 16-yard carry by fullback Zak Keasey helped set the 49ers up at the Bears 16-yardline. J.T. O'Sullivan threw one pass on the drive, a 5-yard short throw to Isaac Bruce. The drive then stalled, with kicker Joe Nedney connecting on a 24-yard field goal.
Following the 49ers opening drive, Pro Bowler Devin Hester took the kickoff return out of the end zone for 12 yards and then handed it off on a reverse to Daniel Manning. Manning ran the ball for another 60 yards before the 49ers got him down at their 33-yardline.
Bears starting quarterback Kyle Orton used five plays to get into the end zone on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis.
The 49ers responded with a 10-play, 69-yard scoring drive that picked up three points after a 24-yard field goal by Nedney. Bruce picked up 18 yards for a first down at the Bears 24-yardline, and then set his unit up at the 1-yardline after being interfered with in the end zone. But Gore was stuffed twice and O'Sullivan was sacked on 3rd and 2, leading to the Nedney field goal that brought the 49ers within one point (7-6).
Another explosive return by Manning, this one for 75 yards primed the Bears at the 49ers 14-yardline. Four plays later, Gould knocked in a 21-yard field goal to put the Bears back up 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The 49ers quickly captured a 13-10 edge, two plays into the second quarter when O'Sullivan delivered the ball in the end zone to Jason Hill for a 37-yard touchdown strike. Tight end Vernon Davis hauled in a 40-yard grab on the play before. That was the end of the night for O'Sullivan, who finished 7 of 8 for 126 yards with a touchdown.
The Bears fumbled on the ensuing kickoff with safety Keith Lewis recovering at the 16-yardline.Smith took over after the turnover for his first action of the night, and capitalized on the steal with a 6-play, 16-yard drive finished off by a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Moran Norris.
After taking the 20-10 lead, the 49ers defense allowed Orton and company to drive 81 yards in 9 plays and score on a 7-yard touchdown pass to R. Davis. It was their second touchdown hookup of the night and trimmed the 49ers to only a field goal lead with just under six minutes left in the quarter.
Chicago then managed to tie it up with 41 seconds left in the half with a Gould 24-yard field goal that capped off an 11-play, 74-yard scoring drive.
The 49ers still had a chance to take the lead before the half after the Bears ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds. Starting off at his own 40, Smith soon found J. Hill for a 41-yard completion. Unfortunately Ricky Schmitt's 42-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired was blocked by Chicago.
RB DeShaun Foster did not play in the game due to a death in the family.
G David Baas, S Lewis Baker, WR Arnaz Battle, T Jonas Jennings, WR Bryant Johnson, WR Ashley Lelie, RB Michael Robinson, and G Adam Snyder were also ruled out, and did not make the trip due to their injuries.
CB Tarell Brown made the trip, but did not play due to a hip injury.
LB Jeff Ulbrich was forced out of the game with a lower back strain. RS Allen Rossum was forced out due to a chest injury.