CHICAGO – By every statistical measure, the San Francisco 49ers dominated on Sunday. They had double the yards, double the first downs and nearly double the time of possession. And yet, the 49ers were trailing 14-12 when they got the ball back with just 5:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Starting at his own 7-yard line, Jimmy Garoppolo began marching the 49ers offense down the field. A 13-yard pass to Marquise Goodwin got things going. Pierre Garçon followed with an 18-yard run. Then, facing 3rd-and-9, Garoppolo found Trent Taylor for a 33-yard catch-and-run. A few more first downs allowed the 49ers to bleed the clock down so that there were just four seconds left in the game when Robbie Gould's game-winning field goal sailed through the uprights.
"Jimmy made a bunch of plays on that drive," Kyle Shanahan said postgame. "I thought we ran the ball well. I thought we blocked well. The receivers made some plays. … It was a huge team win, and I think everyone contributed."
Garoppolo finished the game 26-of-37 passing with 293 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The numbers aren't flashy, but Garoppolo certainly passed the "eye test". He was cool in the pocket throughout and made a variety of throws. He weaved passes into tight windows on several occasions and continuously delivered on third down.
The 49ers converted on 10-of-18 third-down attempts and racked up 23 first downs. They ended the game with a ridiculous 38:47 time of possession. The biggest blemish for the 49ers was their lack of production in the red zone. San Francisco made it inside the Bears 20-yard line five times and settled for a field goal on each trip.
All things considered, there was far more good than bad for Garoppolo and the 49ers offense.
"I thought it was a good first start," Shanahan said. "He handled the offense well. He definitely moved the chains. It'll be fun to go back and watch the tape. … For his first time doing it, especially without being here (all season), it was pretty impressive.
"It was fun to watch him do some real good things, and it was fun to watch him lead us to a win."
Garoppolo was at his best when targeting Goodwin and Taylor. He was a perfect 14-of-14 for 191 yards when throwing to San Francisco's top pass catchers.
It was Taylor's best game as a pro, and Shanahan shared postgame that the rookie played through the flu. According to Shanahan, Taylor was throwing up all morning.
"Both of those guys stepped up huge. Jimmy gave them some good balls, and those guys did a good job getting open.
"That third-down to Trent (on the last drive) was a huge play in the game. Trent made a hell of a play and got some good run after the catch."
Shanahan praised Garoppolo's demeanor and ability to remain even-keeled through the good and the bad. As a whole, the 49ers head coach said he's been preaching to his team about learning how to win.
When games are close down the stretch, there needs to be a belief on the sideline. The 49ers showed that confidence on Sunday.
"We haven't done much (winning) around here lately," Shanahan said. "It does take time to learn how to do that.
"It wasn't clean, it wasn't perfect, but there was never one time during that game that guys on the sideline felt like they were going to lose. Guys seemed confident, and they never wavered."