49ers

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 15-14 win over Bears

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 15-14 win over Bears

CHICAGO -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 13 on Sunday:

1, JIMMY EATS WORLD
The way he bounced confidently and calmly in the pocket. The way he flicked the ball down the field into tight windows. The way he looked completely unflappable on the 49ers’ final-chance drive.

Of course, he is nowhere near to the level of the next name to appear in this sentence, but his mannerisms did look a little Tom Brady-ish.

For a quarterback who did not lead a touchdown drive in any of his team’s eight offensive possessions, Jimmy Garoppolo had about as impressive of a game as one could imagine. Garoppolo grew up approximately 25 miles from Soldier Field in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

“I tried to say all week that it’s just a normal game,” Garoppolo said. “Obviously, I’ve never come back to Chicago like this, so it’s exciting. I had a ton of people here today. It was one of the more fun games I’ve been a part of.”

Garoppolo was comfortable with enough of the 49ers’ offense for coach Kyle Shanahan to craft a game plan that rolled up 388 yards of total offense. Garoppolo threw for 293 yards, the most yards in franchise history from a quarterback in his first start with the club. He helped the 49ers convert 10 of 18 (56 percent) of their third-down opportunities.

“I thought it was a real good first start,” Shanahan said. “He handled the offense well, definitely moved the chains and moved the ball well for us. It will be fun to get back and to watch the tape. When you go through this stuff, it’s nice to be able to coach off of it.”

2. GOOD AS GOULD
Kicker Robbie Gould spent his first 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears. He was released two seasons ago. On Sunday, he returned to Soldier Field and accounted for all 15 points, including his game-winning 24-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Gould spoke to his teammates on Saturday night. Left tackle Joe Staley said it was the first time he can remember that a kicker spoke to his teammates on the night before a game.

Gould showed a lot of emotion after booting the game-winner to cap an impressive 14-play, 86-yard drive, as he appeared to yell toward the Bears' sideline.

“I was pretty excited,” said Gould, 34, who was seen looking and yelling toward the Bears sideline after his final kick. “I have a lot of respect for the people here. To come in here and get a win like that and kick the game-winner, I don’t think I could have written it any better, to be honest with you.”

3. A TEAM VICTORY
The 49ers’ defense held the Chicago Bears to just 147 yards of total offense on just 36 offensive plays -- the fewest plays against a 49ers defense since Oct. 20, 1991, against the Detroit Lions (35 plays).

Wide receiver Trent Taylor spent most of the past 24 hours sick after a case of food poisoning but rallied and provided the 49ers with some clutch plays on third downs with all five of his third-down receptions moving the chains.

The 49ers’ pass protection enabled Garoppolo to look calm and unaffected by the Chicago pass rush.

“(It’s) not just the quarterback but the whole team,” Shanahan said. “We gave it back to them, and our defense got off the field and we had a chance to go down the field.

“Jimmy made a bunch of plays on that drive and I thought we ran the ball well, and I thought we blocked well. Our receivers made some plays, and we were able to finish it running and to take the clock down. I thought it was a huge team win and I thought everyone contributed.”

Garoppolo was 14-for-14 for 191 yards while targeting Marquise Goodwin (eight catches, 99 yards) and Taylor (six catches, 92 yards). Taylor made a 33-yard reception on a third-and-9 play on the winning drive to get the 49ers into field-goal range.

“Great protection up front,” Garoppolo said. “I thought all day those guys gave me a lot of time. You know, it’s a good pass rush they went against. I was clean for the most part today, so that plays a huge role in all third downs and big plays like that.”

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

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USATSI

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

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Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”