CHICAGO -- Not only was the 49ers' 33-22 victory over the Chicago Bears a team win, it included a team score.
At the end of the third quarter, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers trailed 16-15. Brandon Aiyuk returned a punt to midfield and after a couple of runs from Elijah Mitchell and completions from Jimmy Garoppolo to Charlie Woerner and Kyle Juszczyk, the offense was in scoring position at the five-yard line.
Mitchell took the handoff and started his run to the right of Alex Mack and appeared to lose momentum in-between the one and two yard lines. Then, just when it seemed like the play was going to be whistled dead, the upright mass of players started moving towards the goal line.
Linemen and receivers alike started pushing the pile to towards the end zone. Even Garoppolo joined the mix. Finally, like water through a breaking dam, the mass of players burst past the goal line for a score and the 49ers took their first lead of the game.
“It was a team win,” Shanahan said after the game. “Kept talking about whatever it would take to win was what we had to do. We didn’t care if it was 2-0 or ended like that. I was just real proud of the guys.
The play symbolized the effort the 49ers needed to finally break the team’s four game losing streak. It was more than relief for the head coach. It was a culmination of the effort they had all put in since their last win in Week 2.
“That was really cool,” Shanahan said. “I think you could see on one play what our team is feeling right now. We knew we had to hunker down. We knew we had to battle this week and knew it would be a fight against a really good team.
“You could just see how important it was to all 11 guys out there because we needed all 11 to get into the endzone.”
Garoppolo, who had two rushing scores himself, wasn’t going to let the play stop without at least trying to help. The veteran, who is known for successful quarterback sneaks, felt the need to try to help.
“I thought he was stopped on the one or the two so I tried to jump in,” Garoppolo said with a smile. “I don’t know how much I helped but every little bit helps I guess. That play really summed it up. It felt different out there today.”
Mack was in the middle of the mass of bodies and acknowledged that the team knew how important it was to end their sixth drive with more than just a field goal.
”I was in there somewhere pushing,” Mack said. “It’s a pretty cool play. We’re going to have a lot of fun watching that one tomorrow. Just keep your feet driving. Good job by Elijah to stay up and keep his feet going and get every yard. That was a big swing in momentum. A big moment for the offense.”
Deebo Samuel provided a spark of his own in the third quarter with an 83-yard run after catching a screen pass from Garoppolo. The receiver shared his surprise at the Mitchell scoring play, revealing he was in the middle of the scrum.
“Man that was crazy,” Samuel said. “I didn’t even think everyone was going to push. I just started pushing and then the o-line just started pushing him into the endzone. You can tell we have a great team and just to see that happen it was great.”
Even members of the defense realized how big of a play and momentum shift Mitchell’s run was for the team. Not only did it give the 49ers the lead, it carried them into the next two drives that also led to scores. Fred Warner was watching the big screen while sitting on the bench and noted how the energy of the offense on that score lifted the entire team.
“It was a cool moment,” Warner said. “It shows the resilience and fight in everyone. We talk about how it was going to take everyone to win it and by any means and that was the story of the game right there.