For nearly 30 minutes, the Bears offense was stuck in a snow globe.
Once Matt Barkley and the Bears (3-9) found their way out, the lowly San Francisco 49ers (1-11) had no answer as the Bears cruised to a 26-6 victory in blizzard conditions Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
It was a lackluster start for both offenses, who traded punts on four straight possessions to start the contest, and neither side completed a pass until 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick found tight end Vance McDonald nearly midway through the second quarter.
After back-to-back field goals by 49ers kicker Phil Dawson, the Bears offense finally found its footing.
Getting his second-career NFL start, Barkley (11-of-18, 192 yards, 97.5 QB rating) completed the Bears' first pass of the game with 1:38 remaining in the first half when he connected with wide receiver Deonte Thompson. After rattling off four completions, Barkley's pass to tight end Daniel Brown sailed through the back of the end zone, but the 49ers were called for pass interference. On the next play, Bears running back Jordan Howard (31 carries, 116 yards, 3 TDs) plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard score to give Chicago a 7-6 lead over San Francisco going into the half.
The Bears rode that momentum coming out of the locker room as Barkley engineered a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive which was capped off by Howard's 2-yard rushing touchdown.
Following a three-and-out by the San Francisco offense, Barkley quickly marched the Bears down the field with consecutive throws to Josh Bellamy (4 receptions, 93 yards), and Howard finished the drive off by bulldozing his way through 49ers defenders for his third touchdown of the game.
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Decimated by injuries, the Bears defense played an inspired effort against the 49ers, limiting them to just 147 total yards. The Bears defense held Kaepernick to just 1-of-5 passing for 4 yards and sacked the 49ers quarterback five times before he was benched for Week 1 starter Blaine Gabbert. Akiem Hicks (2), Leonard Floyd (2), Eddie Goldman and Willie Young all had sacks for the Bears. Floyd added a safety of Gabbert late in fourth quarter.
The Bears set a 2016 season-high for points scored with 26 in Sunday's game.