But Thursday's game was a battle of ineptitude. And the 49ers' victory came gift-wrapped and hand-delivered from Bears quarterback
The Bears outgained the 49ers (350-216) and put together some good drives. But time and time again, Cutler killed his team with an interception. The 49ers continue to flounder on offense. A more competent offensive outfit would have turned Cutler's gifts into a bonanza -- not a mere touchdown and field goal.
"We did just enough on offense to win the game," coach
All season long, Singletary has promised that his team is a playoff team. A month ago, when the 49ers were 3-1, everyone could believe in the force of his convictions. But four humbling losses, a change at quarterback, an identity crisis at quarterback and a suddenly porous defense changed the minds of all but the true believers.
This week, Singletary promised the prime-time audience would see his young team come of age.
"I think we took a step," Singletary said.
With a big push forward from Cutler.
"I have to apologize to the defense," Cutler said minutes after the game ended. "The offense, as a whole, has to apologize."
Well, he was right at least about the first part. But Bears linebacker
"No apologies needed," Briggs said. "Next week, Jay's going to throw the winning touchdown."
However, Cutler's interceptions are becoming a huge issue. When he was traded to the Bears last April, Cutler was supposed to be the quarterback the Bears had been searching for. Denver was supposed to have received the short end of the deal.
"I think it knocks you back a few steps when you throw that many interceptions," said coach
"I think we can destroy their front,'' Davis said on Tuesday, speaking of the Bears defense. "The guys up front, I think we can destroy them. I don't see anything spectacular about their front line."
Davis praised defensive end
Before the game, he and Ogunleye jawed at each other on the field.
"I was just trying to get my team fired up," Davis said Thursday.
Davis' words may have worked to take himself out of the game. Tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions, Davis didn't get in the end zone and only had three receptions (for 16 yards). His most notable accomplishments were a couple of false start penalties that hurt the 49er drives.
But Davis was unapologetic for giving the Bears a reason to want to shut him down.
"I was getting my team focused and motivated and ready to go," he said. "I think it worked.
"I didn't think my comments would make it all across the world."
While Singletary did a good job of playing down any emotions he might have had in facing his former team for the first time as a head coach, Bears fans don't have quite as easy a time seeing their legendary linebacker roaming the sideline for another NFC team.
"It's such a conflagration between the immovable force and the unstoppable object that I fear for the earth. It could spin off its axis," actor
"This could be the end of time," he added. "The only thing more threatening to the universe, as we know it, would be the Cubs winning the pennant."