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Halloween night in Chicago and hopefully it will not be a frightening game for rookie quarterback Craig Krenzel and the Bears as they take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Adam Caldarelli, as usual, will be taking your e-mail questions. He'll try to find out the answers in the locker room after the game. Just use the form on the right.
Not sure how much of a treat tonight's game will be with two starting quarterbacks that were not the starters on opening day--Krenzel for the Bears and Ken Dorsey for the Niners. Tim Rattay is out with a forearm injury and we all know about the Bears' QB situation.
Hey, on a bright note, Rex Tucker is back in the lineup for the first time in two years!
ESPN has to be thrilled this game is not going up against Game 7 of the World Series. What a ratings disaster. Not that it won't be anyway with a pair of 1-5 teams.
Football coming up.
Adam: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this game will be anything but good. When the schedule came out the ESPNers had to be hoping for a bit more than a quarterback rematch of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl between Craig Krenzel and Ken Dorsey--a 2004 fifth-round pick versus a 2003 seventh-rounder. Tostitos, anyone?
Fans are slowly filing into Soldier Field on this crisp Halloween night. There are a lot of empty blue plastic seats, but I always say that 10 minutes before kickoff and it usually ends up filling up quickly. Those that are here are vigorously waving the freebie Bears version of the Terrible Towel they received on the way in.
I remember that Bears-Packers game 10 years on Halloween where it was freezing and windy and the rain was blowing sideways. The Bears lost 33-6 and there were almost 20,000 no-shows.
Adam: We just witnessed what no doubt will be the highlight of the game--and it's not even kickoff yet. The flying Elvis just parachuted onto midfield as "Burning Love" played on the P.A. Tight end Desmond Clark leads the Bears through the inflatable Bear head, while Joe Theisman blabbers incessantly on ESPN. By the way, what's the plural of Elvis?
I wonder what the over-under is on this game? Could be an all-field goal affair.
Hey, in 1999, Cade McNown threw three TD passes on Halloween, even though the Bears lost to the Redskins 48-22. Maybe it was someone else wearing a Bears uniform.
The 49ers receive and will begin at their 30. After a loss of a yard on a run and an incomplete pass, Dorsey flips a screen to Kevan Barlow and he gets a few, and the 49ers will punt. R.W. McQuarters returns the punt 25 yards to the 50.
Thomas Jones carries for no gain. Krenzel tosses a bomb to Bernard Berrian and that's a TD folks. Hit Berrian in stride and he took it in. What a throw.
Bears 7, 49ers 0
Adam: It took Craig Krenzel one play to get across midfield
. and goodbye Jonathan Quinn. Krenzel finds fellow rookie Bernard Berrian deep down the near sideline for a touchdown, the Bears' third passing touchdown all year and first to a wide receiver. Impressive, but I'm still partial to the flying Elvises.
Forgot to mention: a couple 49er cornerbacks are out tonight. The Niners will start at the 32. Fred Beasley carries for no gain and Dorsey goes over the middle for Illinois grad Brandon Lloyd and R.W. knocks it away. The blitz is on the Dorsey goes down. Three Bears were in the backfield on that play. After the punt, the Bears will start inside the 30.
Adam: Brian Urlacher nearly ran right through fullback Fred Beasley on that sack.
Krenzel rolls right and throws it right to CB Jimmy Williams, who promptly drops it. Thank you. Anthony Thomas gets outside and runs for a 13-yard gain to the 42. Olin Kreutz is called for a false start, so that brings it back to the 37. Thomas runs right and gets back to the 42. Thomas Jones has a foot sprain and his return is questionable. Krenzel is sacked as the Niners blow through and it's back to the 37. Krenzel is about to get sacked again, but he tosses a pass to Thomas and he has plenty of running room and brings it to the 49ers 33. Thomas runs for two and Krenzel throws a screen, but San Fran is called for offsides and that'll give the ball to the Bears at the 25.
Adam: Great block upfield by Rex Tucker on that A-Train pass play. Guy hasn't played in two seasons because of two bad injuries.
Krenzel goes across the middle to Bobby Wade and the second-year receiver is taken down just inside the 10 for another first down. Thomas gets a yard and then on the reverse, Wade loses three back to the 13. Krenzel is under pressure and he drops the ball, picks it up, fumbles again after getting hit, and Dwain Carpenter gobbles it up and dashes 80 yards for a touchdown. Uh....
Bears 7, 49ers 7
Adam: You honestly didn't think Krenzel was going to march the Bears down twice in the first quarter, did you?
That's the first touchdown the Bears have given up in the first quarter this year. What a turn of events. The Bears can't seem to avoid those type of plays. The Bears will start at the 27.
bearfan1 in Atlanta e-mails and sums up that play in one word: damn!
Thomas goes straight up the middle to the 33. Screen to Bryan Johnson picks up nada. On third-and-four, Thomas finds a hole and just gets the first to the 39. Krenzel has plenty of time to throw and fires a bullet, but it's high and Ronnie Heard picks it off in 49ers territory and returns it to the Bears 46.
Adam: Quinn sneak back in the game?
Dorsey completes a pass to the 35 and that's another first down.
Adam: Thomas Jones is now officially out.
After a yard gain and a two-yard loss, Dorsey throws a short one to former Bear Curtis Conway at the 29.
Adam: Hey, Curtis Conway! And Bears fans boo him. Long memory.
They're short of the first. Todd Peterson barely makes the 47-yard FG.
49ers 10, Bears 7
The Bears start at the 34 and Thomas finds tons of running room and motors down the sideline to the 49ers 38.
A screen to Thomas goes nowhere.
Adam: Anthony Thomas clearly is an angry running back. He feels he lost his job unfairly to Thomas Jones and it shows by the way he's running.
Two incompletes and Paul Edinger hits the crossbar on a 52-yard FG--but it goes through.
Adam: You could hear the ball dong off the crossbar like Mark Bellhorn's homer off Pesky's pole. Granted there's not as much on the line here, but that was still cool.
Bears 10, 49ers 10
Niners start at the 30. Dorsey throws to the outside, but the receiver fell down. Barlow picks up 5. Dorsey is under pressure and throws incomplete and the Niners punt.
Adam: A reader, kdog, writes in asking for a Thomas Jones update. All I know is he left with a sprained foot and won't return. I'm not sure when he hurt it but I think it was on the first series. It's all A-Train for now. Running back is one position where the Bears actually have depth.
The Bears start from their 42. Thomas gets 4 and then Krenzel fires a pass to no one and on third down, Krenzel's pass goes off Wade's finger tips and the Bears kick. That would have been a first down.
Adam: Jones carried the ball only once, on the Bears' first play from scrimmage--a one-yard dive--and left after that.
The Niners begin at the 24 and Barlow carries and is forced out after a loss of 4. Dorsey fires to Lloyd and he makes a tough catch for a gain of 13. The Niners pass on third-and-1 and Arnaz Battle makes the grab and runs to the Bears 47. After a yard gain, Dorsey hooks up with Lloyd again and that's short of a first at the 38. Beasley powers his way up the gut and makes the first at the 35. Barlow is nailed by Alfonso Boone at the line of scrimmage. Dorsey looks to throw, but he is flushed and runs out at the 34. The Bears get a good rush and Dorsey throws it away. Now Peterson hits the crossbar on his field goal and it also goes through the uprights. What's going on here?
49ers 13, Bears 10
Adam: Um, wow. It's safe to say you'll never see that twice in a game again.
Jerry Azumah finds a seam and he breaks loose and takes it all the way to the San Fran 24. Sweet. After a false start, Thomas gets nailed at the line. Now the Bears take a timeout with 5:26 to go. Krenzel looks for Wade, but there's no chance and it's third-and-18. From the shotgun, Krenzel goes to Bryan Johnson for a few. Edinger ties it with a 45-yard FG that gets inside the upright.
Adam: That kick probably shouldn't count because it didn't bounce off the crossbar.
Bears 13, 49ers 13
Guess I was wrong when I thought this was going to be a low scoring game.
This Niners' drive starts at the 30 and Dorsey finds Barlow to the 37. After tonight, only two teams will have one win--the loser of this game and the Dolphins. After they pick-up the first, Dorsey throws into a crowd and Brian Urlacher drops the pass. Should have had it. Dorsey finds no one on the next play as he saw Urlacher coming. Now an incomplete pass and the punt sails into the Bears end zone.
On first down, Bobby Wade is called for interference and the Bears should be careful here with 2:48 to go. They're back at the 9. Draw play to Thomas gets a yard. Two-minute warning.
Krenzel dumps one to A-Train and that gets a few. Timeout Niners. The Niners blitz and Krenzel goes down at the 6. SF takes its final timeout. Battle calls a fair catch at his own 48.
Dorsey has no time and throws one to the grass near the sideline. Azumah comes hard on the blitz and Dorsey gets it off to Terry Jackson for no gain. Dorsey throws high to Battle and the Niners punt. McQuarters returns the kick to the 42 with :25.
Krenzel tries for Gage deep in 49ers territory and it's knocked away by Joselio Hanson, who is about nine inches shorter than Gage. Krenzel is flushed from the pocket and runs to midfield with 10 seconds left. 49ers DT Brandon Whiting is hurt. Krenzel completes to Terrell at the San Fran 35 and the Bears take their last timeout. My colleague Greg Gugger predicts Edinger will come up a yard short on a 53-yard field goal attempt--and he's right. A 52-yarder would have made it. Halftime.
Azumah returns the kickoff 42 yards to the Bears 49. Krenzel is sacked by former Bloom star Bryant Young at the 43. Thomas runs left and the ball gets poked away and the Niners recover at the 40. Third Bears turnover.
Barlow carries and he fumbles and the Bears recover at the 34.
ESPN just showed a Chicago pizza and now I'm ready to eat.
After a short run, Krenzel looks for Bryan Johnson on a screen and it's too high. Krenzel throws in the vicinity of Terrell near the sidelines and Maynard will punt. Battle takes the kick and is hit immediately by Todd McMillon at the 20.
Barlow carries for 4 and then 2. They just showed a guy in the crowd dressed as Ditka. Israel idonije blows in untouched and Dorsey goes down at the 18. On the punt, the Bears are called for holding on the return.
From their own 43, A-Train gets a few. ESPN is talking to Ditka and he says the Grossman injury was a huge blow and he will be a good QB in the league. On the field, Krenzel goes long for Wade, but barely misses. A reverse to Gage and he's short of the first. And they keep showing Ditka and not the game!! Nice.
Adam: I'm sorry but I can't add anything more than we already know about Thomas Jones' injury. He left with a foot sprain and won't be back. We'll know more afterwards. Anthony Thomas is playing well in his place. He had 62 yards at halftime.
They come back to showing the game and somehow it's third-and-13 and Thomas catches a screen and the Bears punt. Seems like there was an extra play in there. Maybe a penalty?
Adam: Was it me or did ESPN just tune out the game for a talking Mike Ditka? Not that I blame them. A reader wrote in with the same question. Personally, I wouldn't mind if they flipped to a replay of the Michigan-Michigan State game.
From their own 34, the Niners start with a pass and Dorsey has to run and gets 2. On the draw, Barlow gains 4. Dorsey's pass is tipped and it falls to the turf. The punt rolls dead at the Bears 26.
False start on the first play. Krenzel is 9 of 19 for 131 yards, but 49 on that TD. ESPN likes the press box at Soldier Field. I'm sure they don't have an obstructed view. After a run and an incomplete, SF is called for an illegal chuck. Huge. That's a first down. Krenzel is hit as he throws and his wobbler is pulled down by Desmond Clark for a first down and that brings a huge smile to Krenzel's face. From the 45, Young breaks through and takes Krenzel down for a loss of 9. Thomas gets a few and Krenzel throws to Wade for a short gain and the Bears punt.
SF starts at the 12. Four minutes left in the third. This game is getting ugly after some excitement early. The Niners go three and out. McQuarters takes the punt on the run at the 50 and brings it to the 49ers 38.
Adam: As these two teams swap punts, I'm thinking we may be on the way to this season's first tie.
Thomas finds a big hole up the middle and he gains 13. Now he loses a few. On the reverse, Wade makes a few god moves and gets to the 17.
Adam: I wonder if Terry Shea realizes with Krenzel out lead blocking on the reverse, that's one hit away from the resurrection of the Mighty Quinn.
Thomas runs and is short of the first by a yard, but SF is offsides and that's a break. First down at the 12. That's the quarter.
Adam: The Soldier Field sound guy just found the train noise that used to follow all of Thomas' big runs. There hadn't been much need for it so far this season.
The Bears haven't lost to SF at home during the regular season since 1974. But they've only met three times since then. Of course, the Bears lost the NFC Championship here in 1989 (1988 season).
Thomas runs for three. Krenzel rolls right and throws one right to Dwaine Carpenter and he drops it in the end zone. Another break. The pass hit him right in the numbers. These teams play like they're 1-5. Krenzel wants to throw again, but has to run and falls forward to the 9. ESPN says that was a bad call because if Krenzel gets hurt, it's back to Quinn. Edinger hits the chip shot.
Bears 16, 49ers 13
Jamal Robertson brings the kick back into Bears territory and has to be knocked out by Edinger, but SF is called for holding, so they'll start at their 35. A short throw to Beasley and then a run and it's third-and-4. The Niners have 94 yards in this game. Barlow adds to that as he gets a huge hole and gets to the Bears 42. Dorsey goes long, but it's out of bounds. Paul McGuire says you have to keep the pass in the field of play to have a chance....really. Bears blitz, and Mike Green is called for interference on the pass and the Niners are all the way to the 35. They hadn't had a first down since the first quarter and now they're moving.
Adam: That flag came from 30 yards away.
After a two-yard run, Dorsey throws high to Lloyd and it's incomplete. He was right there. Llyod catches this one for a first down, but it's close to being a trap. Bears challenge the call.
Adam: I realize this guy is like the second-leading receiver in the league, but ESPN's fascination with Eric Johnson needs to stop. He hasn't caught a ball yet.
The call is changed and it's incomplete. It was hard to tell, but it looked like he had it. Peterson's field goal attempt from 50 yards is right and short.
Bears get called for a false start and are back to the 35. Thomas runs left for a few. 11 minutes to go. On second-and-8, Krenzel is under heavy pressure and manages to pass to Johnson, but they lose a yard. Timeout Bears. They only have one left. Krenzel completes to Wade and the Bears get the first at the 49ers 49. A loss of two and then Thomas is nailed in the backfield for a loss of 2 more. Hey, the end zone is the other way. Now an incomplete pass and the Bears punt yet again.
Adam: Just asking but is David Terrell active this week?
Good point, he sure hasn't been around the ball much.
Dorsey hooks up with Lloyd and that's an 18-yard gain to the 42. After a run, Dorsey goes to Lloyd again to the Bears 45 with six minutes to play. Please don't go to overtime. Do we want to watch these teams play more football? 6,000 no-shows tonight. I thought there would be more than that. The Niners get to the 39 and have second-and-4. Dorsey has a pass picked by Nathan Vasher and he takes it all the way for the TD. A 71-yard return. SF will challenge. Vasher may have been down at the point of the catch. Refs say he was not down and that's a TD. The Bears will take it.
Bears 23, 49ers 13
Adam: That's a new one to me. Dennis Erickson has the right to go nuts. The refs clearly have a flight to catch.
Niners start at the 32 with 3:45 to go. From the shotgun, Dorsey is hit and throws it away.
Adam: Oh, for the days of "in the grasp."
Dorsey goes to Eric Johnson and he gains 8.
Adam: The ESPN producers will now show 15 replays of Eric Johnson's first catch, considering they have every camera in the place trained on him. SF runs and they are a few inches short of the first.
Barlow sweeps to his left and goes out of bounds after making the first the the SF 45. Alex Brown blows in and tips Dorsey's pass. A screen to Beasley goes nowhere.
Adam: Did the 49ers bring in John Shoop for this drive? They're down 10 and they're dinking.
Another incomplete and it's fourth down. Dorsey throws for Cedrick Wilson and he's open, but can't hang on the Bears take over.
A five-yard gain and there's two minutes left. Two runs and the Niners call their last timeout. On fourth down, Thomas gets the first and that'll do it. The Bears take a few knees.
Craig Krenzel wins in his first start. He becomes only the second rookie QB to throw a TD pass on his first attempt in his first start. Elvis Grbac was the other. Bears go to 2-5.
Thanks for reading.
Final: Bears 23, 49ers 13