49ers lead Bears 7-6 after 3 quarters

EDS: UPDATES through third quarter; WILL be UPDATED ONLY if games goes overtime.

Frank Gore scored on a 14-yard touchdown run after one of Jay Cutler‘s three interceptions and the San Francisco 49ers led the Chicago Bears 7-6 after three quarters on Thursday night.

Cutler threw his first interception near the goal line after driving Chicago 88 yards to the 1 early in the second quarter. Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin stepped in front of Cutler’s pass to Kellen Davis on third-and-goal for his first career interception, ending the potential scoring drive.

After Alex Smith threw an interception for San Francisco on the next drive, Cutler threw his second of the game. Tarell Brown stepped in front of the pass to Devin Hester, who slipped on the play, and returned it 51 yards to the 14. Gore ran it in on the next play to make it 7-0.

Cutler managed to drive the Bears down the field in the final 2 minutes to set up Robbie Gould‘s 50-yard field goal that gave Chicago its only points of the half.

Cutler threw his NFL-worst 15th interception on the first drive of the third quarter, but the Niners couldn’t capitalize.

Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal for the only scoring of the third quarter.

This was a key game for two teams that have struggled of late. The Niners (3-5) had lost four straight and the Bears (4-4) had dropped three of their last four games, damaging their playoff hopes.

The game was especially notable because it marked the first time former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary was the head coach against his former team. Singletary had a Hall of Fame career during his 12 years in Chicago, winning two Defensive Player of the Year awards, being selected to 10 Pro Bowls and winning the Super Bowl following 1985 season.

San Francisco moved the ball well on its first possession, with Smith connecting on two passes to rookie receiver Michael Crabtree. But Crabtree dropped a pass inside the 10 and Smith was sacked on third down by Tommie Harris, setting up Joe Nedney‘s 39-yard field goal attempt. Nedney’s kick was wide right – his first miss of the season from inside 40 yards.

After the Bears failed to get a first down on their first two possessions, Cutler got them moving late in the quarter. He completed three passes to tight end Greg Olsen to move the ball inside the 10 before committing the costly turnover.

Niners tight end Vernon Davis gave some added juice to the game when he said Tuesday: “I think we can destroy their front.” Davis and Bears defensive lineman Adewale Ogunleye got into a pregame jawing session and some of the Bears captains intentionally avoided shaking Davis’ hand before the coin toss.

Davis dealt out his own punishment when he bowled over Chicago linebacker Nick Roach, sending him to the sideline briefly on his first catch of the game. Davis also committed two false start penalties.

Niners linebacker Takeo Spikes left the game in the second quarter with a strained hamstring and was not expected to return. The Bears lost tight end Desmond Clark to a neck injury and cornerback Zackary Bowman to an abdominal injury.