Barkley gets 1st win against old coach as Bears beat 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) tries to run away from Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
CHICAGO (AP) Matt Barkley had a quick chat with his old coach after picking up his first career victory.
It was a sweet moment for a veteran quarterback – and not just because it came against Chip Kelly.
''We're on good terms,'' Barkley said. ''I'm grateful for the fact that he brought me into this league. No hard feelings at all.''
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Barkley shook off a slow start to throw for 192 yards, Jordan Howard ran for 117 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears handed San Francisco its 11th straight loss, beating the 49ers 26-6 on a snowy Sunday.
The 49ers (1-11) extended their franchise-record losing streak and set a club low with 6 yards net passing on a day when Colin Kaepernick got lifted for Blaine Gabbert.
The Bears (3-9) finished with a season high in points and picked up a rare win in a matchup between two of the NFL's worst teams.
Here are some things to know about the 49ers and Bears:
CONFIDENT QB: Barkley has not played much in the NFL. But he's taking advantage of his opportunity with Jay Cutler out for the remainder of the season because of a shoulder injury and backup Brian Hoyer on injured reserve.
Barkley led a late comeback that ultimately fell short in last week's loss to Tennessee. He got off to a rough start in this one, going nearly the entire first half without a completion. But he adjusted his arm angle because of the conditions, led a touchdown drive near the end of the second quarter and finished 11 of 18 without an interception.
''I thought he improved,'' coach John Fox said.
It was a decent showing by a quarterback who was drafted by Philadelphia in 2013 when Kelly was coaching the Eagles. Barkley wasn't a great fit for Kelly's offense because he lacks mobility, and he wound up getting dealt to Arizona in 2015.
Now, his confidence is soaring.
''Probably at an all-time high in this league,'' Barkley said. ''Just knowing that I can play, that we can make plays as an offense.''
QUARTERBACK CHANGE: The 49ers benched Kaepernick for Gabbert early in the fourth quarter. Whether that was a temporary switch or a more long-term move isn't clear.
The 49ers play the New York Jets next week, and Kelly wasn't about to tip his hand.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, said the switch caught him off guard.
''It's not my place to really argue on the sideline,'' said Kaepernick, who found out from quarterbacks coach Ryan Day. ''I want to make sure I do what I can to help this team win and that was the decision that was made so I am going to support my teammates.''
Kaepernick completed just 1 of 5 passes for 4 yards and was sacked five times. He also ran for 20 yards on six attempts before Gabbert replaced him in the fourth quarter.
Gabbert was 4 of 10 for 35 yards and sacked for a safety near the end of the game.
DRAFT BOARD: If there was one positive for the 49ers, it's that they gave their odds of landing the No. 2 draft pick a boost. They also remain in the running for the No. 1 spot. Only the winless Browns have a worse record.
STINGY DEFENSE: Despite a long line of injuries and inconsistent play, the Bears' defense has ranked among the top half in the NFL all season. And against the struggling 49ers, that group was nothing short of dominant.
The Bears got six sacks – two each from Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks – and gave up their lowest point total since a 41-3 romp over Jacksonville on Oct. 7, 2012.
RUNNING WITH IT: Howard continues to impress as a rookie.
The fifth-round draft pick out of Indiana has five 100-yard games and his three rushing TDs tied for the second most by a Bears rookie in a game. Willie Galimore (1957) and Rashaan Salaam (1995) also did it. The only Bears rookie to rush for more in a game was Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965.
Howard, who came in with two rushing touchdowns, scored on a 1-yard run near the end of the first half. He added a 2-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third and a 5-yard run midway through the quarter.
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