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SANTA CLARA -– The most curious play call of the 49ers’ 28-20 loss Sunday night was a third-and-6 play from the Chicago Bears’ 7-yard line that got stuffed.
Running back Frank Gore took the handoff from quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the first drive of the third quarter but could only get back to the line of scrimmage. The 49ers settled for Phil Dawson’s 24-yard field goal. The 49ers extended their lead to 20-7, and never scored again.
The questionable call was actually two calls that came from offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Kaepernick had the responsibility of implementing a pass play or run play based on his pre-snap read of the Bears’ defense. Kaepernick said the call was one he was instructed to make.
“Yeah, the run was called for the look we got and we ran it,” Kaepernick said on Wednesday.
In the second quarter, Gore scored on a second-and-goal run play from the 8-yard line. Why did the third-down run in the third quarter fail?
“Execution,” Kaepernick said.
On Monday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about the mindset of playing with a lead at the suggestions of Gore and Michael Crabtree that the 49ers did not exhibit killer instinct.
“It didn’t work,” Harbaugh said. “Could you have used a different play and that could have worked? Yeah, we’d love to go back and try the different play now. But that’s in all these situations when you look back. One worked, one didn’t. Sure you’d like to try the other, but you’re not in that position.”