Howard scores 3 TDs, Bears hand 49ers 11th loss in a row with 26-6 win
CHICAGO — 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.
Matt Barkley, making his second start with Jay Cutler sidelined by a season-ending shoulder injury, went nearly the entire first half without a completion.
But he led a touchdown drive near the end of the second quarter and finished 11 of 18 for 192 yards.
Howard, who came in with two rushing touchdowns, scored on a 1-yard run near the end of the first half.
A fifth-round draft pick from Indiana, he added a 2-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third and a 5-yard run midway through the quarter.
Howard’s three rush TDs are tied for the second-most by a Bears rookie in a game.
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.
Carlos Hyde ran for 92 yards, but the 49ers remained winless since they shut out Los Angeles in the season opener.
The Bears led 7-6 after a first half that was ugly.
Neither team completed a pass in the first quarter — something that hadn’t happened in an NFL game since the Jets and Patriots did it on Nov. 13, 1988, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
San Francisco had minus-14 yards passing in the half and didn’t get a completion until Kaepernick connected with Vance McDonald on a 4-yarder midway through the second quarter.
Barkley went almost the entire half without one before completing four for 64 yards on a touchdown drive that gave Chicago a 7-6 lead.
He finally hit Deonte Thompson with a short pass with 1:43 remaining. Two completions to Cameron Meredith — a 28-yarder and 17-yarder — put the ball on the San Francisco 12. And Howard ran it in from the 1 to give Chicago a 7-6 lead with 31 seconds left after Tramaine Brock got flagged for pass interference against Daniel Brown in the end zone.