- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Robbie Gould missed two field goals on his 34th birthday. Jay Cutler threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and the defense faltered at the worst time.

Just as quickly as Chicago inserted itself into the playoff race, the Bears’ hopes came crashing back to Earth on Sunday afternoon.

Gould was wide left on a 36-yard attempt on the final play of regulation and Blaine Gabbert threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith in overtime, sending Cutler and the Bears to a 26-20 loss to the lowly San Francisco 49ers.

“I feel terrible. I have a job to do, and I didn’t do that today,” Gould said.

Chicago (5-7) was riding high at the beginning of the day, coming off a rare 17-13 victory at Green Bay on Thanksgiving and winners of three of four overall. San Francisco (4-8) had dropped four of five and was winless in five road games, outscored by an average of three touchdowns.

Any talk of the Bears reaching .500 and setting up an intriguing final month of the season was washed away by a steady stream of mistakes.

A wide receiver screen in the first quarter turned into Jimmie Ward’s first career interception and a 29-yard return for a tying touchdown. Gould was wide left on a 40-yarder in the third quarter.

Cutler misfired on a couple of throws with Alshon Jeffery and Joshua Bellamy open in the San Francisco secondary in the fourth quarter.

“Second time we’ve had a chance to get back to .500 and we’ve kind of blown both opportunities,” Cutler said. “It’s a shame because we had a good shot today. Offensively, we need to play a little better.”

Even with those miscues, Chicago still had a chance to escape with the win. Ka’Deem Carey’s 4-yard touchdown run with 3:32 left capped a six-play, 83-yard drive and gave the Bears a 20-13 lead.

But Gabbert used his legs to drive the 49ers to the tying score. He had a 9-yard scramble on third-and-6 and another 7-yard run before he scrambled 44 yards up the middle for his first career rushing TD with 1:42 left.

“Without going too much into our scheme, there were man (coverage) elements to it,” Bears coach John Fox said. “It was a good play on Gabbert’s part. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to.”

A 74-yard return for Deonte Thompson on the ensuing kickoff put the Bears on the 49ers 28 with 1:32 remaining. But Gould missed again in the final seconds. The veteran kicker was 8 for 9 on field goals from 30-39 yards and 5 for 6 from 40-49 yards coming into the day.

“I just got quick on both of them,” Gould said. “I rushed them; I hurried them. Both are the worst kicks I’ve had all year.”

Chicago had one more chance, but went three-and-out on its only possession in overtime. Gabbert then found a wide-open Smith along the left sideline, and he ran it in for his third touchdown reception of the season.

Smith was mobbed by a group of teammates in the end zone while the Bears trudged to midfield for postgame handshakes.

“It was set up by all the throws we had underneath early on in the game, all the runs we ran out of that formation,” Gabbert said. “It worked perfectly. Torrey did a great job tracking the ball in the air and using his speed to outrun everybody.”

Gabbert was 18 for 32 for 196 yards in his fourth start of the season. Gabbert, who replaced Colin Kaepernick in the lineup last month, also led San Francisco with 75 yards rushing on six carries.

Matt Forte rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown for Chicago, which dropped to 1-5 at home this season. Cutler was 18 for 31 for 202 yards, and Jeffery had four receptions for 85 yards on 12 targets.

“It really isn’t what you’ve done last week, it’s what have you done for me lately in this league,” Fox said. “You’ve got to be ready every week and you’ve got to perform at a high level. We came up a little short today.”

NOTES: Bears rookie Eddie Goldman had two sacks, and Willie Young finished with 1 1/2 sacks. Goldman also blocked San Francisco’s extra-point try after Ward’s interception return. … The 49ers lost TE Vance McDonald (concussion), LB Michael Wilhoite (ankle) and LB Aaron Lynch (concussion) to injuries. LB NaVorro Bowman was checked for a concussion, but was OK and returned to the game. … Fox said he had no injuries to report.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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