As soon as Jay Cutler's fifth interception landed in Michael Lewis' hands and the clock ran out, Mike Singletary embraced his assistants with a huge sense of a relief.
SAN FRANCISCO — As soon as Jay Cutler's fifth interception landed in Michael Lewis' hands and the clock ran out, Mike Singletary embraced his assistants with a huge sense of a relief.
It wasn't about beating his old Chicago Bears team. Samurai Mike was just thankful to get a victory of any kind after four straight losses by his San Francisco 49ers.
Frank Gore ran for 104 yards and a touchdown and the 49ers took advantage of another horrific day by Cutler to snap their losing streak with a 10-6 victory over the Bears on Thursday night.
"I think it meant more for coach the way the game was played and the way we won the game," said safety Mark Roman, who had one of the interceptions. "He doesn't care about all the extra stuff. He loves this team. He loves what we are about. He loves our resiliency. Anytime we win like that he's excited and happy for us."
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 the 1985 season.
He said it was an "overwhelming feeling" when he first faced the Bears as an assistant in 2005. But he said this time the Bears were "just another team on the schedule."
Both teams badly needed this game, with the Niners (4-5) coming in on their skid and the Bears (4-5) now having lost four of five.
Chicago had many chances to reverse the slide but Cutler threw all five of his interceptions in 49ers territory. He threw one at the goal line to end a scoring threat in the second quarter, one that set up Gore's 14-yard touchdown run later in the second, added another early in the third and early in the fourth before the final one ended the comeback attempt after the Bears had moved down the field in the final 3 minutes.
"It was tough. I have to apologize to the defense," Cutler said. "I think the offense as a whole has to apologize. They played a great game and kept us in there even through all the turnovers."
Even though Cutler has thrown an NFL-worst 17 interceptions this season, his teammates still have confidence in their quarterback with linebacker Lance Briggs saying, "Next week Jay is going to throw the winning touchdown."
Niners tight end Vernon Davis fired up the Bears with his trash talk Tuesday, saying: "I think we can destroy their front." Davis and Bears defensive lineman Adewale Ogunleye got into a pregame jawing session and some of the Chicago captains intentionally avoided shaking Davis' hand before the coin toss.
The 49ers offense didn't do much, gaining just 216 yards and matching a season low with 10 points. But the defense made sure that was enough.
"It was a big relief," Davis said. "It's truly a blessing to be able to get this. We just have to keep winning."
The victory snapped a seven-start losing streak for Niners quarterback Alex Smith, who earned his first win since beating St. Louis in Week 2 in 2007.
Smith completed 16 of 23 passes for 118 yards, but threw only one interception after turning the ball over four times in last week's loss to Tennessee.
"It's nice to be on the other sideline of that, that's for sure," Smith said.
The Niners held the Bears to a pair of field goals by Robbie Gould, getting the two key turnovers in the red zone. The Bears looked like they might pull it out after Singletary elected to punt on fourth-and-6 from the Chicago 34 with 2:53 left. Cutler completed eight passes to move the ball to the 12 with 13 seconds remaining.
Cutler threw an incompletion in the end zone on first down before the interception by Lewis sealed it. The five interceptions by Cutler are tied for the most by a Bear since Zeke Bratkowski threw seven in a 42-7 loss to Baltimore on Oct. 2, 1960.
"I wouldn't have wanted it to end any other way because as a secondary we felt like we played a pretty good game," Roman said. "To have the game end on an interception by one of our secondary guys was a beautiful thing."