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Ex-Bear Robbie Gould's revenge obscures Mitchell Trubisky's modest growth

CHICAGO -- Jimmy Garoppolo decidedly won the head-to-head quarterback battle on Sunday, but the Chicago Bears (3-9) didn’t lose to one of the NFL’s worst teams because of rookie Mitchell Trubisky.

The Bears’ 15-14 loss to the lowly San Francisco 49ers can be pinned on the 2016 decision by general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox to release veteran kicker Robbie Gould (5-of-5 on field goal attempts Sunday, including the game winner) and the defense’s failure to get off the field.

San Francisco’s offense crushed the Bears in time of possession.

As for the quarterbacks, the final statistics were overwhelmingly in Garoppolo’s favor. The native of suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois, passed for 293 yards on 26 completions.

Garoppolo has the potential to be a really successful starting quarterback. Let’s see how much better Garoppolo is next year with an entire offseason in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and better weapons.

It’ll be interesting to see where these two quarterbacks are when the Bears and 49ers play again in 2018 -- the Bears play the NFC West next year.

Trubisky, who likely will be in a new offense next season, finished the game 12-of-15 for just 102 yards, but there were bright spots.

Trubisky looked comfortable inside the pocket on an 8-yard touchdown strike to Dontrelle Inman. For a young quarterback prone to having happy feet, Trubisky patiently waited for Inman to break open and delivered a perfect ball to the receiver's outside shoulder.

And, of course, Trubisky didn’t turn the ball over.

Add it up -- plus Tarik Cohen’s 61-yard punt return -- and it should’ve been enough for a Bears victory.

But the Bears' inability to evaluate their own talent -- much less talent brought in from the outside -- has been too much to overcome.

Pace and Fox have earned their 12-32 record together, but Sunday’s loss took it to another level.

Gould had years of good football left in his leg when the Bears inexplicably let him go.

And that poor choice just cost the franchise another game.