SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jay Cutler passed for three fourth-quarter touchdowns after much of Chicago's starting defense went down, and the Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 Sunday night to spoil their Levi's Stadium debut.
Cutler threw three TD passes to Brandon Marshall, two in the wild fourth quarter, as Chicago erased a 13-point deficit and quieted the sellout crowd. Cutler threw for two scores in a 27-second span early in the final period, aided by the gutsy play of a backup cornerback.
Kyle Fuller made two late interceptions for the depleted Chicago secondary, and the first set up the go-ahead score.
San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for "inappropriate language" following Fuller's first big play. That gave the Bears first-and-goal on the 3, and Cutler threw a 3-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett as the Bears went ahead 21-20.
Kaepernick threw three interceptions in all, lost a fumble and his cool, a far cry from his breakout start on the Monday night stage nearly two years ago in a rout of the Bears. Cutler sat out that night with a concussion.
A sloppy game filled with 26 penalties — 16 by the Niners — and a crazy collapse overshadowed the fanfare of the regular-season debut for the sparkling $1.2 billion stadium under the lights of prime time.
The Bears (1-1), in a stretch with six of eight games on the road, go home with some serious momentum despite injuries on both sides of the ball.
Five key defenders are hurt: cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and Charles Tillman (triceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion).
The 49ers (1-1) missed an opportunity to grab an early lead in the NFC West after the defending Super Bowl champion and rival Seattle Seahawks lost earlier in the day at San Diego.
Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass on his 27th birthday and Frank Gore ran for a score but also had his 54-yard TD burst negated by Anquan Boldin's costly holding penalty.