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Ex-Bear O'Sullivan finding success with Niners
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/22/2008 12:08 AM

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J.T. O'Sullivan couldn't cut it with the Bears. Nor the Lions. Nor the Vikings. Nor the Packers. Nor the Saints. Nor the Patriots. Nor the Panthers.

So because the young quarterback couldn't cut it, he always got cut.

So if this true journeyman is picking apart the Bears' suppossed vaunted defense, putting up a perfect passer rating in one half of preseason football on the Lakefront, imagine what Peyton Manning will do.


As the Bears get closer and closer to their season opener against Manning's Colts on Sept. 7 in Indianapolis, there is reason for concern. And it's not just an offense that heads into the team's final preseason game next Thursday at Cleveland with starting positions at wide receiver and running back still up for grabs.

O'Sullivan, who spent two months on the Bears' practice squad in 2005, started under center for San Francisco (his eighth NFL team) on Thursday night and looked Manning-esque. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 126 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown strike to Jason Hill. O'Sullivan's passer rating of 158.3 is as good as it gets.

The 49ers won 37-30, racking up 425 yards and 25 first downs.

"On the defensive side of the football, we were just completely disappointed with the entire effort," coach Lovie Smith said. "We're a better defense than that."

Even former first overall pick Alex Smith looked decent against the Bears' first-team defense. Smith, who's battling O'Sullivan (zero career starts) for the starting QB job, was 4 of 8 for 52 yards in the first half. He slinged a 12-yard TD pass to Dominique Zeigler in the third quarter.

In a 20-20 first half, the 49ers totaled 248 yards and 13 first downs.

Mind you, the 49ers ranked dead last in the NFL last season in total points and total yards. And, Thursday night, they played without wide receivers Bryant Johnson and Arnaz Battle.

"There was a lot at stake out there tonight, and we wanted to come out and show what type of defense we're going to be for the season," safety Mike Brown said. "If we play like that, obviously we're going to be a pretty bad defense. It's going to be a replay of how we were last year - 28th, 29th in the league. Very disappointing."

During Smith's postgame press conference, two reporters interrupted each other three times in succession trying to ask a question.

"A lot like our defense," Smith quipped. "We didn't communicate well either."