Take a quick glance at the tale of the tape for Monday night’s showdown between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers
Bears QB Jay Cutler (concussion) did not practice this week and will give way to backup Jason Campbell. So, RBs Matt Forte and Michael Bush may get a heavier workload against a San Francisco defense that has suddenly been more vulnerable against the run. No. 1 WR Brandon Marshall has 51 catches and six touchdowns in the last six games
Niners’ QB Alex Smith (concussion) practiced in a limited fashion throughout the week but has not received clearance from doctors to suit up. Backup Colin Kaepernick will be under center. Kaepernick guided San Francisco to 17 fourth-quarter points last week against the Rams in relief of Smith, completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards while rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. San Francisco boasts the top-rated rushing offense in the league at 170.2 yards per game for an average of 5.6 yards per carry.
San Francisco and Chicago rank 1-2 in the league in fewest points allowed with 14.1 and 14.8, respectively. Chicago will lean on a defense that has a league-high 19 interceptions, including seven for TDs. The Bears’ stop unit is also the fourth-best at stopping the run. The Niners are fifth defending the pass and through nine games, San Francisco has given up just 292.1 yards per game.
Bears punter Adam Podlesh has been in a slump, prompting special teams coordinator Dave Toub to bring in three punters for tryouts this week. Podlesh ranks 30th in the league in punting average (41.7). Devin Hester hasn’t been leaving would-be tacklers in the dust, slowed by injury this
season, but he's still the greatest returner in NFL history.
David Akers missed a field goal that would have won the game for the Niners in overtime last week. The Rams also succeeded in converting two fake punts against San Francisco. The second fake came on the Rams final drive of regulation, which resulted in a touchdown and a St. Louis lead. The 49ers are allowing foes to average 28.8 yards per kickoff return (second worst in the NFL) and 9.6 yards per punt return including a TD in Week 1.
Word on the street
"I don't think so. They're kind of similar quarterbacks, strong armed
guys, athletic. He's been experienced. He's played in the league a long
time as a starter, both in Washington and Oakland. So, I really don't
think their offense will change that much." - San Francisco defensive
coordinator Vic Fangio on if the Chicago offense changes much with Jason
Campbell in instead of Jay Cutler.
"We didn’t handle last year well...Of course, it’s documented we didn’t. That’s why we went out and we felt like we’ve upgraded the position. I know the guys have a lot of confidence in Jason. He’s played a lot of football, started a lot of games, so yeah, we’re hopeful. That’s why we can’t wait to get to this game. Injuries do happen, and we’ll see exactly where we are, but we think we’re going to be OK." - Bears coach Lovie Smith on the team's struggles last season when Cutler fell to injury and his starter Monday, Jason Campbell.