There’s not a huge secret or conspiracy to beating the San Francisco 49ers. Teams that run the football are able to win. In the 49ers two losses and tie, teams that committed to and stuck with the run were successful. The Minnesota Vikings (loss) provided a road map in week three rushing the football around 40 times. Follow that up with the New York Giants (loss) in week six rushing around 35 times and the St. Louis Rams (tie) last week racked up around 35 carries.
The Chicago Bears have one of the leagues best running back duos in Matt Forte and Michael Bush. With quarterback Jay Cutler most-likely not playing Monday Night, the Bears absolutely must commit to the run. It may not be pretty or exciting, but it’s effective against a downhill team like the 49ers. If this game comes down to Jason Campbell, that will put the Bears behind the eight ball.
It’s very tempting for teams to move away from a game-plan when things aren’t working, but this must be a game the Bears really run the football early and often. The Bears are eighth overall in rushing attempts (261), yards (1,143) and average yard per carry (4.4). The 49ers, as a comparison are seventh in attempts (273), but are first in yards (1,532) and yards per carry 5.6).
I think one of the biggest frustrations as a Bears fan is a lack of an identity on offense. Considering that the Bears offense does have two strong running backs, there are times the Bears seem to become too pass happy. Cutler obviously loves Brandon Marshall in the passing game, but quite frankly, there’s a huge dropoff between Marshall and the other receivers. The running game will open more things up down the road.
On the flip side, the 49ers will most likely focus on the run. It’s hard to trust their passing attack against the turnover-creating Bears defense. Frank Gore is a great back, so they need to feed him early and often.
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