This week on Monday Night Football, the Chicago Bears (7-2) and San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) will battle for NFC supremacy at Candlestick Park for the 62nd meeting in the team’s histories. The 49ers hold the series edge with a record of 31-29-1. The Bears have won three of the last four games, but have lost the last seven in San Francisco.
The Bears have already ruled out QB Jay Cutler with a concussion, so we are going to see how well backup QB Jason Campbell can perform after a full week of preparation. He has played six games on Monday night (3-3) and started 70 career games (31-39) since 2006. Bears fans will be keeping a close eye on him after last year’s backup debacle with Caleb Hanie. If Campbell struggles early, look out for chants for Josh McCown echoing through the Bay.
The 49ers QB Alex Smith also suffered a concussion last week but will most likely get the start. He is finally living up to the potential of a first overall pick, leading the 49ers to a 19-5-1 record since the beginning of last season. This year, he is completing 70 percent of his passes and has thrown 13 touchdowns to go along with only five interceptions. The Bears defense may have trouble forcing turnovers by a stingy Smith, but he has been sacked 24 times with only 217 pass attempts.
Let’s take a look at some fun facts for the showdown in San Francisco.
0-5: Combined career record of Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell and Josh McCown in games played in San Francisco.
1985: The last time the Bears won a game on the road against the 49ers.
0: Touchdowns scored by the Bears the last time they played against the 49ers in San Francisco on November 12, 2009.
57.0: 49ers QB Alex Smith’s quarterback rating in two career games against the Bears.
54.3: Bears QB Jason Campbell’s quarterback rating in two career games against the 49ers.
120: Receiving yards by Matt Forte the last time the Bears played against the 49ers in San Francisco.
5: Number of interceptions thrown by Cutler the last time the Bears player against the 49ers in San Francisco.
1: Number of times that Campbell has thrown more than two interceptions in a game.
170.2: Average rushing yards per game by the 49ers this season, first in the NFL.
9: Number of turnovers by the 49ers this season, sixth in the NFL.
28.8: Average yards per kick return by 49ers opponents this season, second worst in the NFL.
35.92: Average yards per kick return by Devin Hester against NFC West opponents (13 returns), including two touchdowns.
4: Number of times the Bears have turned the ball over in the second half this season.
32: Longest kickoff return by a Bears opponent this season (Darius Reynaud in Week 9).
10: Number of interceptions by Tim Jennings since the beginning of the 2011 season, the most in the NFL over that span.
27: Number of interceptions by the Bears in the 15 games that Chris Conte and Major Wright have been the starting safeties.
14-3: The Bears record when they lose the coin toss since 2010. They are 12-12 when they win the coin toss.
4: Number of Bears defensive linemen (Israel Idonije – 4, Henry Melton – 5, Julius Peppers -6, Corey Wootton – 4) who have at least four sacks this season, the most in the NFL.
10: Consecutive field goals of 50+ yards made by Robbie Gould, one shy of the NFL record held by Tony Zendejas (1988-1993).
7: Number of games this season where the Bears defense has forced their opponent to punt at least five times.
125.7: Average net passing yards per game by the Bears in the seven games Cutler has missed since joining the team in 2009.
2: Number of United States presidential elections since the last time a Bears quarterback, other than Cutler, threw more than two touchdowns in a game (Kyle Orton – 9/28/08).
This game is going to be all about Jason Campbell. He will need to get every ounce out of a Bears offense that hasn’t shown much outside of throwing to Brandon Marshall. The positive is that Alshon Jeffery should be returning after missing the last four games. The negative is that the Bears always play terrible in San Francisco. Let’s hope the defense puts some points on the board and makes life easy for the newest “Jay” at QB.