Chicago at San Francisco 11-12-09

November 12, 2009

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After solid victories for both the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears in Week 4, both teams were looking poised for a run at the playoffs. Those postseason aspirations aren’t looking as realistic anymore. In Mike Singletary’s first game as head coach against his former team, the 49ers look to avoid losing a fifth straight game Thursday night against the Bears, who are coming off another embarrassing performance on defense. With a 35-0 victory over St. Louis on Oct. 4, San Francisco (3-5) improved to 3-1 and sat alone atop the NFC West. Singletary’s team was clicking on both offense and defense, but it hasn’t won since.

The 49ers, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, lost 34-27 on Sunday against Tennessee, which got its first road win and second overall. Alex Smith threw two interceptions in the final 6:24 and three total, fumbled twice and was sacked four times. Overall, the 49ers committed four turnovers – leading to 24 points for the Titans – and have turned the ball over 11 times during their four-game skid. They had just two turnovers in their first four games. Singletary was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 1981 draft and played 12 seasons at middle linebacker, spearheading one of the best defenses in NFL history while winning a Super Bowl following the 1985 season. The Hall of Famer insists there are no added emotions for this game just because he’s facing his former organization. Singletary, who took over for the fired Mike Nolan in October 2008, was the 49ers’ assistant head coach/defense the last time these teams met Oct. 29, 2006, a 41-10 Bears victory. Chicago’s current defense looks nothing like the unit Singletary once anchored.

With three losses in four games, the Bears, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, are hardly playing like a team that opened the year with a 3-1 record following a 48-24 win over Detroit in Week 4.

With Gore leading the ground game, San Francisco needs Smith to clean up some of the mistakes that plagued him against Tennessee.

Smith, who took over the starting job at halftime against Houston on Oct. 25 when Singletary benched Shaun Hill, looked like a poised NFL veteran at times Sunday and way off at others. Chicago’s Jay Cutler threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns – all to tight end Greg Olsen- but was intercepted once and sacked four times Sunday. Playing behind a shoddy offensive line while trying to find inexperienced wide receivers that struggle to get open, Cutler has already been sacked 19 times – eight more than all of last season with Denver. Ironically San Francisco has not won a game since adding Michael Crabtree to their team.  This is a big game for both teams, Chicago is hurt bad on defense, but Cutler and the bears should bounce back on the road. 

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By Lawrence Tate Associate Freepick1.com Editor


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