GAME PLAN: The Bears need to run the football to be successful, and to keep the 49ers offense, which has rolled up 806 yards in the last two meetings, off the field for as long as possible. But because their running game is suspect, the Bears may choose to open with a ball-control passing attack to set up the run. When it comes to the run game, the Bears still aren't sure whether it will be Anthony Thomas predominantly or a running attack by committee, utilizing Adrian Peterson and perhaps Rabih Abdullah and rookie Brock Forsey, in addition to Thomas.
Defensively, the Bears will hope that R.W. McQuarters can control Terrell Owens, as he did in the last meeting, when he held T.O. to six catches for 60 yards. With a new defensive scheme that allows the linemen to penetrate more and make more plays rather than tying up blockers, the Bears hope to hurry Niners QB Jeff Garcia.
STARTING A NEW STREAK: On Dec. 17, 2000 against San Francisco, the Bears defense recovered a fumble. That fumble recovery by the Chicago defense started a streak of 33 consecutive games where the Bears "D" forced at least one turnover, which, until the streak was snapped in last season's regular season finale against Tampa Bay, was the second-longest takeaway streak in the League. The Bears will be looking to start a new streak against the team it started it's last one Sunday in San Francisco, following a preseason where the Bears forced at least one turnover in each of their four games. Chicago recorded an interception and fumble against Indianapolis and Denver, an interception at Arizona and two fumbles at New England. Tampa Bay is the current active League-leader, forcing at least one turnover in 40 straight games. The last time the Bears played San Francisco, LB Brian Urlacher recorded a second-quarter interception off of Jeff Garcia and Mike Brown returned a tipped Garcia pass for a score in the shortest overtime game in NFL history, on the first play from scrimmage, just 16 seconds elapsed.
INJURY IMPACT: Nothing new, but the status of OT Marc Colombo (PUP; knee) and OG Rex Tucker (I.R.; ankle) has left the offensive line lacking in depth, despite the addition of free-agent Corbin Lacina.