TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, Bill Maas
SERIES: 59th meeting. The 49ers lead 30-27-1, with the Bears winning two of the last three meetings. Last year, the Bears defeated the 49ers 23-13 at Soldier Field.
*2005 RANKINGS: 49ers: offense 32nd (24th rush, 31st pass); defense 32nd (14th rush, 32nd pass). Bears: offense 27th (6th rush, 29th pass); defense 3rd (7th rush, 7th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: With QB Cody Pickett making just his second career start and playing behind a woeful offensive line, the 49ers cannot afford to fall in a big early hole. They have been outscored 125-34 on the road this season and don't have the offensive firepower to come from behind against one of the league's top defenses.
San Francisco must win the turnover battle to keep the game competitive, and will attempt bring pressure from all angles at Bears rookie QB Kyle Orton, who is coming off a two-interception game.
The Bears are leery of San Francisco's pass rush, and the 49ers' defense isn't as poor as its statistics might indicate. But in order to put Orton in difficult passing situations, the 49ers must first contain the Bears' strong ground game. Chicago would love to build a lead and limit how much it needs to rely on RB Thomas Jones, who is still dealing with bruised ribs and may miss the game.
FAST FACTS: DT Bryant Young needs two sacks for team's first 10-sack season since Andre Carter had 12.5 in 2002. Bears: Have a league-high seven interception returns for touchdowns since the start of the 2004 season. ... WR Muhsin Muhammad has nine touchdowns and four 100-yard receiving games in his past nine games against San Francisco.
BY THE NUMBERS: Since PK Robbie Gould took over from Doug Brien in Week Five, the Bears have lowered their opponents' average kickoff return from 25.6 yards to 21.9. Since Tim Rattay was benched and subsequently traded, the 49ers have gained just 234 net yards passing in four games, an average of just 58.5 yards per game.
QUOTES TO NOTE: "I don't feel like we're close to putting a complete game together yet. We get better and we have times of spurts where we play great, like a great offense; and then we get spurts where we play real inconsistent." - Bears WR Muhsin Muhammad on the team's passing offense.
"It's obvious to me we're behind schedule as far as the goals for the team go. We're on track with what we're trying to do for the future and what we're trying to build." - 49ers coach Mike Nolan, assessing his first season with the 49ers after a 2-6 beginning.