Connect with us

Bears

Bears vs. 49ers: A Comprehensive Guide

Take a dive into the stats, betting lines, and matchup analysis before the Bears vs. 49ers Week 8 meeting in Chicago.

Bears vs. 49ers Preview

Bears vs. 49ers will kick off at 12:00 PM CT on Sunday, October 31 in Chicago, IL. We will get into the preview shortly, but first, a new take on a classic Halloween poem: The Raven, a Chicago Bears adaptation of the Edgar Allen Poe classic:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten QB lore—While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as if someone quickly falling down the draft boards.

“’Tis some backup,” I muttered, “tapping at my roster floor—Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember, the pain of the last bleak December; And each separate dying attempt wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow from future cap to fill my sorrow —sorrow for the lost Mitchell— For the rare top-three selection whom the Bears had chosen Mitchell—Nameless here forevermore. And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each navy and orange curtain thrilled me—filled me with fantastic dreams never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,

“’Tis some backup entreating entrance at my roster floor—Some late round passer entreating entrance while tumbling down draft boards;—This it is and nothing more.”

 Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was planning, And so quickly you came falling, falling down draft boards, That I scarce was sure I’d see you”—I have traded up too often, often giving up more;—Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no GM ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Mitchell?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back, “Justin!”

Merely this and nothing more.

Bears vs. 49ers History

Bears vs. 49ers History
Bears vs. 49ers history by decade.

The Bears and 49ers first faced off in 1950 in San Francisco, California. Since then, these two franchises have met a grand total of 67 times. Over that span, the Bears are 32-34-1 against the 49ers. When playing in Chicago, the Bears are 18-12-1. The last time they played was in 2018 when the Bears narrowly escaped a late-season trip to the bay. This Sunday’s game will mark the 68th matchup between the two teams.

Notable Head-to-Head History

These two teams have quite the history between them, despite not being division rivals:

  • On December 12, 1965, Gale Sayers tied an NFL record with six touchdowns in a Bears victory against San Francisco. On that historic afternoon, the Kansas Comet scored four rushing touchdowns, an 80-yard receiving touchdown, and an 85-yard punt return touchdown.
  • Throughout the 1980s, these two teams were common foes. It started in 1983 when the Bears defeated the 49ers 13-3.
  • The following year, Bill Walsh used an offensive guard as a blocking back in the 23-0 blowout. The 49ers taunted the Bears after the game, advising the Bears to “Bring an offense (next time)”.
  • In 1985, the Bears beat San Francisco. The victory was highlighted by the Fridge making his first appearance at running back. Later that evening, Mike Ditka was pulled over for drunk driving after celebrating a little too much on the plane ride home. Afterward, Ditka would say, “I dont have a right to drink and drive. That right, nobody has.”
  • Fast forward to 1987, when the Bears were humiliated 41-0 on Monday Night Football. After fans threw ice at Ditka while exiting the field, Ditka hurled his wad of gum into the crowd. The air-born wad of gum was taken by police as evidence of an assault after hitting a woman in the back of the head.
  • In 2001, Mike Brown and the Bears erased a 19-point deficit with a few miracle plays. In the overtime thriller, Terrell Owens set a single-game record for receptions.

“The 49ers said in the papers we ought to bring an offense the next time. That loss was a tremendous catalyst for our 1985 season.”

– Bears head coach Mike Ditka

Bears vs. 49ers Betting Lines

Bears vs. 49ers Betting Handicap
Bears vs. 49ers Handicapping and Spreads

In the above table, I have noted the spread and the projected spreads. Projections are according to my two models, PFF, and 538’s two models for Bears vs. Buccaneers. Why use two models from one source? Because I like to use multiple models to crosscheck each other. The more models that say something is a good bet, the more assurances you get. After all, that’s what all of us gamblers want, assurances.

Bears vs. 49ers Head Coaches Cover History

Bears vs. 49ers Cover History
Bears vs. 49ers Head Coaches Cover History since 2019 in similar handicaps.

“Good coaches win. Great coaches cover the spread.”

Since 2019, Matt Nagy has been a fewer than seven-point home dog 10 times, with a record ATS of 5-5. Additionally, Nagy is 4-6 on the money line (Bears to win straight up) in these situations, while he is 3-7 on the over.

Since 2019, Kyle Shanahan has been a fewer than seven-point road favorite four times, with a record ATS of 3-1. Additionally, he is 3-1 on the money line (49ers to win straight up) in these situations, while he is 2-1-1 on the over.

Bears vs. 49ers Team Stats

Bears vs. 49ers Stats
Bears vs. 49ers NFL ranks in offense and defense.

The 49ers offense ranks 21st in the NFL. Their ranking uses the average of DVOA, EPA per Play (10% win probability filter), and success rate. They have the 15th ranked rushing offense and the 20th ranked passing offense, on average.

The Bears defense ranks 10th in the NFL using the same metrics for the other side of the ball. Against the pass, they have an average rank of ninth. However, on the ground, their defense ranks 17th.

The Bears’ offense comes in at 25th using those same metrics. The Bears’ offense shows solid metrics for the ground game, ranking seventh across the three sources. However, their passing attack ranks 30th. Once again, I ask you, please save us Justin Fields.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ defense also ranks 10th in the NFL. San Francisco’s defense has been solid against the run, ranking 12th in the NFL. Similarly, their pass defense ranks 13th in the NFL on average.

49ers Scouting Report

Offensive Overview

Play-Caller: Kyle Shanahan

Personnel Groupings: RB-TE 

  • 1-1 [3WR]: 45%
  • 2-1 [2WR]: 32%
  • 1-2 [2WR]: 11%

Third Down Conversion Rate: 31.4% (30th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 85.7% (1st)

Explosive Play / Pass / Run Rate: 9% (25th) / 7% (26th) / 11% (16th)

Score %: 33.8% (23rd)

Turnover %: 15.4% (29th)

“The NFL is a crazy thing. One week, you’re on top. One week, you’re at the bottom of it. Every team has ups and downs. We’re at the lower point right now. But we can fight back.”

– 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The Shanahan West Coast Offense was originally made famous by Mike Shanahan. He won two Super Bowls in Denver with his offensive scheme. The younger Shanahan, Kyle, has evolved the offense into his own over the years. That being said, the scheme is still rooted in the same basic concepts.

This offense flows directly through its zone rushing attack. When that zone attack gets rolling, it leads into a lethal play-action and boot rollout passing attack. That passing attack can target all levels of the defense, but it’s predicated on the run game pulling in attention. Through the disguising of blocking techniques, this offense does a great job of creating confusion and conflict. For example, blocking on an outside zone run might look identical to that of a PA bootleg downfield pass.

The 49ers’ offense uses 11 personnel most often (45%), and they pass at a clip of 70% out of this grouping. Then, they use 21 personnel the second most often (32%). Out of 21 personnel, the 49ers run at about a 50/50 split. Because of the more even split, you expect to see them use more play-action out of 21, typically from under center.

Offensive Positional Breakdown

49ers offense
49ers offensive player NFL ranks

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For example, Deebo Samuel ranks 17th out of 102 qualifying WRs. Therefore, Samuel ranks in the 83rd percentile (MATH = 1 – (17/102)). Additionally, in the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Offensive Line stats represent the entire unit, rather than any individual player. I believe that it is just too subjective of a stat to place statistical blame on individuals without knowing their assignments.

Defensive Overview

DC: DeMeco Ryans

Base: 4-3

Blitz %: 22.5% (19th)

Third Down Conversion Rate: 34.7% (8th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 72.7% (27th)

Explosive Pass / Run Rate: 9% (18th) / 13% (26th)

Score %: 36.2% (15th)

Turnover %: 5.8% (30th)

“I want to be known as an attacking defensive line. Our D-Line is going to attack. Our linebackers and secondary, they’re going to play with base fundamentals. We’re going to play off our D-Line. We’re going to allow our D-Line to get off the ball and attack, we’re going to clean up things behind them, but we will be a more aggressive, attacking defense.”

– 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

DeMeco Ryans took the reins of the 49ers defense upon the exit of longtime defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to the Jets. Ryans jumped onto the coaching staff in 2017 as a quality control coach under Saleh. From 2018 through 2020, he served as the inside linebacker coach. Under Saleh, the 49ers’ defense ran base coverages of Cover 3 and Cover 4. However, their third-down tendencies leaned toward blitzing out of Cover 1 looks. Although, the 49ers were typically near the bottom of the league in blitz rate under Saleh.

Enter DeMeco Ryans, who has spent the last few years working under Saleh. Ryans set the expectation that the 49ers would be more aggressive with blitzes than they were under Saleh. Through seven games, that expectation has been met, as the 49ers rank 19th in blitz rate. A change implemented to the defensive scheme in 2021 is moving away from Cover 3 and into more Cover 1 single-high looks. Although, sticking to this plan has been difficult with multiple cornerback injuries, putting more pressure on man coverage-based looks. This is evidenced by the 49ers’ league-leading 11 defensive pass interference penalties, accounting for 250 yards (22.7 yards per penalty).

Defensive Positional Breakdown

49ers defense
49ers defensive player NFL ranks

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For example, Nick Bosa ranks third out of 81 qualifying EDGE players. Therefore, Bosa ranks in the 96th percentile (MATH = 1 – (3/81)). Additionally, in the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Bears Scouting Report

Offensive Overview

Play-Caller: Bill Lazor / Matt Nagy

Personnel Groupings: RB-TE 

  • 1-1 [3WR]: 65%
  • 1-2 [2WR]: 24%
  • 1-3 [1WR]: 5%

Third Down Conversion Rate: 33.3% (28th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 66.7% (11th)

Explosive Play / Pass / Run Rate: 9% (24th) / 6% (32nd) / 12% (10th)

Score %: 25.7% (30th)

Turnover %: 14.3% (25th)

“Times like this, times when you get beat, blown out, you’ve got two choices. You can either say, that’s it, I’m going to stop working, I’m going to stop playing, or you can go the other route and say I’m going to keep working. I know me, myself, no matter how many picks I throw, no matter how many L’s we take, I’m going to keep going. That’s just the fact.”

– Bears QB Justin Fields

The Bears’ offense reminds me of the Lovie Smith days right now. They come off the bus running. Since Montgomery went down, Chicago has relied heavily on outside zone runs and done well with them. Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert are good outside zone halfbacks. Both players run with good juice, efficient cutbacks, and hit their hole with determination. Additionally, the offensive line may be welcoming back some much-needed help this week.

They seem to like to line up deep shots off of the outside zone play action. But honestly, it is hard to tell what exactly the offensive scheme is of late. Fields is an excellent thrower. But at this point in his career, his processor is not great. This is okay for a rookie QB, but it’s dangerous for a rookie behind a porous offensive line. This is why he is not asked to execute in a straight dropback passing game often. Also, the Bears have often used extra blockers in the passing game when dialing up deep shots. They set this up by bringing in extra blockers for run plays early, then running play-action off a similar set later in the game.

Offensive Positional Breakdown

Bears offense
Bears offensive player NFL ranks

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For example, Darnell Mooney Ranks 57th out of 102 qualifying WRs. Therefore, Mooney ranks in the 44th percentile (MATH = 1 – (57/102)). Additionally, in the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Offensive Line stats represent the entire unit, rather than any individual player. I believe that it is just too subjective of a stat to place statistical blame on individuals without knowing their assignments.

Defensive Overview

DC: Sean Desai

Base: 3-4

Blitz %: 16% (29th)

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 40.7% (18th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 51.9% (8th)

Explosive Pass / Run Rate: 9% (17th) / 13% (24th)

Score %: 40.8% (22nd)

Turnover %: 11.3% (14th)

Sean Desai took over as defensive coordinator this season, and the returns for the first-year DC have been positive. Desai preaches three core values:

  1. Tackling
  2. Running to the football
  3. Taking the ball away

While tackling has remained an issue on the back end, the other two values have shown themselves in games. Every good defense excels in all three of these aspects, and bad ones struggle in at least one. The Bears still struggle in one of these areas (tackling), but there are reasons to be optimistic. There is one other notable emphasis for the defense under Desai.

“The biggest thing is knowing where the ball is. That’s the biggest thing. Having vision on the ball. If you can’t see the ball, you can’t take the ball away. Very simply, they need to know. They need to see the ball from wherever it is, the snap, to the quarterback-running back exchange, to the quarterback dropping back at the top of the pocket to releasing it and then we’ll have a chance.”

– Bears DC Sean Desai

Desai has schemed up defensive line stunts much more this year than the Bears have in the past. There is much more deception involved in the pass rush plan. He has also implemented more “simulated pressures” in order to get home. That, combined with a revived Robert Quinn, has led to the most sacks in the NFL (21). Although, that same pressure may not be there given recent news regarding Khalil Mack.

On the back end, the Bears primarily run coverages in variations of Cover 4 and Cover 6. Cover 4 is a combo scheme that employs both zone concepts and man concepts. This is a complex coverage to execute but is more adaptable to offensive sets and concepts. Moreover, Cover 6 combines aspects of the Cover 2 and the Cover 4 defenses. Basically, it splits the back end into quarter-quarter-half field assignments.

Defensive Positional Breakdown

Bears defense
Bears defensive player NFL ranks

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For example, Roquan Smith ranks first out of 95 qualifying linebackers. Therefore, Roquan Smith ranks in the 99th percentile (MATH = 1 – (1/95)). Additionally, in the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Bears vs. 49ers Injury Report

Although injury reports are yet to be released, there are multiple notable injuries each team is navigating.

The Bears are expected to be without the following players:

  • Khalil Mack (EDGE)
  • Deon Bush (S)
  • Jeremiah Attaochu (EDGE)
  • Germain Ifedi (OT)
  • Teven Jenkins (OT)
  • David Montgomery (RB)

Additionally, Tashaun Gipson (S) and Akiem Hicks (iDL) missed last week’s game with injuries.

On the opposite sideline, the 49ers are expected to be without the following players:

  • Kevin Givens (iDL)
  • Robbie Gould (PK)
  • Dre Greenlaw (LB)
  • Richie James (WR)
  • George Kittle (TE)
  • Justin Skule (OL)
  • Javon Kinlaw (iDL)
  • Jaquiski Tartt (S)

Additionally, Maurice Hurst (iDL), Trent Williams (OT), and Trey Lance (QB) missed last week’s game with injuries.

Bears vs. 49ers Summary

The Bears are playing the closest thing to themselves they are likely to find all season. Although, the primary difference here is in the head coach and play-caller. In fact, the Bears may be without their head coach for this game due to COVID protocols. Even though my head says that the coaching advantage here will mean a narrow San Francisco victory, my heart says otherwise. But the Bears are 9-1 at home on Halloween, all-time. The last time they played on Halloween? They beat the Vikings in 2016 at Soldier Field in a game they had no business winning, representing one of only three Bears wins that season.

Bears vs. 49ers Prediction

49ers: 17
Bears: 20

Best Bears Tweets of the Week



Follow On Tap Sports Net on social media!

Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Listen To Bears On Tap Podcast

BET WITH BETRIVERS ILLINOIS

Advertisement Beer and Bourbon Box 300x250

More in Bears