Here it comes 49ers fans, the moment you have all been waiting for. On Sunday in Chicago, Jimmy Garoppolo will get his first start as a Niner. While nothing comes easy for this team, it even comes in a game that could yield a Niners win. Coming off a loss to the Seahawks the young San Francisco team will head to Chicago to take on the 3-8 Bears. The Bears looked like a team that could potentially exceed expectation this season early on, but they have slipped up as of late. With Garoppolo getting his first start of the season and Reuben Foster coming off Defensive Rookie of the Month honors, the Niners young core has been in headlines and will be under a watchful eye on Sunday.
All eyes will be on Garoppolo when the Niner offense takes the field on Sunday, and deservedly so. If the 49ers want to leave Chicago with a win on Sunday they will have to find some type of passing attack against a Bears secondary that is allowing 7.2 yards per pass play. Carlos Hyde may also be able to find some openings in the running game, as the Bears allow four yards per carry.
Garoppolo will likely look to Marquise Goodwin as his main target with Pierre Garçon on season-ending IR. Goodwin has the speed to attempt to take the top off of the Bears secondary, always a threat to streak down the sideline. With tackle Trent Brown questionable for tomorrow’s game it possible that Garoppolo could be under pressure early and often. Given that information, look for Garoppolo to get comfortable checking the ball down to Hyde and George Kittle.
Hyde and the offensive line will need to make things easy for Garoppolo early on by setting up manageable third downs. He is not a rookie and he spent plenty of time learning under Tom Brady, but Garoppolo is still inexperienced and will need help settling in.
When facing the Bears offense, you want to make Mitch Trubisky beat you. That means containing Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, which is no easy task at times. Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster will be the young-guns tasked with trying to set the tone. Thomas can be an absolute force up front, closing up running lanes by throwing offensive linemen around like ragdolls. Those clogged lanes will likely force Howard and Cohen to abort hitting the holes, opening up tackling lanes for Foster and rest of the linebacking corps.
If the Bears can not get the run game going, the 49ers pass defense will be up against a subpar Bears passing attack. Subpar to say the least, the Bears leading receiver on the season is Kendall Wright. Wright has amassed just 345 receiving yards all season and is still sitting atop the chart for his team. Cohen is also a significant threat in the passing game but has cooled down as the season progresses.
While all is lost for the 49ers this season in terms of any contention, the team can still find out if they have found their guy in Garoppolo. Sunday is the first long look into Garoppolo’s game, and it happens to come in a very winnable matchup. It would go a long way for this young core to come out of Chicago with a win.
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I think this will be a hard-fought battle where points will be hard to come by. This game will go just as it should in Garoppolo’s first start, taking over down two with a few minutes on the clock. I believe ‘Jimmy G’ takes the Niners down the field for the game-winning field goal.
49ers – 17, Bears 16