Considering how well the San Francisco 49ers played on their opening game, facing them doesn’t come in the best of timings for the Chicago Bears, who had plenty of things going bad for them as they lost their season opener.
That’s not the only reason this game doesn’t come at a good time for the Bears. There’s one Colin Kaepernick on the other end, maybe the best running quarterback in the league, who thrives in zone reads and other such formations that allow him to take off. The Bears allowed Buffalo to run for 193 yards in week 1, 141 of those rushes coming through zone reads. Kaepernick leads the NFL with six rushing touchdowns on zone read plays since 2012.
The 49ers had their way with the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington without having to do anything special on offense. Tony Romo was intercepted on three consecutive possessions, making things very easy for Kaepernick and his offense against a defense that isn’t exactly built to slow down high powered offenses and certainly not hold down the fort while the offense is misfiring. The 49ers did ease off in the second half, which turned into a decently looking game instead of a crushing defeat.
Even without zone reads, the 49ers are scary on the ground. Frank Gore might be slightly slowing down, but he isn’t alone in this attack. Carlos Hyde had an excellent game and he seems like the perfect complementary addition to someone who just got past the 10,000 rushing yards in a career mark. The Bears have a very good running back of their own in Matt Forte, but possibly didn’t use him enough in the overtime loss to the Bills.
Jay Cutler threw a crucial interception in that game, but Marc Trestman is trying not to make too much of it. Cutler struggled, as anyone would, with his two best wide receivers struggling or out from a certain point with injuries. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall will be playing, but they missed practice during the week, which means they’re starting the game a bit more than slightly banged up.
The 49ers still have big pieces missing on defense, and it’s not quite clear if Ray McDonald will be playing or not, with increasing pressure on the 49ers to leave him out. Still, this is another risk-taking offense they’re facing with a quarterback who has a tendency to make big mistakes at ill-opportune moments. The ground is set for them to have another easy game, although entering with that kind of mindset is always a dangerous thing to do.