Golden out of the gate
Through their first 11 games, the 49ers have no touchdowns and have scored just 12 points in the first quarter this season. While the Bears have certainly been resilient, they've needed to be because they've scored first just three times all season. While they've won five of the last eight games, they've allowed first quarter touchdowns in each. Their home opponents each of the next two weeks are the league's only winless road teams. The Bears shouldn't give this Niners team (being outscored by an average of 35-14 away from home) any sign they can stick around, while improving their own 1-4 mark on the lakefront.
Swarm Shaun Draughn (say that fast five times...)
347 yards. That's how much combined rushing damage the Broncos and the Packers have inflicted the past two games. But these Niners' top three running backs to start the season (Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush and Mike Davis) are all injured. Enter Shaun Draughn, whose two-game Bears career ended after a special teams snafu last season in San Francisco. The Niners are his sixth team in his four-year career after being signed a month ago, and he's averaged just 3.4 yards a carry in his three games. Vic Fangio's latest fix-it project has to be completed this week and next versus Washington, because after that, they face the league's top two rushers who've already eclipsed 1,000 yards, Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
Dink, Dunk & Run
Stud receivers have burned this Niners defense all season, but with Marquess Wilson out and with (presumably) Eddie Royal and Kevin White joining him on the sidelines, you'd think Alshon Jeffery will be afforded extra attention. As Tony Soprano's "ManGenius" (Eric Mangini) dials up his blitzes, establishing the ground and short passing games might be the best way to possess and march. I have trouble thinking it won't be a good day for Martellus Bennett in his return from his rib injury, with targets aplenty.
**Be sure to join Dan Jiggetts, Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Chris the hour before kickoff on "Bears Pregame Live, brought to you by Meijer" at 11 a.m. Sunday on Comcast SportsNet. When the second quarter ends, log on here at CSNChicago.com for "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and discuss second half adjustments. And as soon as it goes final on Fox, flip back to CSN as the three ex-Bears and Chris bring you 90 minutes of analysis, reaction, live press conferences and locker room interviews on "Bears Postgame Live, presented by Nissan."**