San Francisco 49ers

The road to Super Bowl LIV filled with plenty of intrigue for Bears fans


The road to Super Bowl LIV filled with plenty of intrigue for Bears fans

Super Bowl LIV is going to have plenty of intrigue for Bears fans. There are many connections in terms of the players in the game and each team's journey to Super Bowl LIV contained plenty of points of interest for the Chicago fan base along the way. With the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers set to faceoff on February 2, 2020, let's take a look at the most important connections for Bears fans to monitor and think back on as they prepare for the big game. 

Aaron Rodgers' big dud:

Aaron Rodgers, who has otherwise had a great season (4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns), laid an absolute dud in the first half against the 49ers, resulting in the Packers entering the half down 27-0. In Rodgers' first-half performance he threw for under 70 yards, had one interception, and two fumbles, losing one of them. 

There is no shame in playing poorly against the San Francisco defense, which is No. 1 in the league in postseason total defense (yards per game) but that being said, Rodgers and the Packers were thoroughly dominated. Rodgers pick was to Emmanuel Moseley on what appeared to be a miscommunication and his fumble was a result of a bad handoff exchange between him and center Corey Linsley. 

Rodgers capped off the game with his final turnover, an interception to Richard Sherman, as the Packers fell 37-20 to the 49ers.

Welcome to "The Show" Raheem Mostert (Remember him?)

For the most diligent of Bears fans, the name Raheem Mostert may ring a bell. For those who are drawing a blank when it comes to the connection between the explosive Mostert and the Bears, you need to go back to 2016, when Mostert was a running back on the Bears practice squad. The Bears signed Mostert in Septemeber 2016 and he actually was elevated to the Bears active roster at some point that season. Mostert appeared in two games for the Bears in 2016, not seeing much action in either contest. The Bears released the running back out of Purdue on November 24, 2016. He landed on the 49ers practice squad in 2016 and was used sparingly over the years before his big break in the 2019 season. 

Mostert lit up the Packers' defense to the tune of 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 36, 9, 18, and 22 yards.

The San Francisco rushing attack is extremely potent. evidenced by the fact that they had three different players rush for over 500 yards in the 2019 regular season. Mostert led the way with eight rushing touchdowns in the regular season but Matt Breida (6) wasn't too far behind. When the Bears had Mostert, he likely wasn't running the way he is now. But the 49ers are tops in the league in postseason rushing yards per game and Mostert's play is obviously a big reason, leaving Bears fans to wonder what could have been. 

The local kid vs the 2018 NFL MVP 

He didn't have to do much on Sunday but local product Jimmy Garoppolo will be making his Super Bowl debut after going

Graoppolo, who grew up in Arlington Heights, went to Rolling Meadows High School, where he performed well enough to end up at Eastern Illinois. In his three years with the Panthers, Garoppolo broke the pass completions record that was held by former Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo on his way to becoming a New England Patriot and one of the hottest trade chips in the NFL. The Pats eventually traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in a move that many fans are still wishing the Bears would've or could've made. 

The 49ers' handpicked franchise QB had a solid 2019 regular season, throwing for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Similar to Mitchell Trubisky in 2018, "Jimmy G" is backed by a great defense that allows him to operate as stress-free as possible. While Bears fans are surely intrigued about the idea of Garoppolo as a Bear, it is no doubt Patrick Mahomes who induces the longest sighs. 

Mahomes, who the Bears and a bunch of other NFL teams now infamously passed up on in the 2017 draft, is already a league MVP who is now getting ready to play in his first Super Bowl all before the age of 25. Mahomes lit up a very physical Tennesse Titans defense, throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 53 yards and another touchdown. For a team that has had no trouble scoring as is, Mahomes' recent surge in rushing yards adds another dimension to an already potent attack.

Garoppolo-Trubisky comparisons could be interesting depending on how the rest of the season shakes out. But it was already unfair to compare Trubisky's solid career to what has been a meteoric rise for Mahomes in KC, and will be an even tougher comparison should Mahomes rack up some additional hardware in February. 

The Bears REALLY made an impact in this one 

We mentioned that running back Mostert was a former Chicago Bear, but with Chicago-favorite Robbie Gould still acting as the kicker for the 49ers, former Bears scored all 37 of the 49ers points on Sunday.

We told you the Bears had a strong presence in this one! Super Bowl LIV will kick off on February 2, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Here's a young Jimmy Garoppolo comparing himself to Aaron Rodgers in a pre-draft interview

Here's a young Jimmy Garoppolo comparing himself to Aaron Rodgers in a pre-draft interview

The Bears, you'll remember, aren't playing in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. It's the Packers and the 49ers, which actually works out nicely for Bears fans. Not only can they root for Arlington Heights' own Jimmy Garappolo, but they can actively root against the Packers at the same time.

In the biggest game of his career, Jimmy G's going to get his shot at Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, which will almost certainly make you laugh when you watch this video of him praising Rodgers (which is kind of a bold choice on a Chicago-based TV show?) in a pre-draft video from 2014:

I like to think that I’m pretty close in comparison to Aaron Rodgers. He’s very athletic, just a get-the-ball-out-quickly type of quarterback. He’s very knowledgeable of the game, he controls the offense, totally. You know, it’s something that I try and do ⁠— you know, just know the offense inside and out, and when you can do that as a quarterback it just makes your team that much better. 

They say never meet your idols, though I'm not sure what they say about playing them for a spot in the Super Bowl. 

Robbie Gould doinks a field goal in 49ers' season opener

Robbie Gould doinks a field goal in 49ers' season opener

The Bears were haunted all offseason by Cody Parkey's double-doink that ended their playoff aspirations in the Wild Card round against the Eagles.

To be fair, a lot of that inability to put Parkey's tipped kick past them was because they countinued to bring it up and dwell on it.

But the offseason was dedicated to finding Parkey's replacement, which included a reality TV style competition and some flirtation with former kicker Robbie Gould who was franchised tagged by the 49ers but tried to force his way out.

In the Bay Area, Gould re-signed with the 49ers and in Chicago, Eddy Pineiro won the competition.

And on Thursday night, Pineiro scored the only points for the Bears while Gould doinked a field goal attempt. A single doink, that is.

To be fair to Gould, it was a 57-yard field goal so he was going for some extreme distance. The Bears wouldn't even let Pineiro try a 51-yard field goal on Thursday night, instead opting to go for it on 4th-and-10. The Bears didn't convert.

This missed kick by Gould doesn't validate the Bears not bringing him back, just like Pineiro's single field goal doesn't validate the Bears' intense kicker search.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.