The San Francisco 49ers are having an abysmal 2016 season thus far. After starting the season with a 28-0 blow out of the Los Angeles Rams they have lost ten straight. Week thirteen brings a chance for a second victory on the season versus the Chicago Bears. Chicago is an ailing team suffering through a serious hit from the injury bug. Most recently that bug saw quarterback Jay Cutler sent to season ending IR. Regardless, the Bears are a resilient team and have not quit on their coach or the season. Three keys to victory will help San Francisco add another tally to the win column. The first of which is having success running the ball.
San Francisco 49ers Week Thirteen Keys to Victory
Run the Football
Running the football will be easier said then done against the Bears. To this point in the season the Bears actually have the eighth best rushing defense in the league. Yet, last week versus the Tennessee Titans, Chicago gave up 149 rushing yards on 29 attempts. This means there are holes to be exploited in the Bears defense. Colin Kaepernick will be a big key to this. Last week, Marcus Mariota ran for 46 yards on only four rushing attempts. Kaepernick needs to get at least ten attempts in this game. The key will be to use trap plays and option runs to keep the bears defense guessing. Confusion will be the key to breaking off big runs. This will also be a crucial aspect in controlling the clock. The Bears are ranked 28th in the league in time of possession. San Francisco needs to slow down its own offensive attack to take advantage of this statistic.
Pressure an Inexperienced Quarterback
Matt Barkley has had plenty of time to sit, watch, and learn the game since being drafted in 2013. But, the fact is Barkley has little actually in game experience. Though Barkley did play well last week and threw his first three career touchdowns, he also had two interceptions. In fact, Barkley has thrown eight career interceptions in his limited playing time. The key will be to disguise coverage’s and try to trick the young quarterback into a pick. Dropping a defensive lineman into the flat after showing blitz may coax Barkley into a mistake. The 49ers defensive secondary must also do its job and stick to the Bears receivers. This will give time to the 49ers defensive line to get home and pressure Barkley. San Francisco needs to come out of this game with at least three sacks if they hope to win.
Step Up Against the Run
San Francisco ranks a disappointing dead last in the league against the run this season. Season ending injuries have been a major contributing factor to this. Big play makers such as Navorro Bowman and Arik Armstead have both ended up on injured reserve. 49ers opponents this season have averaged 5.2 yards per rush. This cannot happen on Sunday if San Francisco wants to stay in this game. Linebackers Nick Bellore and Gerald Hodges haven’t been able to fill the big shoes left by injury. Expect Chicago to exploit this weakness and pound the ball right up the middle. The interior defensive line and entire 49ers secondary need to play smart and disciplined. Fill the gaps, wrap up, and gets sound tackles. Otherwise, arm tackles and poor angles will lead to big plays for Chicago.