10 Bears question marks as they prep for 49ers
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Despite being winless on the road, the 49ers won’t change their routine — or their food.
“We don’t want any of those deep dish pizzas, I’ll tell you that,” 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said. “Go eating all that, and then we won’t be able to move.”
While we wonder if thin-crust is acceptable, here are 10 Bears question marks as they prepare for the 49ers on Sunday:
1. Are the Bears actually favored?
For the first time this season, making the 49ers are the only team in the NFL to not be. The Bears were close two weeks ago, but the line swung to the Broncos.
They haven’t been favored by at least a touchdown in over two years; per PredictionMachine.com, Jay Cutler is 9-1 in those situations in his career.
2. Could the 49ers’ offensive coordinator snap for the Bears?
Maybe. On the week the Bears brought in a new long snapper, we’re reminded how Geep Chryst, as a Bears director of research/quality control from 1991-95, once stepped away from the team for two weeks in 1992 to snap during playoff games for the World League’s Orlando Thunder. He hadn’t snapped in eight years.
The 49ers’ offensive coordinator grew up watching — and helping — the Bears at Wisconsin-Platteville, where his dad coached.
3. Blaine Gabbert’s no longer a punch line?
The former first-round pick has a streak of two-straight quarterback ratings above 90 for the first time.
“He got dealt an awful hand in Jacksonville when he was thrown into the fire,” said Bears defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, a college teammate at Missouri.
4. So Jordan Lynch is a champion quarterback?
The former NIU star and preseason Bears player scored the game-winning touchdown in the Grey Cup, the CFL’s Super Bowl, on Sunday. The third-string quarterback is the signal-caller in the Edmonton Eskimos’ short-yardage package, and scored on third-and-goal from the 1.
5. Speaking of NIU, remember Jimmie Ward?
He’s impressed as the 49ers nickel cornerback since being drafted in the first round last year.
“I absolutely love that guy,” Tomsula said. “I love the way he comes to work every day, I love the smile on his face.”
6. Will Jay Cutler recognize the 49ers defense?
“You look at the roster from last year and the roster this year, there is quite a bit of change,” the Bears quarterback said.
Only three players to start Sunday also did so when the Bears played at San Francisco in Week 2 last year — nose tackle Ian Williams, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite.
7. How’s Deonte Thompson so comfortable?
The kick returner has known outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and running back Antone Smith since they were in high school. Thompson went to Glade Central High School in Belle Glade, Fla., 10 miles from McPhee and Smith’s alma mater, Pahokee High School.
“It’s crazy, man,” said Thompson, whose 37-yard return set up the Bears’ second touchdown last week.
8. Does Adam Gase still think about being a finalist for the 49ers head coaching job?
Probably, but the Bears’ offensive coordinator didn’t want to say so.
“I’m excited that I was able to come here,” said Gase, who, like the Bears’ two other coordinators, once worked for the 49ers. “This is where I wanted to be. I feel like this is where I was meant to be.”
9. How did the Packers’ Hail Mary affect the Bears’ playoff chances?
Not by much, according to NumberFire.com. The Bears have a 5.5 percent chance to make earn an NFC Wild Card because the Packers won; it was 6.18 percent had they lost.
10. Remember the “Even Steven” Seinfeld episode?
One week after taking a two-game lead in the 192-game series against the Packers, the Bears will try to pull within one game of the 49ers in 63 matchups.
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