Video: Five things to watch for in 49ers-Bears game
Opponent: at Chicago
Time: 10 a.m.
Line: Bears by 7
Records: 49ers 3-8, Bears 5-6
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston), 680, 1320
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Go, go Gabbert: The Blaine Gabbert experiment continues to go well, albeit not perfectly. The 49ers were 0-9 on third downs in their loss to the Cardinals last week and the quarterback has to be more ambitious in third-and-long scenarios. Another hurdle: He has not won an outdoor start on the road. His only two road wins as the Jaguars starter came against the Colts, who play indoors.
Running on empty: Running back Shaun Draughn has done an excellent job of learning every phase of the 49ers offense, so much so that he was on the field for every offensive snap in the team’s loss to the Cardinals. Still, the 49ers have not scored a rushing touchdown since Week 5, the game in which Carlos Hyde broke his foot. The running attack needs more pop, especially inside the red zone.
Polishing the nickel: Good news for 49ers nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward: Brandon Marshall is no longer with the Bears. The big receiver, who last year beat Ward for three touchdowns in Chicago’s win over the 49ers, signed with the Jets in the offseason. Eddie Royal took over Marshall’s role in Chicago, but he’s unlikely to play because of injury. Instead, the main slot receiver likely will be Marc Mariani, who had three big third-down catches in his team’s recent win over Green Bay.
Big play Brooks: The 49ers’ Ahmad Brooks likely will be back in action after missing the last game because of concussion symptoms. The outside linebacker is second on the squad with four sacks, but it’s a down year for him as far as the pass rush and for the 49ers overall. Their 19 sacks through 11 games is tied for 27th in the league.
More happy returns: The 49ers’ Bruce Ellington has flubbed returns in each of the past two games, and the Cardinals converted his first-quarter turnover into three points. He can’t afford any more errors in a lakefront stadium that will have at least some wind. If the mistakes continue, it could mean a return by Aussie Jarryd Hayne, who was banished to the practice squad after three muffs early in the season.
Out: TE Garrett Celek (ankle), RB Carlos Hyde (foot)
Probable: DT Arik Armstead (shoulder), TE Blake Bell (finger), WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring), G Alex Boone (triceps), LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder, finger), LB Ahmad Brooks (toe), DT Quinton Dial (shoulder), WR Bruce Ellington (wrist), DT Tony Jerod-Eddie (hip), CB Dontae Johnson (hamstring), T Erik Pears (knee), CB Keith Reaser (ankle), WR Torrey Smith (back), S Jaquiski Tartt (knee), LB Michael Wilhoite (ankle)
Out: WR Marquess Wilson (foot)
Questionable: DT Bruce Gaston (illness), TE Zach Miller (ribs), S Antrel Rolle (knee), WR Eddie Royal (knee)
Probable: TE Martellus Bennett (ribs), RB Ka’Deem Carey (concussion), QB Jay Cutler (illness), T Kyle Long (neck), LB Pernell McPhee (knee)
vs. Green Bay
at N.Y. Giants
at St. Louis
vs. St. Louis