Bears vs. 49ers Preview
Those postseason aspirations aren't looking as realistic anymore.
In Mike Singletary's first game as head coach against his former team, the 49ers look to avoid losing a fifth straight game Thursday night against the Bears, who are coming off another embarrassing performance on defense.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the 49ers -3 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Thursday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on the 49ers -3 (View NFL bet percentages).
With a 35-0 victory over St. Louis on Oct. 4, San Francisco (3-5) improved to 3-1 and sat alone atop the NFC West. Singletary's team was clicking on both offense and defense, but it hasn't won since.
The 49ers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2002, lost 34-27 on Sunday against Tennessee, which got its first road win and second overall. Alex Smith threw two interceptions in the final 6:24 and three total, fumbled twice and was sacked four times.
Overall, the 49ers committed four turnovers - leading to 24 points for the Titans - and have turned the ball over 11 times during their four-game skid. They had just two turnovers in their first four games.
"It's definitely frustrating to be at this point, but we do have eight games left,'' Singletary said. "We have to make sure we go out and play a complete football game without killing ourselves in the process."
Singletary was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 1981 draft and played 12 seasons at middle linebacker, spearheading one of the best defenses in NFL history while winning a Super Bowl following the 1985 season.
The Hall of Famer insists there are no added emotions for this game just because he's facing his former organization. Singletary, who took over for the fired Mike Nolan in October 2008, was the 49ers' assistant head coach/defense the last time these teams met Oct. 29, 2006, a 41-10 Bears victory.
Chicago's current defense looks nothing like the unit Singletary once anchored.
The Bears were carved up for 438 yards in Sunday's 41-21 loss to Arizona, 10 yards fewer than they yielded in a 45-10 defeat at Cincinnati on Oct. 25.
Chicago allowed Kurt Warner to tie a career high by throwing five touchdowns and the Cardinals rushed for a season-best 182 yards.
With three losses in four games, the Bears, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2006, are hardly playing like a team that opened the year with a 3-1 record following a 48-24 win over Detroit in Week 4.
"Don't have a lot of reasons to give you why we played that way," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said after Sunday's defeat. "I know we're a better football team than that. But of course, our play didn't say that."
The Bears, who lost star linebacker Brian Urlacher to a season-ending wrist injury in their opener, were also without Tommie Harris for virtually all of Sunday's game. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle slugged Cardinals' guard Deuce Lutui in the head as they were on the ground, resulting in Harris' ejection 1:05 into the first quarter.
Harris, who apologized Monday for his actions, could be suspended by the league.
Regardless of Harris' status for this game, the suddenly vulnerable Chicago defense, which has given up 514 rushing yards in its last three games, will likely have some trouble trying to stop Frank Gore.
The 49ers' star running back has rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 28 attempts for a 6.2-yard average in two games this month. He ran for 111 yards on 12 carries at Soldier Field in 2006.
With Gore leading the ground game, San Francisco needs Smith to clean up some of the mistakes that plagued him against Tennessee.
Smith, who took over the starting job at halftime against Houston on Oct. 25 when Singletary benched Shaun Hill, looked like a poised NFL veteran at times Sunday and way off at others.
Chicago's Jay Cutler threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns - all to tight end Greg Olsen - but was intercepted once and sacked four times Sunday.
Playing behind a shoddy offensive line while trying to find inexperienced wide receivers that struggle to get open, Cutler has already been sacked 19 times - eight more than all of last season with Denver.
"We're 4-4, so we're even with eight to play," said Cutler, who has 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on the season. "It's not where we want to be, but it could be worse. We got to pull it together. We got some tough games coming up and some games that we got to win immediately, starting Thursday."
Posted: 11/11/09 9:28AM ET