Causes for concern as Bears face the 49ers in Week 8

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The Chicago Bears will host the San Francisco 49ers on Halloween, where both teams are looking to break losing streaks that have halted their seasons. These teams are in similar situations, and this should be a hard-fought, close game that will be decided by who makes the fewest mistakes.

While Chicago has won the games they should win this season — and this is a winnable game — there are some concerns heading into this matchup both on offense and defense.

As the Bears prepare for the 49ers, there is plenty to be concerned about heading into Sunday’s game.

Status of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

The strength of this Bears defense has been its top-ranked pass rush, which is tied for the most sacks in the NFL through seven weeks. But one of the biggest concerns this weekend is the status of the two of the league’s top pass rushers in Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, both of whom might not suit up Sunday against the 49ers.

Mack has been nursing a foot injury since Week 3, and there have been reports that he won’t play Sunday — with the possibility of longer. Quinn, meanwhile, remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, although there’s still a little time for him to be removed from it.

If Chicago doesn’t have its top pass rushers on the edge, it’ll be second-year pro Trevis Gipson and undrafted rookie Sam Kamara getting the starts on the edge with Jeremiah Attaochu out for the year with a torn pec. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Bears passing game

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears have one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL this season, but that hasn’t translated to success for the offense as a whole. Chicago ranks among the worst offenses in the league through seven weeks, which has a lot to do with their struggling passing game.

The Bears rank dead last in passing yards, yards per attempt and sack rate, as well as second to last in interception rate. Chicago’s 871 net passing yards are the fewest for a team after seven games since the Oakland Raiders in 2006, according to Brad Biggs.

Look for Chicago to establish the run in an attempt to set up the pass, where there are opportunities to make plays. But executing is going to be key for an offense that yet to eclipse 200 net passing yards in a game this season.

49ers pass rush

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

It’s going to be weakness versus strength as the Bears offensive line faces off against the 49ers pass rush on Sunday. While the sack numbers haven’t been there for San Francisco — they have just 12, which is tied for 26th best in the NFL — they do a good job of pressuring the quarterback. And if there’s one thing we’ve seen this season with Justin Fields, there’s pressure to be had and mistakes to be made.

The Bears offense is going to have to contend with that dominant pass rush, including facing Nick Bosa, where utilizing play action is a good way to try and combat that pass rush to a degree. Chicago will look to establish the run from the start, so they should be convincing in play action.

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