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How Bears Stop a Jimmy G Homecoming Parade

The 49ers quarterback has struggled most of the year but taking advantage of the presence of explosive Deebo Samuel would be one way he can have a good Chicago homecoming.

Matt Nagy realizes the Bears haven't exactly torn up the NFC this year.

Of their three wins in seven games, only one came against an NFC opponent. And the Detroit Lions haven't beaten anyone, so it's not impressive.

Returning home to face hometown hero Jimmy Garoppolo and a 49ers team even more desperate for a win after four straight losses is not a positive scenario for the Nagy to get the kind of turnaround he's seeking.

"We've gotta play a team right now in San Fran that is going to come with everything that they've got," Nagy said. "We've gotta come and bring our best at home, and we've gotta get back on track.

'When we get back on track and can get that one win, and then go ahead and take it to the next one, that momentum is great. And what I'd love to see is, I'd love to see a nice win streak.

Before they can worry about a winning streak, they have to end their first losing streak.

Some of the 49ers' strengths are wasted in matchups against some of the more effective Bears, such as Nick Bosa pass rushing against Jason Peters, who is the NFL's eighth-ranked tackle according to Pro Football Focus.

There are a few matchups where San Francisco would own a decided advantage.

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Bears CB Jaylon Johnson vs. 49ers WR Deebo Samuel

The movement continues for Johnson, who has been fixed on the opponent's best receiver in several games with mixed results. Deebo Samuel isn't the well-established superstar receiver Johnson has covered recently like Davante Adams but is explosive enough. Without Samuel, the 49ers offense would be in big trouble as the loss of Eric Kittle has weighed heavily on the attack. Samuel at 6-foot, 215 pound physically isn't someone who will outmuscle Johnson but the combination of his size, reach and speed is explosive and the Niners use him everywhere, outside on either side and in the slot, even the backfield. Samuel's current total of four TD catches is a career high and his 17.1 yards per catch is easily his career best. He has 38 receptions for 648 yards and in four of the six games has had at least 93 receiving yards. Johnson's Pro Football Focus grade has dropped sharply since the Bears started moving him all over the field but his stat line hasn't been bad at all. According to Sportradar, he's only giving up 48.7% completions when targeted, a drop from his rookie year (56.4%). His passer rating against of 85.2 is better than last year, as well. His passes defensed has dropped off and he hasn't had one in the last three games.

Bears OLB Trevis Gipson vs. 49ers RT Mike McGlinchey

With Khalil Mack healthy the best the Bears could hope for against McGlinchey is a stalemate but the reports of Mack needing to rest his foot will mean the second-year edge rusher from Tulsa has to rush against one of the league's best. It looks a mismatch. McGlinchey, the former Notre Dame standout, is a guard converted to tackle because of his abilities. Gipson's biggest strength has been his pass rush but he hasn't been stout against the run and McGlinchey is at his best blocking the run. The 49er's play-action passing comes off of that run. Gipson showed some progress early in the year with a few sacks but offensive lines adjusted.

Bears RT Larry Borom vs. 49ers LDE Arik Armstead

If the Bears had one of their top two right tackles available this is a matchup where they could expect to win or have a standoff. Armstead was praised and talked about like an established star when the 49ers went to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season, but he has never had a season even approaching that one. He had 10 sacks that year and has never had more than 3 1/2 in any other season. He has a sack and two quarterback hits this year and averages 2.3 tackles a game, by far his worst average since becoming a starter in 2018. Armstead is 6-foot-7, 290 and the powerful rookie, Borom, would be a strong challenge for him to handle in the running game. It's uncertain whether Borom will start at this point, though it would make sense because last week Lachavious Simmons struggled and was pulled from the lineup when he tried to replace injured Germain Ifedi and backup Elijah Wilkinson, who is on the COVID list. Borom's experience is a few plays against the Rams and that's it. The Bears might be better off starting Alex Bars at right tackle, though he's not really a tackle. Armstead would have a physical edge in that one as he's quicker and long-armed much like Bars is, but Bars wouldn't have the big weight and mass edge Borom does. One real problem the Bears could have with the 6-7 Armstead is tipped passes. Justin Fields tends to get passes tipped thrown in the vicinity of the edge rusher. He had one tipped for an interception in this manner against Detroit.

Bears TE Cole Kmet vs. 49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair

The 49ers strong side linebacker is giving up more completions this year than last year but is allowing only 5.8 yards per reception and utilizes his speed well. Kmet has 19 receptions but still is not getting the downfield receptions the Bears need, although his 9.1 yards per catch is better than last year (8.7). Al-Shaair's strength is pass coverage, as he is rated No. 21 out of 86 linebackers graded by PFF against the pass. And Kmet's improved blocking might give the Bears a chance to use his weight and strength edge on a smaller player. Al-Shaair is a 228-pound strong-side linebacker. Al-Shaair has used a quickness edge well against opponents, though.

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