49ers Clubhouse 

About The Bears

October 27, 2001

by James Parrott
Clubhouse Staff Writer

The last time the Chicago Bears finished with a winning record was in 1995. Coached by third year head coach Dave Wannstedt, for the second year running the Bears posted a 9-7 record. Unlike the previous year though, it was not enough to get the Bears into the post season. Their elimination on the final day of the regular season came as a result of San Francisco losing to Atlanta. Their last post season game was a 44-15 defeat in San Francisco. And the Bears are the opponent Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers with both teams standing at 4-1 having each had a legitimate shot at being undefeated.

Since that 1995 season the bears have posted an overall 26-54 mark, with a single season best of seven wins in 1996. Wannstedt was fired after the 1998 season following a second consecutive 4-12 mark. He also made the decision to pass on Randy Moss in order to draft Curtis Enis with his first round pick in the 98 draft.

Current coach Dick Jauron was appointed as Wannstedt's successor, and along with then Vice President of Player Personnel Mark Hatley set about bringing success to the Bears.

The '99 draft brought current starters in receiver Marty Booker and guard Rex Tucker (round 3) and linebackers Warrick Holdman and Rosevelt Colvin (both round 4), as well as two other players still on roster. Free Agency that year netted starting left tackle Blake Brockermeyer.

The following years draft landed the Bears three All Rookie team selections; Dominant middle linebacker Brian Urlacher in round 1; Impressive safety Mike Brown in round 2, and; Placekicker Paul Edinger who's 54 yarder knocked Detroit from the playoff picture on the last kick of the regular season. Urlacher and Brown were 1st and 2nd leading tacklers on the defence as rookies. The Bears also selected Dez White,WR and Dustin Lyman,TE (R3); Reggie Austin,CB (R4); and Michael Green,CB (R7) all on the current roster. Free Agency resulted in the signing of starting DE Philip Daniels from Seattle and former San Francisco cornerback R.W.McQuarters arrived in exchange for a sixth round draft pick.

This years draft resulted in the club selecting Michigan's David Terrell (WR) and Anthony Thomas (RB) in the first two rounds. G Mike Gandy (R3), DE Karon Riley (R4), and C Bernard Robertson (R5) were also drafted and are all on roster. Free agency resulted in starting defensive tackles Ted Washington and Keith Traylor and starting fullback Daimon Shelton.

During that time there were the acquisition of busts in free agency (Buffalo cornerback Thomas Smith) and the big one, first round quarterback Cade McNown (now in Miami). These resulted in the departure of Hatley, and though he has received some criticism, he did a solid job overall in building a team that has won four out of five games thus far in 2001.

Current GM Jerry Angelo -ex of Tampa bay- looks set to continue the good work. He has stated his intention to tie up the teams top young talent to long term deals. 

This means that center Olin Kreutz, safety Tony Parrish, and others should be around or years to come. 

This year with Jim Miller now entrenched at quarterback the Bears look to have balance to their offence. Even without top receiver Marcus Robinson, gone for the year, they have weapons in the passing game. Wideout Marty Booker (30 catches) will probably be Miller's number one target now.

Rookie runner Thomas has carried 47 times for 312 yards, averaging 6.6 yards a pop. Thomas probably slipped to the second round on account of Michigan's strong offensive line, but his performances in back-to-back victories in Atlanta and Cincinnati have proven that he is a top player in his own right.

It's also worth remembering that Chicago's offensive line has allowed just three sacks in five games, whilst the Niners have just eight in their five games.

Defensively this is a very strong team. 

Chris Chandler was knocked out of the game and intercepted twice in week four, with his replacement Michael Vick getting sacked six times and fumbling twice with one returned for a score.

Last week Corey Dillon was held to 30 yards on 16 carries.

Up front a big defensive line and active linebacker unit dictates the play, registering 11 of the clubs 13 sacks, allowing just 76.6 yards per game rushing and allowing the unit to come away with four interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and two touchdowns. 

Opponents average 8.6 points per game against Chicago.

If this defence has a weakness it is through the air where it is surrendering over 240 yards per game. Starting corners McQuarters and Walt Harris stand just 5-9 and 5-11 respectively giving up at least three inches to each of San Francisco's top three receivers.

It should be a fascinating game as two of the NFL's biggest names meet as they attempt to reach the top of the NFL again. It should be close, too.

Here are the numbers:
San Francisco Chicago
Total Offense 378.0 (3) 292.2 (20)
Total Defense 322.4 (18) 304.4 (12)
Scoring Offense 24.4 (6) 19.6 (16)
Scoring Defense 158.2 (18) 8.6 (1)
Rushing Offense 158.2 (2) 104.4 (20)
Passing Offense 228.2 (13) 190.6 (24)

(stats from ESPN.com)

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