Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/17/12

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
This Monday night showdown has all the makings of a classic old school defensive battle.  Both teams lost their starting quarterbacks to concussions this past Sunday and Jay Cutler has been ruled out for the game.  It will be tough for any quarterback, let alone a backup, to move the ball on Monday night as both teams boast top tier defenses. 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was cleared to return to practice on Thursday.  He was a limited participant during practice, but is expected to be able to play Monday night.  The news is not as promising for the Chicago Bears as Jay Cutler was not cleared to practice and is not going to start Monday night.  Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has stressed the importance for any player to get reps in practice before returning from an injury. “As a general rule, we would like for guys to [practice] at least by Friday; get some type of practice work in. But for some of our guys that have been around a while, if we get to game day and they haven’t practiced and they feel like they can go, they’ll play,” Smith said. Since Cutler is unable to go on Monday the Bears will turn to veteran Jason Campbell to start under center.  Campbell has had plenty of NFL experience, but he needs time to get on the same page as the Chicago Bears receivers.  He will benefit greatly this week from taking all of the reps with the first team offense.  First team reps will allow Campbell and the receivers to get a better feel for each other, which was noticeably lacking against Houston.  He will need all the reps he can get though because the 49ers defense ranks 5th in the NFL in opponents pass yards per game. There is more to this game than the availability of the starting quarterbacks though. The Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will make his return from a hand injury Monday night in San Francisco.  Chicago has sorely missed Jeffery and his ability to use his size to beat man coverage and take attention away from Brandon Marshall.  Jeffery’s return could be the boost that the Bears need in order to overcome the loss of Cutler. The key for the San Francisco offense will be pounding Frank Gore early and often.  They might not be successful running the ball right away against the formidable defensive front of the Chicago Bears, but they will need to stay committed to the ground game if they hope to move the ball consistently.  A big back like Gore will wear out a defense as the game goes on and his running lanes will start to get bigger. Anyone who likes to see offenses light up scoreboards might be disappointed with this match-up, but that does not mean the game won’t be entertaining.  These are two of the top teams in the NFL and the field will be littered with superstars on both sides of the ball.  Since the Bears will be without Cutler they will struggle mightily to put up points and if Alex Smith is able to go for San Francisco then the 49ers should be able to get a win on their home field.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Brady case judge once vacated CBA violation ruling

Why no. 4 Baylor will and won't win the National Championship

Is D'Angelo Russell in over his head?

Percy Harvin voices support for Tyrod Taylor

Richardson pleads not guilty to traffic, resisting arrest charges

Andrew Luck tried not to watch Super Bowl, was still ‘salty’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Former USC linebacker suing school over insurance policy

Report: Fred Jackson expected to sign with Seahawks

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker