Bears run O vs. 49ers run D

A quarterback’s best friend is a good running game, and although the Bears have two decent running backs in Matt Forte and Michael Bush, offensive coordinator Mike Tice often has strayed from attempting to establish the ground game, and is way too focused on passing.

The biggest weakness for the Bears from an offensive-structure standpoint is their pass protection. They continually expose Jay Cutler, or subsequent QBs, to hits, knock downs and sacks, which eventually take their toll.

An established ground game protects the quarterback by allowing 1st and 2nd down passes to come off a variety of play action schemes emulating the run action that has been utilized rather than just dropping back and winging it.

Mike Martz was far too pass happy in his heyday as offensive coordinator for the Bears, and Tice has improved the ratio of run to pass, but he still has room for improvement, especially in light of the precarious health situation for Cutler if he is cleared for the Monday night game.

The Bears’ run-to-pass ratio will be especially important if Jason Campbell is the QB and Cutler is out for Monday night.

Based on the Rams’ success with the run game, it would be derelict of Tice not to make a concerted effort to run the ball on the Niners.

To win, the Bears need to run it at least 35 times against the Niners.

Advantage: Bears

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