The Bears (0-1) head to the West Coast for a primetime showdown with the San Francisco 49ers (1-0). Here is a breakdown of their Week 2 opponent.
What's new: Sunday marks the regular-season opening of the 49ers' new home, Levi's Stadium. After spending the past 42 seasons at Candlestick Park, the team has moved south to Santa Clara, where the new building is located. Levi's Stadium seats 68,500 fans and touts itself as the "the next generation of stadium design," thanks to its Silicon Valley influence and technological advancements. The last time the Bears were invited to help a team unveil a new building, they were not gracious guests, as Chicago defeated Indianapolis 29-13 when the Colts opened Lucas Oil Stadium on September 7, 2008.
What's old: A suspension and some injuries have depleted the 49ers' linebacking corps a bit, but the team is still strong in that part of the field, thanks in large part to Patrick Willis. The 29-year old middle linebacker is among the best in the NFL at his position, and he showed it in the team's season opener, recording six tackles and grabbing an interception in the Niners' victory at Dallas. Willis is physical against the run, helping him register at least 100 tackles in six of his seven full professional seasons.
Last time out: Led by its aggressive defense, San Francisco took control early and won its season opener against Dallas 28-17, in a game that was more of a blowout than the final score indicates. The 49ers had three sacks and three interceptions to go along with a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Chris Culliver, helping them take a 28-3 lead before a late Cowboys rally. Offensively, tight end Vernon Davis did much of the damage, as he hauled in four catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
Series history: The Bears are 29-32-1 all-time versus the 49ers in a series that dates back to 1950. San Francisco has won the past two meetings, last defeating Chicago 32-7 on Nov. 19, 2012 at Candlestick Park. The game marked the first-career start for Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Chicago hasn't won in the Bay Area since 1985.
Ex-factor: Only one 49ers player previously suited up for the Bears – wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who caught 26 passes for Chicago in 2008. However, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh is quite familiar with the Bears organization, as he was the team's first-round draft pick in 1987 and the team's quarterback from 1987-1993. During that span, Harbaugh went 35-30 as a starter. His 1,759 passing attempts and 1,023 completions are both second all-time among Bears signal-callers, trailing only Jay Cutler in both categories.
Bears coach Marc Trestman was a member of the 49ers coaching staff in 1995 and 1996, serving as offensive coordinator for those two seasons. The lone member of Chicago's roster to ever play for San Francisco is wide receiver Josh Morgan, who made 131 receptions in 409 games with the team after the 49ers selected him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
Injury status: Inside linebacker Navorro Bowman is on San Francisco's Physically Unable to Perform list as a result of the torn ACL and MCL he suffered in January during the NFC Championship Game. His absence is a crucial one for the 49ers, as Bowman has been named first-team All-Pro each of the last three seasons. The San Francisco secondary is also a bit banged up, as cornerbacks Tramaine Brock (toe) and Chris Culliver (concussion) both had to leave the team's win against Dallas early after sustaining injuries. Rookie safety Jimmie Ward also was dealing with concussion-like symptoms following the contest.
Did you know?: With his 66 rushing yards on Sunday, 49ers running back Frank Gore eclipsed the 10,000yard mark for his career, becoming just the 29th player in NFL history to do so. Among the players he joined on the list is Bears Hall of Famer Walter Payton. It took Gore 133 career games to reach the 10,000 yard barrier, while Payton needed only 113 contests to hit quintuple–digits in all-time rushing.