The Chicago Bears will be without Jay Cutler for their crucial matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, but that doesn't mean that all is lost—they can still be effective with backup Jason Campbell at the helm.
The Bears lost Jay Cutler to a concussion during the team's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans last week. With Campbell taking over the offense, the Bears scored three points in the second half as the Texans were able to close out the second half with the lead.
With Cutler still feeling the effects of his concussion, the Bears announced via their official Twitter account that Campbell will be making the start against the vaunted 49ers defense.
LM: #Bears have announced that QB Jason Campbell will start Monday night's game at San Francisco.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 16, 2012
Obviously this isn't like last season when the Bears, at 7-3, lost Cutler for the season and finished out the season with an 8-8 record. Cutler should be back after this week, but it would be nice for the Bears to have the confidence that they can win without him if need be.
Beating the 49ers defense isn't an easy task, but the Bears have the tools necessary to do it. Even with Campbell running the show, the Bears can still be effective enough to pull off the upset in San Francisco. Here's how they can put points on the board on Sunday Night.
Be Persistent with the Ground Game
The 49ers defense is great against the run. It ranks sixth in the NFL at around 95 yards per game.
However, that doesn't mean that the Bears should be intimidated into throwing the ball a ton. Matt Forte and Michael Bush should still be able to find success.
Last week the St. Louis Rams remained dedicated to running the ball against the Niners and were rewarded. Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson combined to run for 159 yards on 29 carries and the Rams won the time of possession battle in a 24-24 tie.
Considering Matt Forte's explosive ability, the Bears should be taking a similar approach with Forte and Bush. It may not be successful at first, but Lovie Smith must stand by his run game.
Feed Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall has made a great case this season that he's the best receiver in football.
On the season, Marshall has 67 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns. Reuniting with Jay Cutler has been a big reason for his resurgence, but it isn't the only reason.
Coming in against a defense like the 49ers' isn't easy, but when you have a dominant receiver like Marshall that can go up and get the ball even when he's covered, that's a huge advantage. Campbell should look for Marshall anytime he's in a jam, and he should come through.
Rely on the Defense
Campbell doesn't have to be Superman to win games as the Bears quarterback. He just needs the defense to put him in good situations.
Marshall and Forte can go a long way to help Campbell, but if the defense can help the Bears win the field position battle, it could be the biggest key to the offense's success.
With both teams boasting elite defenses, this should be a low-scoring game. Even if Cutler were playing this week, the Bears would need a short field as much as possible. If the defense produces some turnovers, Campbell is a good enough quarterback to take care of the football and manage the game.
If the defense dominates like they have at times this season, Campbell won't need to do as much to beat the Niners.