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One Preview: Bears will strive to unleash offense vs. 49ers

One reliable preview. One key factor to decide the game. It's that simple.

Air & Ground matchup of Week 2

Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) -- The 49ers welcome the Bears for a primetime showdown that will also serve as the first official NFL game at the new Levi's Stadium. The home team features quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who through one week of play is second in the NFL with a 125.5 passer rating. Teaming up with Kaepernick in the backfield is 31-year-old Frank Gore, the NFL's fourth-oldest active running back but also one of its most effective -- the 49ers are 18-0 when Gore totes the rock at least 24 times in a game. The Bears' porous defense -- it allowed 5.85 yards per rush in Week 1 -- could be very inviting for the 49ers to push the ground game even more.

The Bears' offense was supposed to light up scoreboards this season. It didn't exactly do that in a Week 1 loss to the Bills, but this unit has potential for greatness. Quarterback Jay Cutler has arguably the league's top wide receiver duo at his disposal in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Running back Matt Forte is a dangerous weapon out of the backfield (he had 17 carries for 82 yards and 8 receptions for 87 yards in Week 1).

One week changes everything

Week 1 -- Both the 49ers and Bears were expected to compete for division titles and playoff spots this season. While the 49ers lived up to the hype by toppling the Dallas Cowboys, 28-17, the Bears were on the wrong end of an overtime shocker against the Buffalo Bills, who were 23-20 victors. The Bears have an opportunity to rectify that disappointment with a victory over San Francisco and thus return to their perceived preseason quality.

Bears QB Rudy Bukich (10) heaves a pass to Gale Sayers (40) in a 1965 game against the 49ers.
Bears QB Rudy Bukich (10) heaves a pass to Gale Sayers (40) in a 1965 game against the 49ers. (Associated Press/Associated Press)

Great Moments in Air & Ground History

Bears 61, 49ers 20 (Week 13 of 1965 season) -- On an unseasonably warm mid-December day in a game played on the muddy Wrigley Field turf, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers consummated one of the greatest single-game performances in league history. Sayers scored six touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 receiving and 1 on a punt return) as the Bears dropped a 60-burger on the visiting 49ers, winning 61-20. The Bears' journeyman quarterback, Rudy Bukich, had one of his finest days, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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