As shown here, the Bears have their Ace personnel (two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back) on the field in a Doubles slot alignment with Rodriguez removed from the core of the formation as a receiver. The 49ers counter with their base 3-4 front playing Cover-1 (man-free) in the secondary. The Bears will run the pump-seam and put stress on the free safety in the middle of the field.
- Bio | Recent columns
- McCown perfect fit for Bears
- Bears' Campbell a leader who can throw deep
- Three Bears: Jennings too hot
- Evan Rodriguez
- San Francisco 49ers
See more topics »
Candlestick Park, 490 Jamestown Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA
Soldier FIELD, 1410 Museum Campus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Playing man-free, the 49ers defensive backs will align with an outside shade and funnel receivers to their free safety help in the deep middle of the field. Underneath, Sam Backer Ahmad Brooks (S) will "green dog" (rush to coverage) when Kellen Davis (Y) stays in on protection with Patrick Willis (RIB) matching Matt Forte (R) on the check down and NaVorro Bowman (LIB) dropping to the inside hook.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (X) will run the "Sluggo" (slant and go) to the open (weak) side of the formation against cornerback Tarell Brown (RC). At the snap, Marshall will release off the line of scrimmage, stem to the slant and then get vertical up the field. Campbell will pump to the double-move and then come back to the closed side of the formation to target Rodriguez (F).
Rodriguez has a tough matchup against Donte Whitner (SS). The 49ers strong safety plays with an aggressive style, is physical with his hands at the line of scrimmage and has the speed to run with any vertical concept. For Rodriguez, separation is key. The tight end will stem his route to the outside at a depth of 10 yards and work to stack on top of Whitner when he pushes up the field to give Campbell a target between the numbers and the hash marks.
Testing free safety
The idea behind the pump-seam is to set the bait for free safety Dashon Goldson (FS) and test his discipline in the middle of the field. By pumping to Marshall on the double-move, Campbell is looking to force Goldson to vacate the middle of the field and jump the "Sluggo." This allows Rodriguez to go to work on a defender playing from an outside leverage position with no deep help to the inside. That's a tough spot for Whitner.
Check it down
If Goldson stays square in his pedal, Campbell can't force the seam. The 49ers free safety has good speed from the middle of the field and has shown the ability to break downhill on the ball. Campbell can target Devin Hester (Z) on the smash or check the ball down to Forte. In a marquee game with two top-tier defenses, field position will be key. You can't turn the ball over and expect to get out the stadium with a victory.