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Coach made NFL debut as player with Chicago on 'MNF' in 1987

SAN FRANCISCO — Jim Harbaugh's first NFL passes came 25 years ago under the "Monday Night Football" spotlight, when the Chicago Bears visited the 49ers in a late-season game ripe with playoff ramifications.

Harbaugh didn't enter until after halftime, and only after Bears fill-in starter Mike Tomczak had thrown four interceptions.

Like that 41-0 rout by the 49ers, turnovers are expected to dictate their silver anniversary rematch at Candlestick Park, where the 49ers (6-2-1) host the Bears (7-2) again on "Monday Night Football."

Two of the NFL's premier defenses will be on display, and the winner will have the inside track for a potential first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. The 49ers are allowing a league-low 14.1 points per game, and the Bears are yielding the second-fewest points (14.8).

"It's a huge game," said Harbaugh, the 49ers' second-year coach who still holds the Bears' records for most pass attempts and completions. "Everybody will be crowded in to watch it, to see how we respond, see how the Bears respond.

"The football world will be watching this one."


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