49ers key matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Chilo Rachal

49ers key matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Chilo Rachal
November 18, 2012, 5:27 pm
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This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Bears matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNCBS 5), at Candlestick Park.49ers DT Justin Smith vs. Bears LG Chilo RachalTale of the tape
Smith (94): 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, 12th season, Missouri
Rachal (62): 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, fifth season, USCDespite coming nowhere near producing the gaudy statistics of a year ago, defensive tackle Justin Smith still has a hand in just about everything on the 49ers' defense.Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is on pace to eclipse the sack total of his rookie season. And Justin Smith -- with no sacks of his own through nine games -- certainly deserves some of the credit. Aldon Smith has 9.5 sacks in nine games after recording 14 sacks in his first year.Justin Smith will be matched most of Monday night against Chilo Rachal, who holds the distinction of being the only 49ers player since coach Jim Harbaugh's arrival to lose his starting job due solely to poor performance.Rachal, a second-round pick in 2008, entered last season as the starting right guard. But after struggling immensely in his first 2 12 games, Rachal was benched at halftime of the 49ers' Week 3 win at the Cincinnati Bengals. He never started another game for the 49ers, and was not offered a contract as a free agent.Rachal signed a one-year, 700,000 contract with the Chicago Bears. He moved into the Bears' starting lineup in Week 3 when Chris Spencer was benched. Rachal will face Justin Smith, one of the league's most difficult matchups for any offensive lineman."I'm sure it'll be a good battle," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Chilo obviously knows Justin from practicing against him here for the few years that he was here."Part of Justin Smith's game is to overpower the left guard and steer him into the left tackle to open a gaping hole through which Aldon Smith can enter for a free run at the quarterback. If Justin Smith is able to shove around Rachal, that could mean big things Monday night for Aldon Smith.It's the kind of action that New York Giants Kevin Gilbride complained about earlier this season when he said -- much to Harbaugh's objection -- that Justin Smith "gets away with murder."Said Fangio, "Theres a lot of hand-fighting and guys get grabbed both ways," Fangio said. "And there's nothing illegal about it or anything. It's just normal hand play."