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49ers LB Aldon Smith has 15 sacks, says he has 'a thing for night games'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
We thought it went without saying, but Aldon Smith enjoys playing at night. (US Presswire)

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize to 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith . Before the season, we listed him as one of the 10 players most likely to take a step back in 2012. The way we figured, Smith, who racked up 14 sacks in situational pass-rushing situations as a rookie, would struggle with the run-stopping and pass-coverage responsibilities.

After watching him demolish the Bears and Jason Campbell on Monday night, we feel comfortable in writing that Smith's going to be fine.

By the time it was over, Smith had 5.5 sacks -- a Monday Night Football record, and Campbell looked like he was ready for Jay Cutler to return to the lineup.

Taken seventh overall out of Missouri in 2011, Smith now has 15 sacks this season. There are still six games to play, which means Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22.5 sacks is officially in jeopardy.

For an idea of just how dominant Smith has been, in the 49ers' past two home MNF appearances, he has eight sacks. In addition to the 5.5 that came courtesy of the Bears, Smith had 2.5 against the Steelers last December in another San Francisco rout.

"I think I have a thing for night games," Smith said according to the Sacramento Bee. "I love playing at night, I love the lights."

You don't say.

Smith's performance catapulted him ahead of Denver's Von Miller in the sack race. Miller, who had 11.5 a year ago, sits at 13 after sacking Philip Rivers three times on Sunday.

"I'll probably text him as soon as I leave here," Smith said of Miller, whom he faced during their Big 12 days (Miller went to Texas A&M).

The Bears, meanwhile, have to get their offensive line sorted or things could get ugly in a hurry.

"They had a lot of games [they were playing with their pass rushers]," Chicago right tackle Gabe Carimi said. "I thought me and [RG] Lance [Louis] handled it pretty well up until the very end of the game when we had some problems on the right side. There are a couple things we can fix that would eliminate some of those sacks.

"It's very disappointing," Carimi continued. "I feel like I have better in me. I talk about myself, and my level of play was not where I needed it to be in order for us to win this game."

Good news: The Bears don't have to face the 49ers the rest of the regular season.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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