SAN FRANCISCO -- Many people first learned about the exploits of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith last season. On Monday night, a national television audience had the chance to witness Smith's ability to change the complexion of a game at any time.
Smith recorded 51/2 sacks of Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell and forced two fumbles in setting the tone for the 49ers' defensive dominance in a 32-7 victory at Candlestick Park.
"I have a thing for night games," Smith said. "I love the lights."
Campbell and the Bears aren't about to argue the point, not after Smith spent almost as much time in the backfield as the Bears running backs.
Time and again, Smith ran around, through or over left offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb and right offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, whoever got in his way, hellbent upon taking down Campbell.
"If you sense a weakness, you've got to take advantage of it," Smith said, "and that's what we did."
49ers left offensive tackle Joe Staley just smiled when asked if he is happy that he doesn't have to block Smith in a game.
"He's got all the moves," Staley said. "That's what makes him so dangerous. There's not many guys in the NFL that have that. Usually, they have one thing to hang their hat on.
"When I think of guys that have all the tools, I think of (Cowboys linebacker) DeMarcus Ware, and that might be it. Aldon definitely has that, and he's just getting better."
Smith came within a half sack of former defensive end Fred Dean's single-game team record, set on Nov. 13, 1983, against the New Orleans Saints. Smith's 15 sacks are two more than the Denver Broncos' Von Miller, who beat out Smith as the AP's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Smith, the 49ers' first-round draft pick last year, is on pace to collect the most sacks through two seasons by anyone in NFL history. Reggie White (31) and Derrick Thomas (30) are the only ones who produced more than Smith's 291/2, thus far.
Smith had three sacks by halftime Monday night. His final sack resulted in Campbell on the ground, the ball bouncing around and the 49ers ultimately being awarded a safety.
Smith already has 11/2 more sacks than he had last season.
"He's a great, great player, and he always shows up huge the bigger the game," Staley said. "He really dominated today. I'm really happy I don't have to go against him (in games) because we have some battles in practice."
Cornerback Carlos Rogers said Smith's ability to reach the quarterback in a flash makes life much easier on him and the other defensive backs.
"That's good for a secondary because we don't have to cover long," Rogers said. "Once he collapses the pocket ... the quarterback is down. He's amazing."
Smith has 91/2 sacks the past three games and is on pace to record the most sacks by a 49er since Cedrick Hardman's 18 in 1971, the latest chronicled mark in the team's record book.
Roy Barker was the last 49er to record four sacks in a game, on Oct. 25, 1998, against the Rams.