So apparently the last few weeks I forgot how to count or read the weeks, and nobody bothered to correct me. Thanks folks!
The Bears have not been good lately on offense these last three weeks (you know, in case you've been living under a rock or something). That's okay, because the Seattle Seahawks haven't exactly had an offensive dreadnought either. Instead, what they have is the 13th ranked defense in yardage and even better (10th) in points allowed. And in the continuing saga of "We see you people every year," we just can't seem to get away from facing these guys.
So this week, let's jump the jump and revisit our old playoff foes...
What They Did Last Year: If you don't remember, get out. In seriousness, they won the NFC West with the supremely awesome record of 7-9, took down the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs, and lost to the Bears in the divisional round amidst a chorus of "Dey Didn't Deserve Ta Be Dere."
Where Are They Now: In pretty much exactly the same spot as they were last year - currently 6-7 and fighting for a playoff spot. They won't be able to win the division as the Niners are all over that, but they still have an outside shot at a wild card berth.
Last Week: In a game probably all of fifteen people were watching, pets included, the Seahawks took down the downward-surging Rams 30-13 in winning four out of their last five.
When Last We Met: The last time these two met in the regular season, it was Week 6 of last year as the Seahawks took down the Bears 23-20 at Soldier Field. Jay Cuter went 17-39 for 290 yards and the Bears rushed 14 times for 61 yards and a touchdown (bonus points if you got the Bears' leading rusher in that game as Chester Taylor, 4-31). Devin Hester took a punt to the house in the fourth, but it wasn't enough as Matt Hasselback threw for 242 yards and a TD, and Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch each rushed for a touchdown. Jordan Babineaux picked up a safety, and the Seahawks held on.
Gone is Matt Hasselbeck. In his place started Charlie Whitehurst and Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson went down with an injury as Whitehurst instantly led the team to two losses in his two starts, putting up 15 points combined (sound familiar?). And Jackson, though he hasn't been stellar, has been serviceable, completing 60.7% of his passes for around 206 yards per game and 11.5 per completion, as well as a nearly 1-1 TD/INT ratio (11-12) and a passer rating of 77.9.
As far as weapons, Marshawn Lynch is having a very solid year - the new Skittles spokesman has 969 yards and 9 TDs on the season. Receiving, rookie free agent Doug Baldwin is overshadowing other weapons like free agent prize Sidney Rice (on IR) and fellow receivers Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate. He leads the team in Receptions (45, Rice has 32), yardage (718, Rice has 484), Yards per reception (16.0, Rice has 15.1) and touchdowns (3, tied with Tate). Interesting tidbit, three receivers have a longest reception of 55. It's like a Seahawks' receiver's glass ceiling.
The Seahawks play a 4-3, have 25.0 sacks on the season, and of the 13 players credited with at least half a sack, only one player is credited with more than 3 (Chris Clemons, 9). You know what that means, right?
That aside, as stated before, this has been a fairly solid unit on the season., behind the strength of rush-end Clemons, David Hawthorne having an excellent year, and the ball-hawking skills of CB Brandon Browner and No-It-All-mancrush S Kam Chancellor. It's a unit that ranks 5th in interceptions, but also 7th in passing touchdowns, not to mention 10th in rushing touchdowns.
If the Bears do this...
The Seahawks allow only 3.7 yards per carry, 4th best in the league, so the Bears may not be doing a whole lot of running the ball. As scary as this sounds, it may well be on Caleb Hanie's arm to win the game against Seattle's middle-of-the-road 6.3 net yards per attempt. That being said, the Seahawks have allowed 100 rushing yards in their last three games, while only one of those opponents had over 200 yards passing (the Redskins, with 306). Expect Kahlil Bell to get a few more carries and screen shots early, but Barber will get some use too, but Hanie will need to have to make some of the plays he hasn't so far in order to win this game.
If the Seahawks do this...
The Seahawks have one method of moving the football. Run. In their last six games, they've had over 100 rushing yards while only having over 200 passing yards three times (219 vs Dallas, 208 vs Baltimore, and 214 vs St Louis on Monday). Stopping Marshawn Lynch will be paramount to the Bears' success. Baldwin will get a lot of attention, but so should Obomanu and Tate, as if the Bears aren't careful, any of the four can add to their combined 10 touchdowns. Also, in case you're interested, Jackson's been sacked 33 times. Let's get that defensive line moving and see if they can't add to their total.