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Bears Vs. Seahawks: Notes, Scribbles and Things Jotted Down

We recap yesterday's overtime loss by poring over our notes taken during the game.

  • The big thing I want to get to at the top here is Russell Wilson, and why a team that typically handles rushing-type/scrambling quarterbacks well (as far as reducing their run impact) completely fell off the cliff. We'll start by saying that Israel Idonije got victimized by Wilson - he just doesn't have the speed to challenge Wilson, and several times he lost containment on his side and allowed Wilson to just go straight around him. But it's more a testament to how effective Wilson is. There's no doubt in my mind that the kid can be a very good dual threat for years because of his ability to keep plays alive, hit his receivers outside of the pocket, and take off when defenders have to respect the pass.
  • That being said, the Seahawks didn't do anything with Wilson's legs until the second half, and as soon as they committed to it, the Bears had no answer. And when they mixed in more read-option plays, coupled with having to tackle Marshawn Lynch on short notice or watch a Wilson bootleg into wide open field, the Seahawks were able to string out drives with pretty much no resistance. It's not necessarily a grand secret that the Bears couldn't prepare for - it's just more the way the offense was run that made it difficult to play against, and this is against a team with more speed on the defensive line than most.
  • There really were so many situations that you could play the "if" game on - "If" the Bears could tackle to prevent the leading touchdown in the fourth quarter, "if" Earl Bennett could haul in a long touchdown catch (which certainly would have been an easy touchdown), "If" Major Wright could catch an interception that hit him square in both hands. "If" the Bears could have taken advantage of the "bailout" third down penalty on defense. The problem is, they didn't execute in those situations, and the Seahawks came back to bite them. Simple as that.
  • Kind of fitting that on fourth and three in the fourth quarter, Zach Miller makes his appearance as the "Tampa-2-Murdering Tight End."
  • So, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice - Pretty damn good. When you have a quarterback that can keep plays alive and receivers willing to continue getting open with extra time, good things happen.
  • Until the fourth quarter and overtime, the defensive line I thought was really pretty good (particularly in pass-rush), to a man - there's not much that you can do when a quarterback can make space and has a quick release. Of course, not being able to finish plays where you get penetration is a problem, but the penetration was there. After that point, it seemed like no one had any idea what "contain" looked like - crashing inside as an end on a mobile quarterback is just begging to have the quarterback treat you like a traffic cone without help right behind you covering the open zone. It looked at times like the Bears sold out to get Lynch and let Wilson have the two thirds of the backfield on the sidelines. Henry Melton was strong up the middle, and Stephen Paea was generally fine, but Idonije wasn't good, Julius Peppers was a complete non-factor in the second half and overtime, and while Shea McClellin had some good play and played the run pretty well, he still was overall... meh. Not horrible, but not great either. As far as run-stopping, I'll simply sum it up in two words - not good.
  • The vaunted pass rush of Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin was a total non-factor. Jay Cutler was still getting rid of the ball more quickly, but the offensive line had another pretty good performance - don't look now, but how many times did you think "Man, J'Marcus Webb is sucking this game." Hint, for me, zero. And the one sack allowed to Seattle was on a blown play that had no chance
  • If you're wondering why Cutler doesn't really look for anybody but Marshall, Earl Bennett demonstrated why. Generally, other receivers this year haven't been able to get open for anything, and when they do, they drop the ball. Bennett has to be able to haul in that reception when your defender completely loses track of you and you have ten yards around you and nothing but empty field ahead.
  • The Seahawks held the ball, from the start of their fourth-quarter touchdown drive, for 10:43. The Bears had the ball for 24 seconds in between those two drives. That'll exhaust a defense really quick.
  • The Bears spent a good chunk of the game in single-high safety after Chris Conte left because the flu just got to be too much for him, and it just didn't work. At all. Craig Steltz got abused every which way possible and Wright in the single had no chance against the seam routes and deeper routes Sidney Rice and Golden Tate were running.
  • Mike Tice had some questionable play-calls, but at least they were well designed, right? ... On Earl Bennett's one reception that he did make, it was a play-action bootleg with Bennett coming open in front of Cutler on the left side - the pass rusher continued after Cutler and he floated the ball right over him to Bennett; Kyle Adams blocked out the safety leaving Bennett one-on-one. The Bears later ran a variation of that play where Evan Rodriguez came across on the drag, but completely covered - Cutler took the opportunity to convert it to a deeper throw to Marshall for extra yardage.
  • Nicknames Given In My Living Room: Eric "Dizzy-Ass" Weems. Weems didn't have a single kick return go past the 20, with at least three I counted returned to only about the 15, at best. Not to mention there's the muffed fair catch - where if you're calling for a fair catch, you have one job: Get under the ball and catch it. That was not a good game from Weems, at all.
  • Okay, to the fourth and one - I didn't like it, thought it was too early. But my bigger complaint with the play was Bush's running - he was running too high away from his power base. If you need one yard, just keep the ball low, run low, and plow through. Instead, he ran high and tried to stretch it over the line. The fun part of this is that later on, in the Bears' eighth drive, Bush led the drive with a 15-yard power rush where he did exactly that - ran low and just burst through the arm tackles. Another suggestion heard in my living room was "Play-action/bootleg, touchdown toss to Marshall with no one around him." Eh, it wasn't a playcall problem - it was a decision and, later, execution problem. Those three points were, well, huge.
  • And Seattle did exactly the right thing by coming after the Bears' deep defenders after the failed fourth-down conversion. Big play/momentum switch? Attack.
  • Fifth drive, second down and five from the 14 - My question, why did Marshall stop moving downfield? I understand wanting to give Cutler a short easy target, but if you're trying to get a first down out of the play, why are you not making the effort to get there? Instead, Marshall lets the defender bear down on him so he's stopped immediately for two yards. On two other (third down) plays, Marshall's route took him to be stopped a yard shy of the first down marker.
  • Is it time to admit that Matt Forte is struggling beyond what is normal? The offensive line wasn't doing much in run blocking and getting very little push, but when there were holes, Forte let himself run into the backs of his linemen or into the defenders. Put bluntly, if a safety is successfully stopping a left guard (Edwin Williams) from continuing into his normal block, then you're not getting anywhere in the run game.
  • Brandon Marshall was doing a lot of work early on the In routes - Seattle just never really adapted to them. The Bears did a lot of offensive work early when the running game had more runs for no yardage than positive gains, and a lot of that was on play-action committing to a run game Seattle had no reason to respect.
  • Cutler may play recklessly past the line of scrimmage, but when he has to get a first down, he finds the marker and goes for it.
  • Peppers' lone sack came in on a play at defensive tackle, where he just power-rushed the guard trying to block him, and Wilson had absolutely no chance.
  • I forgot how natural Forte looks when he has the ball with no one around him, and he certainly runs better outside the tackles.
  • Okay, Tice's playcalling - 3rd and 20, running a draw with no other effect than to kill 40 seconds? After Bennett's injury, Rodriguez on the flat route for next to nothing, Forte run up the middle for 3, and Marshall triple-covered on third down. Multiple runs to nowhere. Couple things I really liked though - Forte split out wide in the passing game, getting Marshall open against a pair of really good cornerbacks, getting the ball out of Cutler's hands. But I'm pretty sure the next scoring drive the Bears have that isn't penalty-assisted or driven downfield out of necessity will be their first.
  • Seriously, how many times can the Bears look inept on three straight plays, then get a bad bad penalty to give a fresh set of downs, and then later score? It's been biting them and it will continue to do so.
  • The injury to Bennett left the Bears in a lot of 2-2-1 formations out of necessity, but the extra pass protection was paying off.
  • Okay, Roy Weems Jr., we saw that.
  • Wilson ran well, but he got a little help when Kelvin Hayden attempted a shoulder tackle that Wilson spun off of and got out of bounds a few yards later for the first, just a second before the two-minute warning. Next play is a standard option for 8. An extra about ten yards before the two-minute warning timeout.
  • According to Bill Barnwell, with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had a 98% chance to win.
  • The Seahawks ran four drives of at least nine plays. Three of those were touchdowns. The last was a field goal. The Bears ran five series of at least six plays, including two of 11 and 14 yards - two touchdowns, two punts and a turnover on downs.
  • The Bears could not for anything get off the field on third down - the Seahawks were 8-15 on third down. The Bears were 6-12.
  • Let's throw this out there for discussion's sake - Cutler's ESPN QBR was 94.1. Wilson's was 85.4. Chew on that for a second.

That's all I've got for you - what did you notice from yesterday's game?