Mike Greenberg at ESPN talks to former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic about what its like to be a fan of a playoff team in this humorous exchange:
“Paralyzed” might be taking it a bit too far. Maybe…
But generally this is accurate and, though its heightened for the playoffs, I have to say I identify with Greenberg’s reaction.
Without the Bears on the field, Sunday was a noticeably stress free day. It could have been the alcohol. But more likely it was simply the fact that I wasn’t worried about a game. No sitting in front of the TV taking notes, worrying about whether Jay Cutler would try to do too much or how the offensive line was going to break down in the first half this time. When its over I find myself exhausted.
There’s a kind of insanity that comes over fans when watching their team. When I watch the Bears I zoom in, completely focusing on the game. Everything around me pretty much disappears. I’ve had non-fans over to watch games and more often than not you can see the look of startlement come over their faces when they see the change come over me. Or that maybe that’s because I’m screaming at the TV.
The point is that I love football. But sometimes being a fan is really stressful. Something about that doesn’t seem right.
“‘When it finally came down to that last game against St. Louis, we finally played our best football,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘I’m not real proud of that. I would have rather seen that for all the right reasons earlier on, but I’m having fun with it, enjoying it.
“’They’re used to being in that spot [in the playoffs],’ Peppers said. ‘They didn’t have a great season recordwise, but they’re used to being in the playoffs.
“’They played like they were.’”
They did indeed. Seattle played what amounted to their second playoff game in a row Sunday. They played fast and hard like they knew what they were in for. They were far from mistake-free and the still need to play better. But they knew that their football lives were at stake.
This is why fans are underestimating the Seahawks so badly. Most understand that they are peaking at the right time and that’s what you want to do. But they don’t account for what’s more important, that the Seahawks are peaking for the right reasons.
The Seahawks are responding under pressure. And sometimes the more pressure there is with this kind of team, the better they respond. And going on the road against a Bears team which is decidedly better than the wounded Saints, the stakes will never be higher. The Bears need to match that intensity or they are going to find themselves sitting and watching TV like the rest of us.
“For me it’s real tough, a guy like that. But that’s one thing about this defense. If it was just a lot of man-to-man and no help over the top, it would be a problem. But for us as a defense, we play a lot of Cover-2 and Cover-3, we’ve got guys running to the football.”
This is the obvious problem with Jennings and why the Bears need to be worried about their cornerbacks going forward. Jennings is good in the Bears base defense but his height puts him at a disadvantage whenever he has to handle anyone one-on-one. He’s 5’8″. Williams is 6’5″.
Look for the Bears to have taller cornerback Charles Tillman following Williams around the field and look for the Seahawks to be doing everything they can to get Williams into a mismatch whenever the Bears are in a zone defense. I’d be surprised if he didn’t spend a lot of time in the slot. It should be interesting.
The Chicago Tribune‘s Brad Biggsgives insight into some offensive line technique via coach Mike Tice:
“Really, just looking at the footwork of Chris [Williams], there were a couple of times (against the Seahawks) where he spread his feet and never stepped or anything.
“I think it’s that technique ‘A guy is on me real quick,’ instead of him stepping. That takes time and repetition. We’ve had weeks to repeat the technique and do it over and over to where now he’s better. He still has a moment or two, but he’s really improved.”
Pisa Tinoisamoacomments on the absence of Lance Briggs from the game the last time the Bears played Seattle. Replacement Brian Iwuh had a good game with 10 tackles. Via Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“You can’t even really say [the Bears lost] because he didn’t play. But you know if he would have, it would have been a different outcome, at least defensively, because you can count on Lance Briggs for a couple of game-changing plays.
“That’s what we missed.”
Trent Dilfer at ESPN says about what the Bears need to do to beat the Seahawks:
The Seahawks might be missing concussed linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who was concussed in Sunday’s game. Coach Pete Carroll says he’s encouraged by Tatupu’s progress but given the delicacy with which concussions are being handled by the league, I’m going to be mildly surprised if he returns quickly. If he doesn’t pass the necessary tests, it will be a double whammy as the Seahawks will move David Hawthorn to middle linebacker from the weak side to replace him. Via Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times.
Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb wants to start or be traded. Adam Schefter at ESPN doesn’t sound optimistic either will happen: