Game Comments: Bears V. Seahawks, January 16, 2011


  1. The Bears came out with lots of single coverage with nickel personnel.  They did a good job doing, it, too.
  2. A key to the defensive effort was the ability of the Bears to stop the run with seven in the box.
  3. The Seahawks were doing a lot of things right.  For instance, with the exception of a brief period in the second quarter, they were mixing it up well with some good play calls.
  4. The Seahawk plan was obviously to attack the edges.  They also came out and showed some good misdirection plays.  As most fans know, speed defenses like the Bears are susceptible to this.
  5. Having said that, without looking at the actual statistics, I thought maybe the Seahawks could have run the ball more.  Admittedly when they did they weren’t effective.
  6. The Bears did start to blitz a lot in spurts when they were reasonably sure the Seahawks were going to throw.  It was effective in that it did throw Matt Hasselbeck’s accuracy off a bit and that allowed them to fake the blitz and pull out effectively at other times.  But in truth, Hasselbeck wasn’t bad.  His receivers just killed him by dropping too many balls.
  7. I know it didn’t look like Julius Peppers and the defensive line was getting that much pressure but they were.  Peppers was regularly pushing Russell Okung back into Hasselbeck’s lap.


  1. Gutsy call by Mike Martz throwing the bomb with 3rd and short on first possession.  Greg Olsen – touchdown.  Heck of a throw by Jay Cutler.
  2. The offensive line provided good protection for Cutler.  But the Bears were keeping a lot of blockers in to do it.
  3. Most of us thought the Seahawks would come out blitzing.  They did do much of it.  But note that when they did do it, they were getting pressure.  I’m sure the Green Bay Packers noticed.
  4. Of course, as everyone saw, the Bears just ran over them.  As I’ll note below, the Seahawks looked flat from the time they walked on to the field.  Nevertheless, the offensive balance is back.
  5. The Bears were drawing that eighth guy down into the box on first down occasionally but really, it was probably their stubborn refusal to do it more often that kept the Bears running the ball at them.  Seattle insisted on playing straight up cover two with little blitzing.  The Bears took what they gave them.
  6. Some of the worst tackling I’ve seen all season from Seattle today.
  7. Was that Cutler throwing the ball out of bounds in the second quarter?  Was it snowing in hell, too?
  8. Big, big game for Greg Olsen.
  9. We all thought that Seattle would be the team that would pull out all the stops but it was the bears who pulled out a few special plays like the wildcat.  They were the ones throwing the bomb on third and short.  It did bite them when Matt Forte threw his interception but the point it that the Bears were teh ones that played it more loose.


  1. I was told during the week that I’m too nice when it comes to evaluating announcers.  Sorry.  I still think Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa did a solid, if not spectacular job.  They hit on many of the points above during the broadcast.  Admittedly they didn’t teach me a lot, today, but I was happy.
  2. Generally speaking the Bears covered kicks pretty well today.  Both Leon Washington and Devin Hester ripped off one good run.
  3. I thought that Jon Ryan generally did a good job of handling Devin Hester.  Good high kicks with lots of hang time.
  4. Hard to believe Seattle punter Ryan drove Hester out of bounds in first quarter.  They were basically one on one.  I don’t know how to put it but something was off about Hester today.  He was generally hesitant.
  5. Generally speaking I didn’t think either team had too many penalties.
  6. Corey Graham, Corey Graham, Corey Graham and some more.
  7. The Bears had one turnover but didn’t get any.  Lovie Smith won’t be happy with that.
  8. It was nice to see the other team slipping around more than the Bears for once.
  9. A surprising number of Seattle players went down with injuries.  The hits weren’t dirty but perhaps it was a sign of how physically they were treated.
  10. Tweet of the game from BradBiggs: “#Bears lead 21-0 with 10:01 left in 1st half. Prices for Packers Bears NFC title game tix gotta be skyrocketing.”
  11. Two minutes left in the third quarter and the Seahawks kicked a field goal.  Johnston called it an “interesting decision”.
  12. I’ve been extremely vocal about the fact that the Bears haven’t been able to play effective man defense.  Today the Bears flipped the finger at me and everyone like me.  They won the game playing tenacious Packers style man-to-man defense.  I was holding my breath every time Hasselbeck threw at Tim Jennings and only a little less so when he threw at Charles Tillman trying to get the ball to the sizable Mike Williams.  But they held up.  Kudos.
  13. The minute they hit the field, before even the first snap, you could see that Hasselbeck looked excited but everyone around him looked dead.  The Seahawks came out sluggish after last weeks big game.  They let down and the Bears literally just ran over them.  Now lets hope the Bears can avoid doing the same thing next week.

Playoff Atmosphere More Intense at Soldier Field or on Saturn? And Other Points of View.


“What is different about playoff football is there is no letup. Every play is played like it’s the last play. That isn’t always the case in the regular season.

“‘The tempo in the playoffs is a 10, but the tempo in a normal regular-season game (can be) a 10, especially if it’s a big game,’ one general manager said. ‘If the tempo is off, it may be as low as a seven. But it’s not like playoff football is played at a tempo you never had played before, especially if you are a team that made the playoffs.'”

“How the week off affects the Bears: The last time the team received significant time off, it struggled in its return. Coming off a bye in October, the Bears faced the Buffalo Bills in Toronto and won 22-19. But with 10 minutes left to play, the Bears trailed to a Bills team that racked up 340 yards of offense and converted 63 percent of third downs. Although Chicago owns the obvious home-field advantage, the way it starts out Sunday’s game could ultimately determine the victor. The Bears can’t afford to get off to a sluggish start against the Seahawks, which enter the game riding a wave of momentum. “

Both the Steelers and the Falcons looked rusty to me yesterday at the beginning of their respective games.

  • The Seahawks don’t even think their own fans believe in them:

  • This Seahawks fan would seem to share the same goals that his team has:

  • Bill Cowher expresses doubts about Chicago as he continues to hope in vain that the coaching position comes open.  Perhaps I’m exaggerating:

  • And, of course, The Onion gets into the act with their keys to victory for the game.  This would seem to be an important one for the Seahawks:

“There must be a way to give Leon Washington room to run, perhaps by devising a method to obstruct defenders attempting to tackle him.”

“Although Urlacher claimed that the high concentration of hydrogen and trace amounts of methane, ammonia, phosphine, and acetylene would leave players gasping for breath, quarterback Jay Cutler insisted the thin Rocky Mountain air made INVESCO Field at Mile High a harder place to play.”

“After a great 1949 season, [Luckman successor Johnny] Lujack earned All-Pro honors in 1950 although he threw 4 touchdown passes and had 21 interceptions, largely because the Bears went 9-3. Future Bears quarterbacks took Lujack’s example to heart, striving to achieve victory while committing as many turnovers as possible.”

“[Jay] Cutler, like [Billy] Wade and [Jim] McMahon, is just competent enough to not hinder the Bears during a championship run. In the 60 years since Luckman, that is the highest praise any Bears quarterback has earned.”

Don’t speak too soon, Mike.

  • Here’s some surprisingly good betting advice for today’s Bear game.  The one who knows what he’s talking about is Marco D’Angelo, the guy in the tie:


  • More Raji from Kareem Copeland, also at the Press Gazette:

“Let me say this about No. 34 the fullback (Ovie Mughelli). He was talking real crazy about how soft we were and we came in here and showed him. That’s what happens when you talk a big game.”

  • Tramon Williams thought the Falcons were predictable:

“I’m proud of our coaching staff because it’s not an easy thing to keep bringing new guys in and getting them ready.

“But our coaches and players have handled this extraordinarily well. I’m proud of that.”

The Packers coaches have done an unbelievable job this year.

  • Most of us understand that the Packers-Bears rivalry is pretty intense.  But they don’t have anything on the Steelers-Ravens.  Yesterday’s game was classic (via the Associated Press):

“‘What better way to put the Ravens out of the tournament,’ Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said. ‘They keep asking for us and we keep putting them out of the tournament. They’re going to be ticked about this for a long time.'”

  • Give Terrell Suggs credit for at least knowing where to pint the finger after the loss:

“‘I just heard the most inspirational message of my life from former Jet Dennis Byrd,’ wide receiver Braylon Edwards tweeted.

“In a follow-up tweet, Edwards added, ‘As God is my witness, I have never been more ready to perform in my life. Dennis Byrd, I respect, salute and honor you.'”

It certainly sounds like Edwards isn’t the only one ready to play as the hype continues to increase as game time gets closer:

  • So you non-Bear fans are wondering who to root for in the playoffs.  Once again, we turn to The Sports Pickle for this handy chart.  (I think you Falcons and Ravens fans may still be in a bind, though):

One Final Thought

I found video of one young fan who seems to be pretty excited about today’s game:

Fans About to Find Out Who the Bears Really Are

Mike Florio at writes about the difference between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers after yesterday’s domination:

“Widely regarded as the best young quarterback in the game, the man known as Matty Ice [Matt Ryan] goes liquid-nitrogen cold when it counts the most.  Two years ago, a superior Falcons team lost in Arizona during the wild-card round.  This year, with a 13-3 record and the top seed in the NFC playoff field, the Falcons and Ryan were dismantled by a Packers team that suddenly looks a lot like the Super Bowl favorite that so many thought they would be before the season.”

“Said [Green Bay quarterback Aaron] Rodgers after the game, to Pam Oliver of FOX:  “To be able to put up that kind of performance as an offense, it’s incredible.”

“It was the kind of spanking that the top seed in a division-round game is supposed to periodically administer to the visiting team.  Instead, it was the worst loss by the NFC’s top seed in the division round since 1987, when the Vikings shocked the 49ers in San Francisco, 36-24.”

Basically, Florio is saying that the Falcons are a good team but that they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do it when it counts.  The Packers, on the other hand, rose to the occasion for the third week in a row.

Merril Hoge and Trent Dilfer at ESPN totally agree and put it more bluntly than usual in this nice video breakdown of the game:

I’ve been writing one thing consistently since the season began in September – that the Bears are a high character team.  Now, today, is when they really start to prove it.  Tomorrow writers in Chicago and elsewhere will be characterizing the Bears one of two ways – like the Falcons or the Packers.  The ability to create that distinction is in their hands and its in their hearts.