Bart Scott Sounds Off and Other Points of View


“’No, I’m not satisfied,’ Tillman said after one of his best games of the season. ‘We’re in the NFC Championship Game. Great. But those two plays, you’ve got to make those plays because they could’ve been the keys to the game.’”

Tillman’s right.  I loved the aggressive man-to-man defense that the Bears played.  But it also leaves zero room for error.  Usually that kind of pressure in on the safeties.  With that defense, its on the corners.

“But you simply cannot overstate how much losing Carlson in the first quarter threw the Seahawks off their game on offense. One veteran Bears defender said in the postgame locker room that without Carlson, Seattle lost its ability to run numerous formations and attempt numerous plays that otherwise might have been successful vs. the Bears’ defense.”

  • Quarterback Jay Cutler says that Greg Olsen wasn’t his primary receiver on his first touchdown in the first quarter:

  • No surprise that coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck were disappointed after the loss:

  • The Chicago Tribune goes back in time for what I thought was an interesting look at the 1941 playoff game against the Packers – the last time the two teams met in the postseason.
  • I hope Devin Hester was kidding when he said this of Sunday’s game against the Packers (via Brad Biggs at the Tribune):

“Its going to be a shootout”

I think a good defensive game might be more likely to work in the Bears favor.

  • Steve Rosenbloom at the Tribune reports that the Bears opened as 3 point home dogs to the Packers and that most of the money immediately started pouring in on Green Bay.  I wouldn’t touch that game either way with a ten foot pole at that number.  Too much depends upon which Green Bay team shows up.
  • Dan Pompei at the Tribune gives one key stat for the Packer game:

“The Packers have sacked Jay Cutler nine times this year; the Bears have sacked Rodgers twice.”

“I don’t care about what happened late in the game, I still believe Charles Tillman made Mike Williams want to quit. Can he do the same to Green Bay’s Greg Jennings?”

  • Cornerback Charles Tillman sounds like he’s already tired of the hype (via  Its only just begun, baby!

  • Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris would seem to agree (via Michael C. Wright at

“‘I don’t know all about the history,’ he said. ‘I just know my gap. I have to control that gap. I will next week.'”

“Indeed, there will be ungodly hype, especially on this blog. From this point forward, I’m tagging this game “Epicenter of Humanity.” So I don’t want to minimize how big and fun this is going to be for fans and media members alike. “

  • Brian Urlacher knows that there won’t be many big surprises Sunday (via ESPNChicago):

  • Kenny Mayne at ESPN describes the Seahawks-Bears matchup as only he can.  The video was, of course, shot before the game but its definitely worthwhile:

“While the Bears’ offense is still particularly average by today’s NFL standards, their preparedness ranks right there with the best of ’em. They haven’t had a moment of controversy, a moment of off-the-field idiocy that undermines the team. That speaks to the coach, in this case [Lovie] Smith, the same way it spoke to the respect Tony Dungy‘s players had for him all those years.”


  • WBAY-TV has taken down a video of Aaron Rogers blowing past a cancer patient who wanted an autograph.  Mike Florio at comments:

“The folks at WBAY, who probably should have realized that the station’s relationship with the only team in town may have been undermined with the publication of the video of Rodgers treating a cancer patient like a panhandler with leprosy, apparently have taken down the clip.  The key moment has been uploaded to YouTube.  Check it out before it disappears, too.”

Here it is.  For now.

  • Fortunately Clay Mathews chose to show more class:

“Asked if he’s stunned the season is over, Brady said: ‘You always are. It’s like you’re on the treadmill running at 10 miles an hour, and then someone just hits the stop button.'”

“It is tough.  Your emotions are going to be at one extreme. You’re either going to be really happy or really sad, and I hate that we all have to feel this way.”

“Well you work on one thing all week and then you get something different. We adjusted, but at the end of the day it’s about us making plays and moving the ball down the field. We didn’t do that on a consistent basis.”

One Final Thought

I love Bart Scott.  He sounds off, starting with a statement that the Bears need to remember this week.  Via ESPN:

Bears Run and Stop the Run Against the Right Team at the Right Time

Brain Urlacher bottom lines the defensive performance yesterday with this comment via Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune:

“We stopped the run early — the whole game actually.  We got off the field on third down. We got pressure on the quarterback. We didn’t get any takeaways but did exactly what we wanted to do the whole game until the last couple drives.”

Steve Rosenbloom at the Tribune would seem to agree:

Marshawn Lynch average a half-yard a carry. Justin Forsett ran for nine — count ‘em, nine -– yards. Cutler out-rushed Seattle, period. Talk about making a team one-dimensional immediately, and a bad dimension, at that.”

I don’t care how many skill position guys you have or how wonderful your quarterback is.  Football games are still won and lost at the line of scrimmage.  That was never so evident as it was yesterday.

The Bears dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  Not only that but they did it through sheer force of will.

It was evident that the Seahawks had shot their wad the week before against the Saints because they came out flat as a pancake and never recovered.  The Bears did what you do against a team like that.  You dominate them physically and mentally.  Kudos.

Credit the Offensive Line but Beware the Blitz

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune comments: on the performance of the offensive line yesterday:

“What has marked this turnaround season has been consistent defensive performances and an improving offense. The offensive line, which was overrun by the Seahawks in Week 6, was much better.”

Bears tight end Greg Olsen agrees via Fred Mitchell at the Tribune:

“I don’t think you can give enough credit to our offensive line.  I know we had a few breakdowns that weren’t necessarily their fault. But they played great.  Jay [Cutler] had some good time back there to let the receivers and stuff develop.”

But leave it to Dan Pompei, also at the Tribune really puts it in perspective in his column:

“If there is one story from this Bears season, it is their offensive line.

“How it was inadequate at the start.

“How it has evolved and improved through individual effort, relentless coaching and continuity.

“And how it ultimately will decide if this team achieves all it desires.”


The offensive line did a great job yesterday.  They generally built a wall to protect Jay Cutler and they dominated the line of scrimmage as the Bears practically ran over the Seahawks all game.  But there’s a caveat that has to be mentioned:

“How far the line has come was evident in the Seahawks’ game plan. In October, the Seahawks blitzed 21 times and capitalized on the Bears’ inexperience and unfamiliarity. On Sunday, the Seahawks rarely rushed more than four.”

Though Pompei chooses to frame it in a positive light, the fact remains that the Seahawks didn’t blitz much yesterday.  And I thought that was a huge mistake because that is what has been this team’s achilles heel.  Seattle coach Pete Carroll explained it this way via Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times:

“The situations, all the down-and-distances were much shorter.  We had a lot of third-and-8s and more last time. This time it was third-and-three, -four, -five the whole time.”

Regardless, when the Seahawks did blitz, at least to my eye, they got good pressure on Cutler.

Its also possible that the Seahawks were afraid to blitz with the Bears running the ball so effectively.  But I can guarantee that won’t stop the Packers.  And the Bears had better be ready to handle it – more than they were yesterday.  As Pompei acknowledges as with his finishing line:

“The Bears offensive line, then, likely will be the story of the NFC championship game. As it has been the story of the Bears season.”

Cutler Does the Right Things by Not Doing the Wrong Things

There were two things fans were worried about yesterday when it came to leading the Bears offense into the playoffs against the Seahawks.  One was that Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz would continue to call for the ball to be thrown recklessly around the yard like he did against the Packers in the last regular season game.  The other was that quarterback Jay Cutler would try to do too much to make plays on the big stage.

I was pretty confident that Martz would control himself – which he did.  I was a lot less confident about the second concern.

David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune comments upon the Performance of the Bears quarterback yesterday:

“There’s no telling what Cutler really wanted to say after Sunday’s game to those of us who have been critical of his demeanor. But what was clearest and most relevant was that Cutler began the process of joining the ranks of the NFL quarterbacking elite with a nearly flawless playoff performance.”

Flawless it wasn’t.  But Cutler clearly did exactly what he had to do to allow the team to win.

The worst pass of the afternoon was when Seattle safety Jordan Babineaux dropped an easy interception at the goal line.  But really that was more a result of a brain cramp than a desire to make a play that wasn’t there, I think.

Other than that, Cutler was calm and cool.  And he didn’t do anything stupid with the ball.  He even threw it away a couple times.  And, instead of throwing into coverage, he decided to run with the ball.  Vaughn McClure, also at the Tribune comments:

“Bears quarterback Jay Cutler implied last week he might sling it all over the field Sunday, depending on what the Seahawks’ defense gave him. Well, judging by the running lanes Cutler discovered on his own, the Bears were wise to keep it on the ground.”

Not only was it effective but it gives the Packers one more headache to have to deal with as they prepare for the game this Sunday.

As one of those people spending too much time psychoanalyzing Cutler as a leader last week, I’d like to also give him all the credit in the world for what he did as an individual on the field.  He did a great job yesterday as much because of what he didn’t do as what he did.