The Bears started their divisional round game against the Seattle Seahawks fast, jumping out to a 21-0 halftime lead and coasted through the second half to beat the Seattle Seahawks 35-24 to advance to the NFC Championship game. As much as the Week 6 loss was a total team loss in all three phases of the game, this playoff win was an all-around team win.
The Bears corrected the errors that cost them back in Week 6 – the offensive line protected, they maintained great balance on offense and some well-timed pressure on Matt Hasselbeck helped pave the way to the biggest game Soldier Field has ever seen – Bears vs Packers with the NFC Championship on the line. The Seahawks were able to get some late scores in garbage time, but it’s clear that the Bears had already turned their thoughts toward next Sunday.
The only time the Seahawks were really able to do anything on offense was after costly mistakes by the Bears. After terrible coverage led to a terrific Leon Washington kickoff return, the Seahawks capitalized for a field goal. They also were able to cash in on a silly Matt Forte interception out of a Wildcat play. Even the Seahawks last TD was a Mike Williams shoestring grab after Peanut Tillman missed the interception.
While I’m obviously happy with the result and impressed with how the Bears started, I am a little concerned with how they finished up the game. Like I said, maybe they let their guard down and just coasted, but they cannot have the kind of breakdowns that they did next week. Let’s close it out with some bullet points after the jump.
- Greg Olsen of the first half, where have you been all these years? Three catches for 113 yards – most ever by a Bears TE (and that includes Ditka) – and a 58 yard touchdown. Loved seeing him get the ball in space and challenging the seams. Just outstanding work by Martz scheming to create mismatches.
- Honorable mention to Kellen Davis, who hauled in a 3rd and 1 play action pass for the Bears’ final score, which turned out to be more important than it seemed at the time when it was scored. Good job by the tight ends this week.
- Jay Cutler (The Playoff Virgin) became a man on Sunday. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Most importantly, he didn’t throw it away and took good care of the football.
- Hey look, Tommie Harris! He came up with two sacks to take me back to early 2006 when he once dominated routinely. He didn’t get to make the Super Bowl run back then when he got knocked out for the season, so he’s fired up to contribute to this year’s run.
- Corey Graham is just outstanding on special teams. Did you see him covering punts? In a game where field position was so important, he was stellar.
- PS – Brad Mayanrd, not too shabby punting the ball either.
- Note to Mike Martz – take the page in the playbook where Matt Forte throws a pass, rip it out and BURN IT!
- How about the job the Bears did to bottle up Mike Williams? After his 10 catch performance in Week 6, the Bears and Peanut Tillman were able to neutralize him. He had a few catches, but didn’t nearly have the impact that he did back in October.
- After the Bears went 0-fer on third downs in Week 6, they put together a 10 out of 18 conversion rate this week.
- The Bears dominated time of possession, with roughly a 37 minute to 23 minute advantage. That’s what happens when you run the ball.
- Matt Forte was a big part of the Bears’ success on offense. Besides his 80 yards rushing, he added 54 yards receiving.
- If you’re in the Chicago area, tune in to my buddy Bart who will be representing Bear Goggles On at WGN Radio 720AM at 2:35 PM Central time to talk about the game. If you’re not local, click this link to listen online. If you miss it, we’ll try to get a podcast up for you later.
Question of the day – did this guy just run out of paint?
And last, but certainly not least, this sign says it all:
Stay tuned to Bear Goggles On for wall to wall coverage leading up to Bears vs Packers for the NFC Championship next Sunday. Can anyone else say BEARmaggedon?