That was an ugly loss, but not as ugly as the score would dictate. Granted the Bears were outplayed in every aspect of the game, but this should have been a much closer game in the 1st half. There were three plays in particular which could have drastically changed the outcome. All three plays went the Seahawks way and they rolled to an easy 34-6 win against the Bears.
The biggest missed opportunity was a 40-yard plus post pattern to Alshon Jeffery that hit him right in the hands for what would have been a sure touchdown and a tie game at 7-7, but Jeffery dropped it. The defensive back may have been credited with a pass breakup but Jeffery was already in the process of dropping it by the time he made contact. It was a great route by Jeffery and an even better pass from Cutler. It was one of many great passes Cutler threw tonight; He did throw a bad red zone INT and almost another INT after a great play by the DB, but overall Cutler continued his excellent play this preseason. He had another TD pass in the 1st half on a 2 yard out to TE Dante Rosario but it was negated due to a phantom PI on Brandon Marshall. That is 14 points right there that the Bears should have had in the first half.
The defense gave up way to many yards and points, but they weren’t overwhelmed. The Bears D-line actually did a great job of putting pressure on Wilson during the first half, but to his credit he kept evading the rush and finding an open receiver. It’s hard to blame anyone on those plays. The D-line did their job but just couldn’t catch Wilson while he scrambled around and the defensive backs can’t be expected to cover forever and Wilson’s long scrambles gave his receivers time to get open. There were times when the Seahawks moved the ball at will, but down 7-0 (should have been 7-7) the Bears had an offsides penalty on 3rd & 5 (Ratliff) and then Lance Briggs had a really dumb late hit penalty after Wilson was stopped and about to face a 3rd and long. Those two penalties were too much for the Bears D to overcome and all of a sudden it was 14-0 and the Bears were on the ropes.
The Bears first string defense didn’t stop the Seahawks at all in the 1st half (5 drives, 31 points) but they really weren’t as bad as the score insinuates. The defensive line got constant pressure on Wilson, but he played the best game I have ever seen from Russell and I am a Wisconsin fan so I’ve been watching him for a while. The Bears forced the Seahawks into 14 3rd down situations, they just couldn’t stop Wilson (10-14 on 3rd downs). If the Bears D-line plays like that the rest of the season, then they will be just fine. That being said, they need to be better in the secondary and with the underneath coverage by the linebackers. There were too many plays that the D-line forced Wilson into a dump off pass and the underneath receiver was wide open with room to run.
It’s hard to believe given the score, but Jay Cutler actually played really well. He managed to move the ball on multiple drives against the toughest defense in the NFL in by far the toughest stadium to play. If you watched the whole game you saw the trouble that backup QBs Palmer and Clausen had with the crowd noise. I guarantee it was louder in the first half when the game was still in doubt and Cutler wasn’t fazed at all. On the day Cutler finished 12-20 for 157 yards and 1 INT, but it should have been closer to a 15-20, 225, 2 TD game in the toughest atmosphere in the NFL. It may sound like I’m making excuses for Cutler, but he deserved better from his offense today.
This recap is more positive than it should be after a 28 point loss, but I was actually encouraged by some of the things I saw today. Jay Cutler is more accurate and poised than at any time in his Bears career and the Bears defense is absolutely better than it was last year. The D still has a ways to go before anyone is going to call them the Monsters of the Midway, but our D-line (1st & 2nd string) is getting consistent pressure on QBs which is something they just didn’t do last year.
The Bears faced the stiffest test possible today against the defending NFL champions on their home turf. They came up way short on the scoreboard and clearly have some areas they need to improve, but I saw enough positive signs that I’m confident that Bears are a better team than they were last year on both sides of the ball and good enough to make a run for the North title.
Tags: Chicago Bears