On a frigid afternoon with swirling brutal side winds that wreaked of death and decay, bare body parts stuck to smooth surfaces like they had been super-glued.
And that was just in the restrooms. Outside it was even nastier.
The only thing more frigid than the snow and rock-hard frozen Soldier Field, was the Seattle offense. The timing was missing as passes sailed over the heads of confused and apathetic receivers time and again.
The Seahawks had a terrific game plan which they executed to perfection: run up the middle for very short gains on the first two plays, then hit receivers in the hands on third downs where they would drop the ball like an ice cube, forcing a punt. Seattle punted on their first eight straight drives, consuming the entire first half and part of the second.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks' zone defense was very effective at covering the parts of the field where there was no receiver, but terrible at covering the parts where the Chicago wideouts actually were positioned. Play after play saw four or five Seahawks looking like bored baseball outfielders with wide open Chicago receivers having 5-10 yards between themselves and the nearest defender.
It wasn't as if Chicago needed to pass. First-down runs continually yielded scampers of a half dozen yards or more. With teeth chattering from blizzard-like conditions, the Seahawks consequently spent the game trying to defend second-down short yardage situations.
When Seattle reacted on second or third downs by bringing up the defensive backfield, Chicago sent their wideouts downfield where they were more wide open than ever. Cutler did remarkably well at hitting those receivers and unlike Seattle, the Bears didn’t drop the ball.
Seattle’s defenders couldn’t catch the ball either. When Cutler hit free safety Jordan Babineaux in the numbers at the goal line on the Bears' second drive, he too did what his teammates on offense were doing: he dropped the ball for no apparent reason.
About the only pass receiver Mike Williams caught was one for a touchdown late in the game when Chicago's Charles Tillman knocked the pass right into the hands of the startled receiver. That made the score 35-17, Chicago, with just over two minutes left in the game.
So just how ugly was it?
Seattle had the ball seven times in the first half, and punted seven times. Meanwhile, the Bears scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions.
The Bears enjoyed the biggest playoff lead at halftime since 1941, when they were ahead of Green Bay by 23 points.
By the third quarter, Chicago backs were doing push-ups and goofing off after more failed Seattle drives, so unchallenged were they.
It was obvious the Seahawks team that showed up for this game was nothing like the one that upset the Saints, and there would be no upset in Chicago.
Later when Seattle hit a field goal to trail 28-3, FOX announcers rightly questioned why the Seahawks would try for only a field goal.
It's difficult for Seattle fans to get too depressed about this loss though. Coach Pete Carroll’s staff made 284 separate player transactions this year, and yet Seattle still managed to win the NFC West and a playoff game.
With Carroll running this team, most of us have seen enough to conclude this may be his worst team as a Seattle coach. If that is the case, better days are indeed on the horizon.
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