After a lot of anticipation and speculation, the Chicago Bears managed to come into the divisional round and beat the Seattle Seahawks 35-24. This game wasn’t as close as the score might indicate and the win helps propel the Bears into the NFC Championship game next week against the Green Bay Packers.
It’s certainly a great moment for the Chicago Bears players, their fans and the city but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is still work to do but it’s a great feeling to know that your favorite team is just one win away from going to the Super Bowl.
So what did we learn about the Bears in their game against the Seahawks this Sunday? Let’s find out as we look at ten things that we noticed about the Bears in their game against the Seahawks.
The Bears got two sacks from their defensive line in this game and did get some pressure on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck but they could have gotten a little bit more and stopped him from completing some of the passes that he managed to complete. It is a lot better showing (by the defensive line) than it was in their first game but they could have gotten more pressure on Hasselbeck in this game.
They will have to get a lot of pressure on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers next week in order to have success against them.
Even though he didn’t rush for over one hundred yards, running back Matt Forte had a good game and the game plan that was called was excellent. The Bears had a good ratio of runs to passes and that allowed them to control the ball and the clock and take the Seahawks offense off the field for the most part. This in turn helped the defense rest and helped them hold Seattle off for three quarters (remember that Seattle had a pretty big fourth quarter) and was a big part of the Bears win this Sunday.
Tillman is one of the league’s most underrated cornerbacks and the game that he played on Sunday may have been his best game as a Bear. For three quarters he shut down Seattle wide receiver Mike Williams (remember that he was the guy that burned the Bears in their first game) and had a direct hand in the Bear’s victory. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets and is the Bears true shutdown corner.
Although the two sacks that Harris had in this game may not save his career with the Bears after the season is over, you have to give Harris a lot of credit for improving his play. His play in the game this Sunday was a big part of the Bears success on the defensive line. Hopefully he has one or two more good games in him as the Bears advance towards the NFC Championship game next week.
If you didn’t notice, Cutler didn’t make a mistake in this game and played a very good game for his first playoff game since high school. He made a lot of good throws, threw the ball away when he had to and ran the ball when he could (see his two touchdowns as evidence of that). He appeared to have good poise in the pocket and didn’t try to make something out of nothing. His first playoff start was a good one.
The Bears had some trouble making some good coaching decisions at various points in the season but overall their decisions in this game were good. Lovie Smith’s decision to go for it on fourth and one close to the goal line might have scared a few people (for fear that the Bears would continue to have the same goal line problems that they had during the regular season) but it turned out ok and the Bears won the game.
The Bears special teams played very well on Sunday except on one occasion where they gave up a long return. The Seahawks were able to get some points off of that return and this helped spark a slight comeback by the Seahawks.
Graham helped down two punts inside the five yard line for the Bears giving the Seahawks poor field position. He made some tackles on special teams as well and was all over the field on special teams. He had to play well in order for the special teams to have a good outing and he did just that.
The wildcat worked once and that one time that it did it worked nicely. The Bears tried it a second time and it didn’t do that much but the third time was a charm, if you were the Seahawks. Running back Matt Forte dropped back and threw an interception out of the wildcat which was returned a distance and helped set up a score for the Seahawks. They should only use the wildcat sparingly especially in their remaining playoff games.
The field looked pretty rough at the outset and the cold and snow didn’t help. The players had problems with their footing at times and it looked like it had an influence on the way that the Bears defensive line was able get up the field but it didn’t look like it affected the Bears that much. It may end up being an equalizer in next week’s game (against the Packers) because it may help keep Green Bay’s speedy offense at bay and give the Bears an advantage
The Bears offensive line played a great game and gave Cutler all kinds of time to throw the ball. They had a few plays in which they formed a solid “wall” not allowing defenders to get past that wall and get to the quarterback. Let’s just hope that can repeat that same kind of success next Sunday against the Packers.