It should come as no surprise that the two biggest areas of weakness in the Bears’ 23-20 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday were the same alarming issues all off-season: the offensive line and the secondary. With some respect to the defensive backs, the defensive line wasn’t helping them out much with any quarterback pressure, but they still got picked apart by a Seahawks team that is not very good.
The Bears looked as though they were on their way to having a productive afternoon on the first drive of the game. They got a big pass interference play when Jay Cutler went deep for Devin Hester, and Matt Forte punched in a touchdown run a few plays later. After that, it looked like a completely different team on the field.
The Bears largely ignored the run game, as most expected they would against the Seahawks’ tough run defense. Forte had just eight carries for 11 yards and Chester Taylor ran the ball four times for 31 yards. It was another rocky day for Cutler as he completed just 17 of his 39 passes for 290 yards, no scores and no interceptions. The offensive line was a disaster again as Cutler was harassed all game and was sacked six times.
Conversely, the Bears didn’t get a single sack on defense nor did they record one takeaway. When you fail to do either of those, you seldom win games. It was by the good graces of Seattle punter Jon Ryan that the game was even within three points. Ryan actually made the mistake of punting to Hester late in the game — after he kicked away from him nearly the entire game. Hester fielded the ball, took it across the field and down the sideline for an 89-yard touchdown, tying the NFL record for kick return touchdowns. Ryan was annihilated on the play from a blindside block by Earl Bennett.
There wasn’t much to be encouraged about in the loss. Even Danieal Manning, who has been a bright spot for the Bears this season on both defense and special teams, had trouble fielding a couple kickoffs due to the sun and couldn’t find much running room. When the defense fails to get pressure on the opposing quarterback and the secondary can’t defend the receivers, bad things will happen. When the offensive line can’t block anybody, bad things will happen.
What little solace can be taken from Sunday is that the Packers lost to the Dolphins in overtime, and thus, the Bears maintained their grasp on the NFC North division lead.
For more thoughts and analysis, read my Monday Morning Quarterback tomorrow.