Four Downs: Keys to beating the Seahawks (12/18/11)

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Stopping the run will be an important key for the second-straight week.
Stopping the run will be an important key for the second-straight week.

A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the Seattle Seahawks.

1. Stop Marshawn Lynch and force Tarvaris Jackson to beat you

Much like last week, the key for a Bears win this week will be focusing on stopping the run and forcing the quarterback to beat them. The Seahawks truly don’t run or pass well, but they’re a much better run team with Lynch averaging 4.3 yards per carry and recording 969 yards and nine touchdowns. By taking him away, the Bears will put the ball in the hands of Jackson, who has thrown just 11 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions and has been sacked 33 times, fourth-most in the league. The Seahawks don’t have a lot of receiving options and the Bears should be able to pressure Jackson into making a few mistakes.

2. Target Earl Bennett more and get rid of the ball quickly

The player who has suffered most from the injury to Jay Cutler is his favorite target, wide receiver Earl Bennett. In the three games that Caleb Hanie has been the Bears quarterback, Bennett has caught just two passes for 10 yards and his name has barely been mentioned during broadcasts. I’m not sure whether he’s been phased out of the offensive game plan by Mike Martz or if Hanie just doesn’t look his way, but he needs to have a bigger role on game day considering he’s the Bears’ best receiver. The other part of the passing equation is to have Hanie get rid of the ball quickly. Only bad things can happen the longer that Hanie holds on to the ball. He’ll either get sacked because the offensive line is struggling to protect him and he can’t read the pressure as well as Cutler can. Or, he’ll outthink himself and make some poor decisions with the football. He needs to make short drops and get the ball out of his hand quickly or else defenses will continue to tee off on him.

3. Play a game of field position

I feel like a broken record saying this but it’s the single most important key for the Bears for as long as Cutler remains sidelined with an injury and a bad NFL quarterback is taking snaps for the offense. Hanie cannot move this offense consistently; he can barely complete a pass or move the chains. It’s imperative for the Bears defense to prevent the Seahawks offense from moving the ball too far down the field so that the Bears offense does not get pinned deep in its own end. If that should happen, it’s a recipe for a three and out and a long afternoon.

4. Play a full 60 minutes … or more

For about 55 and a half minutes last week, the Bears smacked the Broncos around — at least, the defense did — until the final four and a half minutes when the Broncos scored a touchdown on a long drive and then capitalized off a Marion Barber mental mistake by tying the game with a field goal and sending it into overtime. From there, the Bears made a nice drive on the opening possession, but Barber failed to protect the football with two hands and fumbled away the game. The Bears are a bad team right now, but they’re better equipped than the Broncos and they deserved to win the game. But they didn’t play a complete game and Denver did. That was the difference. The Bears aren’t good enough to let their guard down for one minute.

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