Four Downs: Keys to beating the Seahawks (09/27/15)

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

1. Get rid of the ball quickly

How do you formulate a game plan to beat one of the top teams in the league (albeit an 0-2 one) in one of the most difficult stadiums in the league for a road team to play in? If I knew how to do that, I’d have a direct line to Halas Hall and would be sharing my intel with John Fox. But I don’t see a way to do it, so here’s what the Bears should do if they could. First step is getting rid of the ball quickly. The Seahawks have a tenacious pass rush and can get after the quarterback. Not to mention, they have a fearsome secondary that will feast off poorly thrown passes. With Jimmy Clausen slated to start and with the Bears banged up at the receiver position, we’re looking at a dink-and-dunk offensive unit that prevents the Seahawks from getting to Clausen and keeps the ball out of harm’s way.

2. Utilize Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte in the passing game

With the previous key noted, who are the best targets to throw to in a dink-and-dunk offense? The tight end and the running back, of course. Try to line up Forte in different formations, move him around in the backfield and split him out wide to get a matchup against a linebacker. Check down to Bennett for short gains. This is all easier said than done, of course, but the Bears are more likely to succeed getting the ball in these players’ hands inside five to ten yards than they are trying to whiz a ball past Richard Sherman to one of their hampered receivers.

3. Keep the clock moving and win time of possession

For every incomplete pass, for every turnover, and for every three-and-out possession, the Bears are giving the Seahawks ample opportunity to run up the score. They have to run the football effectively and complete short passes that keep the chains moving and keep Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense on the sideline. And when Seattle does have the football, they need to prevent the big play. Go ahead and let Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch morph into “Beast Mode” and churn out the tough yardage 3 or 4 yards at a time. That’s fine. That just means it takes them that much longer to put points on the board and it doesn’t let the score get out of control quickly.

4. Stay disciplined and take 12th Man out of the game

Seattle is one of the toughest places to play because the “12th Man” crowd is so loud. Opponents’ offensive penalties are so numerous because they can’t hear the quarterback’s signals. The Bears can’t play stupid and undisciplined and give the crowd reason to be any louder than normal. The Bears tied a franchise record for penalty yards last week against the Cardinals and that alone can get a team beat, let alone what happens when the clock is moving. At the very least, if the Bears can play a clean game, it might not be as embarrassing just getting beat by a more talented team.

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