Chicago Bears Week 13 Report Card
Chicago Bears Week 13 Report Card
For the third consecutive season, the Chicago Bears couldn’t find an answer at home against the Seattle Seahawks, and found themselves on the short end of a 23-17 overtime loss. The momentum of this game shifted back and forth all day, but the Seahawks ended up with a stronger hold on it than the Bears in the end.
Chicago’s offense did a solid job overall. The connection between quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall was clearly the bright spot of the Bears’ offensive attack. Their backfield did a decent job of moving the ball on the ground, and surprisingly the reconstructed offensive line protected Cutler throughout the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, only one turnover was recorded, which was on the first drive of the game. Chicago’s pass defense wasn’t good at all, especially when it counted late in the game.
The Bears surrendered a touchdown with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, giving the Seahawks a three-point lead. Cutler and Marshall kept things interesting with a 56-yard pass in the final seconds of regulation, setting up the game-tying field goal that sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Bears’ defense once again surrendered a touchdown pass, ending the game and bringing their record to 8-4.
Luckily, for the Bears, this wasn’t the playoffs, because if the postseason had started today, Chicago would have faced Seattle in the wildcard round. Had things played out the way they did in Week 13, then the Bears would be no longer in the hunt for the Super Bowl title.
With this loss, the Bears are now second in the NFC North division, and are the fifth overall seed in the NFC.
Let’s look at what grades Chicago earned in this disappointing loss.
Jay Cutler played his best game since Week 9. Cutler finished the contest completing 17 of 26 pass attempts for 233 yards and two touchdowns. The seven-year quarterback’s decisiveness in the pocket helped keep numerous plays alive. In addition, Cutler’s four rushing attempts for 27 yards resulted in some big first down conversions. No throw was bigger than the 56-yard completion to Brandon Marshall in the final 20 seconds of regulation. Too bad the quarterback with the best fourth quarter QB rating didn’t have a chance to get the ball in his hands in the extra period of play.
For the second week in a row, the Bears had more running plays than passing attempts in a game. However, unlike last week, the commitment to the running game didn’t help win the time of possession battle. Although the numbers didn’t jump off the stats sheet, running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush did a solid job in moving the ball on the ground. Forte carried the ball 21 times for 66 yards, and added three receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown that gave the Bears a four-point lead in the third quarter. Bush contributed with 39 rushing yards, with his longest run being 15 yards.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Many thought that wide receiver Brandon Marshall would have his toughest game of the season going up against the Seahawks’ giant cornerback tandem. I must say that I wasn’t one of them. Marshall finished the game with 10 receptions for a season-high 165 yards. The only downside to Marshall’s game was that he was kept out of the end zone for the third time in the last four games. Only two other completions were completed by Bears receivers, one of them being by Earl Bennett for a 12-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. Bennett had a chance for another touchdown, but dropped a wide-open pass in the second quarter. That dropped pass was followed by Chicago punting a couple of plays later, and Seattle scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Aside from Marshall, no other receiver for Chicago has stepped up to be that second reliable option for Cutler in the passing game. The same goes for the tight ends, who combined for zero catches for the entire game.
With all of the injuries and changes Chicago’s offensive line has experienced over the past couple of weeks, they have taken the transition in stride. Although the did rely on some max protection help from running backs and tight ends at times, the offensive front did a good job of keeping Cutler clean throughout the game. Only one sack was surrendered, and only a handful of hits were delivered to the Bears’ quarterback. It took a while for the offensive line to establish the running game, but they did manage to pave the way for the Bears to rack up over 100 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen sooner. During the second quarter, the o-line couldn’t get a push on fourth-and-inches, which resulted in the Bears turning the ball over on downs, giving the momentum to the Seahawks.
Although the Bears’ defensive line managed to tally two sacks on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, they still had a tough time in rushing the passer. The elusiveness of the Seahawks’ signal caller made it almost impossible for Chicago’s front four to disrupt the passing game. The defensive front had an even tougher time trying to stop Seattle’s running game. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch hardly was touched at times at the line of scrimmage, and finished with 87 yards and a touchdown. Wilson didn’t make stopping the run any easier for the Bears’ defensive line with 71 rushing yards of his own.
No one in Chicago’s linebacking corps could contain Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson when scrambling out of the pocket. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher did have eight tackles and forced Chicago’s lone turnover of the game. However, tackling as a whole was inconsistent. Containing Seattle’s ground attack didn’t come easy either. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch didn’t go completely “beast mode” on the Bears, but he ran hard enough to break some arm tackles. The same goes for Seattle’s receivers. One play in particular was the Seahawks’ touchdown late in the fourth quarter, where three Bears missed on tackles, giving Seattle a three-point lead.
Chicago’s secondary had trouble defending the pass versus the Seahawks. Both of Seattle’s starting wide receivers averaged well over 15 yards per reception, and each receiver was close to 100 yards receiving for the game. The Bears’ defensive backs surrendered touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter and in overtime. The game probably wouldn’t have gone into overtime had it not been for a given-up touchdown that had been overturned due to an official replay review. There was a chance for Bears strong safety Major Wright to ice the game with an interception, but it was dropped, which gave Seattle the chance to take the lead.
Chicago’s special teams didn’t have a spectacular outing, but they did have some shining moments that kept the team within striking distance. The Bears did muff a punt, which was fortunately recovered by Chicago. There were a couple of bad punts that gave the Seahawks good field position, but there were also three punts that put Seattle inside the 20-yard line. Chicago’s only chance at a field goal was with three seconds left in the fourth quarter, which sent the game into overtime. The punt return game didn’t amass any yardage, while the kickoff return game’s longest return was only 22 yards.
Chicago’s coaching staff is still displaying a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball. The Bears had 26 called pass plays to go along with 28 running plays. The criticism that I have for the Bears’ coaching is the play calling on defense, as well as their decision gambling on a fourth down early in the game. The Bears Cover-2 defense is what they live and die by. I will admit that this defensive scheme has made them one of the best in the league. However, it didn’t work when Seattle was in the red zone late in the fourth quarter and in overtime. As for going for it on fourth-and-inches in the second quarter, Chicago’s decision to pass up points was a bad one, especially early in the game.
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