Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
Record: 8-4 (2-1)
8-4 (3-0) Green Bay Packers
6-6 (2-2) Minnesota Vikings
4-8 (0-4) Detroit Lions
That was tough to watch. The Bears lost to a team who has played lousy on the road, and surprisingly it was the defense who was the bigger letdown.
Considering all of the injuries and missing players, I thought the offense did remarkably well. There are 3/5 missing linemen, and 2 receivers started the game out. We also lost Earl Bennet to a concussion during the game. Mike Tice has finally started play calling the way he should have been from the beginning of the season. If the offense now had played this way in that Packers game back in week 2, we would have won. (Granted, their offense wasn't playing remarkably well either at that time). Still, the Bears are taking a balanced approach. They're trying to stick with the run game, but if the other team it shutting that down, they're getting passes out. It's working very well and the only sack they allowed was due to Cutler bobbling the ball and recovering his own fumble. There were definitely some missed opportunities, but overall I was very happy with how the offense played this week against a good defense.
Disappointing. The fake silver lining of this game was that they held Marshawn Lynch to only 87 rushing yards...but they allowed 71 rushing yards by the quarterback AND they allowed over 450 yards of total offense by the Seahawks. The end of the game was an utter disaster. With about 3 minutes left and a 4 point lead, the defense allowed a 90 yard touchdown drive followed by an 80 yard touchdown drive to give up the game in OT. I don't know if the age of the players is showing late in the season or if other teams have just started to figure our defense out. It's just disappointing to have the offense finally start clicking despite numerous injuries and then the defense stops playing.
The punt and coverage team did a great job yesterday. With just a few minutes left, they had the Seahawks back on their own 5 yard line. Sadly on punt and kick returns, Hester is definitely missed. He hasn't been explosive this year, but the threat is always there. In addition, Eric Weems tries to run things that he shouldn't. We started back on the 15 or less when we should have been at the 20 several times. We need the old kick returning Hester back and off of the offense. He doesn't make enough of an impact there to justify the loss of his return game.
Mike Tice did a great job. Starting last week, he finally seems to have a grasp of how to play call with this offense. Especially with how they've had to deal with injuries, they've been very productive these last two games. He's even started getting Matt Forte involved in the receiving game again. It took longer than I thought it should have, but I'm glad to see Tice calling the offense well. Hopefully we'll get to see how much better it can be once some of the injured players like Alshon Jeffery start coming back.
Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli need to figure out what happened in this game (and against the 49ers). Lovie should not have made the call to go for it on 4th down early in the first half. We were in easy field goal range and our running game wasn't effective. Take the 3 points to go up 10-0. I know that everyone always says that hindsight is 20-20, but I thought it was a bad idea before they went for it. On the other side of the ball, our defense has been embarrassed in 2 of the last 3 games. Something's wrong and they need to figure it out fast.
We're 8-4 with no "easy" games down the stretch, 3 divisional games, and only 1 home game against probably our toughest opponent. It's going to be a stressful end of the season.