Home-field nightmare: Bears D lets Wilson, Seahawks get away
December 2, 2012, 5:38 pm
The Bears had the Seattle Seahawks – twice – exactly where they generally will say they want any opponent: in Soldier Field, a long way from the Chicago end zone and needing a touchdown to win.
The trouble on Sunday was that it was the Seattle that had the Bears exactly where they wanted them.
Down 14-10 when they got the ball with 3 minutes to play, the Seahawks proceeded to drive 107 (with a 10-yard penalty they had to re-take ground previously captured) yards on their last possession of regulation, and 85 (Seattle tried to help with a delay of game penalty) yards on their first possession of overtime. They posted six first downs on each of those drives, converting four of six third downs against a defense that was fatigued by its own inability to get a defensive stop.
Seattle put 459 yards on the Bears, the most by any opponent this season. The Bears were allowing 307 per game coming in. Worse, the Seahawks scored all four times they got into the Chicago red zone, three times for touchdowns. Seattle put together three touchdown drives of 80 yards or longer.
The defense came away its 34th takeaway when Brian Urlacher forced the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s hands and into Kelvin Hayden’s. That was the end of takeaways and in the end, with the Bears unable to get off the field and allowing Seattle five possessions of eight or more plays.
DEFENSIVE LINE F
Russell Wilson’s mobility was a nightmare for the Bears’ front four, which was clearly winded by mid-fourth quarter. Julius Peppers bull-rushed guard James Carpenter (a 2011 No. 1 pick at tackle now starting at guard, like Gabe Carimi) for a sack of Russell Wilson on the first series. Stephen Paea added to rebuilding momentum in the third quarter with a sack.
Shea McClellin pressured Wilson into a number of throwaways, keeping containment. The Bears used the rookie in spots to “spy” Wilson with his speed.
But in a game where containment was the first order of defense, the Bears lost theirs too often and with the game on the line. No defensive lineman other than Peppers and Paea has so much as one quarterback hit in more than 34 minutes and 39 pass plays, not including ones that started as passes but turned into runs by Wilson.
Brian Urlacher popped the ball away from Marshawn Lynch on Seattle’s first drive, and the offense turned that into a TD. Urlacher was credited with eight solo tackles.
But Lynch finished with 4.6 yards per carry (19-87-1) and too many of Wilson’s runs were into wide-open spaces without linebacker pursuit. Seattle netted 5.5 yards per carry with Wilson’s 71 yards on nine carries.
Nick Roach had five solo tackles and Lance Briggs added five as well, one for a loss. But like the defensive line, the linebackers did not close down running lanes too often and were generally invisible in pass coverage.
Tim Jennings, who injured his shoulder on a hit of running back Michael Robinson in overtime, was handled by Golden Tate for a 49-yard completion in the second quarter to set up a tying first-half touchdown.
Major Wright had a chance for a game-ending interception but had it broken up by Sidney Rice. The Seahawks then continued what was a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter.
Charles Tillman had a team-high nine tackles, eight of them solo, broke up two passes and forced a fumble that Seattle recovered.
But Wilson completed passes to eight different receivers, five of whom had catches of 11 yards or longer. Wilson completed 23 of 37 passes for 293 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 104.9.
Schemes are only as good as the players executing them and the Bears had no answer for the combined running-passing of Russell Wilson. Coaches began assigning a spy (Shea McClellin) to Wilson in the second half but even that only was so effective when poor angles, containment and pressure were supplemented by poor tackling.
Coaches also used extensive substitutions on the line trying to keep players fresh for the fourth quarter against Wilson but it mattered little in the end.
* * *
Special teams saved the Bears in regulation but had few chances to do much else through the remainder of the game.
Robbie Gould’s 46-yarder as time expired in regulation was a game-saver. For a few minutes, anyhow. Gould took elite returner Leon Washington out of the game with touchbacks on all four of his kickoffs.
Adam Podlesh had another strong game with a 41.4-yard average on five punts, three inside the 20 and two returned a total of one yard.
Zackary Bowman created a 97-yard field for Seattle by saving a touchback to Sherrick McManis inside 4 minutes to play. The defense wasted it by failing to stop the Seahawks from point through the of the game but the play was potentially a difference-maker. Bowman and McManis also added a tackle each.
Eric Weems netted zero on one punt return and averaged 21.7 yards on three kick returns. He attempted to create something on the final kickoff in regulation but only used time and lost six yards (from where a touchback would've given the Bears the ball).
Seattle was not given many chances to create on special teams. None of Seattle’s 10 possessions started in the Chicago end and eight of the 10 started at the Seattle 20 or worse.
Tags: Julius Peppers
, Seattle Seahawks
, Chicago Bears
, Lance Briggs
, Charles Tillman
, Golden Tate
, sidney rice
, Tim Jennings
, Marshawn Lynch
, russell wilson