After Sydney Rice flopped into the endzone in overtime to secure a Seahawks’ victory, I took some time to first calm down, and second to reevaluate what I just saw. I was more focused on the Bears’ inability to make a play on defense when they needed to rather than taking notice of what was actually happening on the field.
This was one of those times in sports where you have to relinquish your ties to your team or city and just give an opposing player the credit he deserves. Russell Wilson made play after play to deny another crucial Bears’ victory. He came into Soldier Field and was determined to make every throw, every first down, and to keep the Bears on their feet for the entirety of the game.
And for the most part, that is exactly what he did.
Russell Wilson capitalized where the Bears failed to and put on a dazzling display of athleticism and his keen ability as a rookie to read a defense. We've heard all about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III but have been neglecting the fact that this 5'11” quarterback has his team at 7-5 and in a position to play in a playoff game.
The Bears did not give this game away, Russell Wilson took it.
The final drives
Before I dive in to the analytics of the final drive, here are Wilson’s overall stats: 23-37, 293 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 104.9 passer rating, and 9 carries for 71 yards (13 ypc).
The Seahawks ended Cutler’s unbeaten streak of 25-0 when he achieves a 100+ passer rating. Cutler, in a sense, out-played Wilson, but Wilson got more opportunities to make plays and therefore won the game. I won't belittle Wilson’s performance; as the numbers show, he was highly impressive on the road.
As for the final drives, for a Bears fan it was hard enough watching one monster drive essentially crush our hopes before the Cutler bomb to Marshall to set up a game-tying field goal. But to watch two consecutively was the equivalent to Pete Carroll hitting me repeatedly with a hammer.
It was a sad sight for Bears fans who have been accustomed to the Bears making at least one stop in that situation. And, as the slow-developing drive went on, we all expected it to happen at some point. Whether it was a turnover on downs or a key interception, we all sat back patiently and watched as Russell Wilson delivered crushing blow after crushing blow.
The defense looked like a team with aging veterans, who were too tired to do anything to stop the Seahawks’ momentum. Seattle faced a number of third downs, and a couple fourth downs, but converted everything on designed QB runs and option reads. The bloody read-option was killing the Bears, as the ends kept breaking away from scheme and stunting inside to make a tackle on Lynch rather than Wilson.
Wilson was agile in the pocket, and made plays to get out in open space.
On the first drive, on a third down, he scrambled for a good 5-7 seconds before the coverage opened up and he found Sydney Rice open at the 14-yard line. The Bears could not keep him in the pocket, and time and time again he beat the defense with his feet. His two touchdown throws made it apparent that the Bears were losing focus, as both Tate and Rice were wide-open before the ball was even in the air. The lack of any form of tackling brought this team to the 8-4 record they are at now.
Tough to swallow
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall did everything in their power to win this game. Even the offensive line stepped up again, allowing no sacks, but the defense couldn't make a play and it cost them. The offense is progressing and Jay Cutler is back to where he was in 2011 before the thumb injury. His 119.6 passer rating shows how far he and this offense have come.
Brandon Marshall had 10 catches for 165 yards against arguably the best secondary in the NFL, and the Bears still failed to win this game. It's a game this team will have to use as motivation going forward. It's a game that can't fester in that locker room, as this team is now in a Wild Card that’s closer than expected.
It's a tough loss to swallow, and it stings at just the thought, but as I said after the two-game losing streak, this team has enough talent and personal to be successful.