Yeah, the Chicago Bears punted on all 10 of their possession in Sunday’s 26-0 shutout loss in Seattle, but they did some surprisingly good things on defense – at least for the first half.
Starting the season 0-3 for the first time since 2003, the Bears aren’t doing themselves any favors moving forward, but even if they had everyone healthy when they faced NFC elite Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle. That schedule to open the year is brutal in itself.
The shutout isn’t a good look as it marks the first time since 2002 that the Bears have been blanked. Under center that day was Henry Burris, who made his one and only NFL start. The 40-year-old is still a professional quarterback, playing currently in the CFL.
After a rather promising showing against the Packers in Week 1, the Bears completely unraveled when Jay Cutler was forced out with a hamstring injury against Arizona last Sunday. This game however was not a total blowout. Not at all.
The Bears trailed 6-0 at the break before allowing a devastating 105-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Much like the 108-yard kickoff return to start last week’s game against Arizona, this score once again by a rookie in Tyler Lockett set the tone for the rest of the day.
Seattle tricked the Bears in the first quarter on a 64-yard punt return by Richard Sherman which set up the first of four Steven Hauschka field goals made. The play was stolen straight out of the Dave Toub book of special teams as Lockett made everyone think he was going to catch the ball but indeed Sherman was there on the opposite side of the field for the play to be had.
The Bears ran that same exact gadget play with Devin Hester and Johnny Knox lined up on a punt during the 2011 season, but the score was called back due to a holding penalty.
In the second quarter, it appeared the Bears finally had caught the break they needed trailing 3-0, but after a second John Fox challenge nothing was called. Instead, the Bears were out of challenges for the game when they could have taken over possession at the Seahawks 13-yard-line. It was a very sloppy call by Carl Cheffers and his crew.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 27, 2015
After the game CBS Sports Insider Zach Zaidman alluded to the Bears’ team media guide that this is the first time in a season that the Bears have allowed two kickoff return touchdowns.
The Bears had a plan to ride Matt Forte all day long. On 20 carries, he gained 74 yards. Seattle stacked the box often and the Bears’ offense was one dimensional to say the least.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase used three tight end formations and formations with an extra lineman often. They even used wildcat once in this game.
The stats are almost unforgettable as Jimmy Clausen connected on 9-of-17 pass attempts for 63 yards for a measly average of 3.7 yards per completion. It’s hard to fault Clausen as he was thrown into spot duty in perhaps the toughest stadium in all of pro sports at Century Link Field.
You have to believe, the Bears would’ve had a prayer of being in the game or at least could have recorded some points if Cutler was able to go. However, that was not that case and even if No. 6 did play, Alshon Jeffery was still out which made things very hard for this unit.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod left in the second half with a concussion which paved the way for second-year tackle Charles Leno Jr. Forte got his back bent awkwardly on a third-down run stuff, but he appeared to be fine as he came back onto the field.
Penalties played a huge part in the Bears’ demise as they opened up the game with an inxcusable delay of game call.
On the second drive of the day, Kyle Long picked up a false start penalty on a manageable 3rd-and-5. Vladimir Ducasse picked up a holding call and then Clausen followed with another delay of game penalty early in the third quarter.
Overall, the Bears had only one possession in Seattle territory when they made it to their 45-yard-line in the second quarter. Backup tight end Zach Miller led the team in receiving with one catch for 21 yards.
Things could have been a whole lot worse, but Gase kept his playbook limited with the shaky Clausen out there and they at least won the time of posession battle in the first half.
After limiting Russell Wilson to only 87 passing yards in the first half and two field goals, the Bears’ defense finally allowed a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Seahawks added three big plays on the drive with a 21-yard run by rookie back Thomas Rawls, a 22-yard grab by Doug Baldwin on third-down and then the dagger to tight end Jimmy Graham for a 30-yard touchdown to move ahead 20-0.
Graham picked up the first down initially on 3rd-and-5 and then beat Bears rotational safety Brock Vereen for the score. It was a bad whiff by Vereen, who found it very tough to bring down the 6-foot-7 Pro Bowler.
Jarvis Jenkins and Pernell McPhee each broke through with two sacks apiece as the Bears finally recorded a sack on the young season. Jenkins should have had another sack later in the game, but couldn’t bring down the mobile Wilson.
It was nice to see the Bears finally generate pressure. The team added 10 hits with McPhee leading the way with four while Lamarr Houston and Jenkins had two and Jared Allen and Will Sutton each had one.
Sutton left the game with a biceps injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. He was replaced by Eddie Goldman, who failed to show up on the stat sheet. Jenkins filled the void along the line with a team-high 10 tackles.
The Seahawks offensive line is not one of the best and Vic Fangio took advantage at times, but when the Bears’ defense got tired it was very evident. Rookie back Rawls totaled 16 rushes for 104 yards. He had 14 carries for 98 yards all in the second half with Marshawn Lynch out with a hamstring injury.
It certainly wasn’t a bad performance by the Bears’ defense as they allowed Seatle to convert only 5-of-19 third downs as Wilson averaged just 5.9 yards per pass. When they review the game film there will be plenty of positives to take away from this game defensively.
The Bears host the 2-1 Oakland Raiders next week at Soldier Field. After Oakland was able to put up 469 yards of total offense in a road win over Cleveland, you have to wonder if the Bears will be able to keep up especially if Cutler is out once again.
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