Game notes: Seahawks-Bears

Let’s talk Seahawks-Bears. Five things that stood out from Chicago’s 35-24 win over Seattle in today’s NFC Divisional playoff.

Click here to read my Ravens-Steelers game notes.

Click here to read my Packers-Falcons game notes.

1. Cutler: The only bad decision I saw came on the goal line when the Bears’ QB tired to force the slant route vs. zone coverage. However, for the majority of this game, Cutler played aggressively within the scheme of Mike Martz’s offense. Made plays down the field, used his feet to get out of the pocket and showed up in the play action game. Four total TDs (2 passing, 2 rushing) isn’t a bad way to start in your first playoff game at the quarterback position.

Brian UrlacherICONUrlacher and the Bears front seven shut down the Seattle rushing attack today.

2. Bears’ front seven: Peppers, Idonije, Urlacher, Briggs, etc. Chicago got ideal penetration up front their D-Line and we saw the linebackers attack the run downhill. Close off cut back lanes and play the run with a seven-man front. Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle running game was non-existent because Chicago consistently won at the point of attack. The final rushing numbers for Seattle? 12 carries for 34-yards. That’s just not good enough to win on the road in the playoffs.

3. Chicago play calling: Outside of a Matt Forte pass from the wildcat formation (bad football), the Bears had that balance under Martz. The screen game was big, the O-Line gave Cutler time to throw and both Forte and Chester Taylor were productive out of one and two-back looks. This is when the Bears are at their best from a play calling perspective—something that has to continue vs. the Packers in the NFC Championship.

4. The Seattle passing game: Couldn’t generate any big plays until late in the 4th quarter when they were down big. WR Mike Williams was a non-factor in the vertical game. And with TE John Carlson out with an injury, QB Matt Hasselbeck didn’t have options down the field. The Bears were solid in Cover 2 and very aggressive at the corner position in their Cover 1 schemes. Take away options and you can shut down the passing game.

5. Breaking down Olsen vs. Milloy: Let’s look at this a little closer. 3rd and short situation with the Seahawks playing Cover 1 (man coverage with free safety help). From the replay, you can see Milloy flat-foot read (no backpedal) and sit low with outside leverage. The idea from the safety’s perspective is simple: break underneath any option or stick route. But when you see a vertical release through the 3-step from the TE, turn you hips and stay on top of that up field shoulder. Can't give up a 58-yard TD in that situation.

Tomorrow: more Bears-Packers NFC Championship talk.

Check back to the NFP for my game notes tonight following Jets-Patriots.

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