Tuesday Rewind: The Bears are not who we thought they were
Jan 11, 2011, 4:20 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:47 pm
When the Seahawks play the Bears on Sunday in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, don’t expect to see the same Chicago team that Seattle beat in Week 6.
Chicago ran the ball just 14 times in their October loss to the Seahawks, demonstrating a lack of balance that limited their offense for the first half of the season. Their reliance on passing the ball combined with a makeshift offensive line meant quarterback Jay Cutler often found himself on his back. He suffered a concussion in a Week 4 loss to the Giants, a game in which the Bears allowed 10 sacks.
John Crist from BearReport.com joined Tuesday’s show and discussed how the Bears have been much more balanced offensively in the second half of the season. Running back Matt Forte has rushed for at least 91 yards in five out of the last six games while helping the Bears clinch their first playoff berth since their Super Bowl season of 2006.
Crist said things finally changed after the Bears 17-14 loss to Washington in Week 7.
“From that point it’s pretty much been a 50/50 split running the ball (and) throwing the ball,” he said. “All of the sudden Matt Forte’s yards per carry went way up and Jay Cutler was much more efficient throwing the football.”
Along with a one-win improvement, Chicago scored almost five more points per game in the second half while allowing 10 fewer sacks all together, something Crist attributes to finally sticking with an offensive line combination.
“That Seattle game back in Week 6 was the first time that their current configuration of the offensive line was put together and it’s been there ever since,” he said. “I believe the first six games they had five different configurations up front and they just didn’t quite know what they wanted to do. They still need a talent upgrade be it in free agency or the draft after the year is over, but right now at least they have the same five guys who’ve been next to each other for quite some time. (It’s) still not a great offensive line by any stretch, but certainly a little better than what the Seahawks saw back in October.”
Also on Tuesday’s show…
WR Mike Williams reveled in Saturday’s thrilling 41-36 upset victory over the defending champion New Orleans Saints, and discussed the play which led to his 38-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
Second-year TE Cameron Morrah talked about his near touchdown reception from Saturday’s game against New Orleans, and looked ahead to facing the Bears in the divisional round of the playoffs this Sunday.
ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando analyzed the impact LB Lance Briggs provides for an aggressive Bears defense alongside All-Pro MLB Brian Urlacher.
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