The Bears’ overall game plans on offense and defense were effective, with special teams enduring one of the worst stretches in recent memory.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase went right at the Seahawks running with Matt Forte and did not abandon the plan even with a failed first possession. Forte was given the ball on five straight snaps in the first quarter, testing Seattle safety Kam Chancellor’s conditioning and reactions in his first game back. Gase made repeated use of three-tight-end personnel, challenging the Seahawks to meet strength with strength.
Gase also unveiled a “wildcat” look with a direct snap to Forte in the first quarter, which didn’t pick up a first down but certainly expanded the realm of the possible in a game where the Bears needed to be creative. Despite Jimmy Clausen’s inexperience, Gase even rolled out some no-huddle to keep Seattle off balance.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio threw creative packages at the Seahawks starting with the first possession and got pressure and containment of Wilson, at least in the first half before the defense burned out from spending so much time on the field. Fangio repeatedly brought defensive backs in blitzes and put players in optimal positions with recognitions of Seattle tendencies.
“This week we did a good job with Coach just getting into the film,” cornerback Alan Ball said, “and knowing just what they were going to do anytime they split (tight end Jimmy) Graham out with anybody pretty much that he’s bigger than, you know they’re going to take a shot. It’s something we worked on, something we kind of knew was coming. They put us in the right defense to play it.”
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Special teams were victimized on a misdirection return of the second punt, with Pat O’Donnell punting left but the coverage unit following returner Tyler Lockett to the Bears’ right. O’Donnell’s punt went left, and Richard Sherman returned it largely untouched for 64 yards.
Teams got worse with a 105-yard kickoff return allowed to Lockett to start the third quarter. The runback was an emotion-killer, with the Bears keeping Seattle close through the first half but then falling two scores behind without a play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Notably perhaps, given the environment, the Bears were flagged for just five penalties, one a false start by right tackle Kyle Long when Clausen kept the line waiting repeatedly deep into the play clock.
Credit the John Fox staff with a key challenge of a first-quarter apparent completion to Graham, reversing a play that would have been a first down but became a third down on which the Bears defense came up with a significant stop.
Moon's Grade: B