Bears

Report Card vs. Seattle: Stong grades for victory

Report Card vs. Seattle: Stong grades for victory

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
5:48 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The quality of opponent in 8-10 Seattle will be questioned but the Bears put up 28 straight points with consistent execution in a game that needed momentum for them early. Playoffs are about great plays but first they are about avoiding mistakes, and the Bears made few of them in allowing their talent advantage to carry the game.

Quarterback: A

Jay Cutler began his NFL playoff resume with a 58-yard TD strike to Greg Olsen and supplemented it with a 6-yard TD run early in the second quarter. He finished with two TD passes, two TD runs, passing effectiveness to the tune of a 111.3 rating in his first postseason appearance and threw zero interceptions while completing 15 of 28 passes for 274 yards.
Running backs: A

Chester Taylors 1-yard TD run put the Bears up 14-0 in the first quarter. Matt Forte tossed an interception out of a wildcat formation, a curious play call in the game situation unless it was to give the Packers something to think about. But Forte rushed for 80 yards and caught three passes for 54 more. Taylor broke several strong runs to finish with 44 yards on 11 carries.

Receivers: A

Greg Olsen burned the Seahawks for a TD on the Bears third play from scrimmage and set up the second TD with a 33-yard catch, finishing the first half with a career-best 113 yards. Johnny Knox led the Bears with four catches and tight end Kellen Davis added a TD on one of his two catches. Receivers struggled to get open at times but provided solid downfield blocking to add yards on runs by Cutler and the running backs.

Offensive line: A

The Seahawks sacked Cutler three times and were credited with four additional hits but the protection overall was outstanding, with the sacks resulting primarily from coverage by the Seattle secondary rather than breakdowns up front, which had been the problem in the teams first game. The Bears controlled the ball more than 37 minutes largely because the OL controlled the point of attack and minimized Seattle penetration.

Defensive line: B

Tommie Harris collected two sacks of Matt Hasselbeck and two tackles for loss, and Julius Peppers pressured Seattle LT Russell Okung into a pivotal first-quarter holding penalty. But no other defensive lineman had high-impact plays with any regularity. DT Anthony Adams provided some pressure up the middle but the defense overall let down in the fourth quarter, understandable given the way the offense was playing and Seattle wasnt, but the group was not at top playoff level.
Linebackers: A-

Brian Urlacher was credited with a team-high seven tackles, all solos, and had one for a loss. Lance Briggs was second to Urlacher with six as the Bears filled gaps and stuffed the Seahawks with 34 total rushing yards on 12 carries, 13 of the yards coming on one end-around to Golden Tate.

Secondary: A-

Charles Tillman was strong in a one-on-one matchup vs. Mike Williams, with Williams catching just four of the 13 passes on which he was targeted and managing just 15 total yards on his catches. Chris Harris went out with a hip pointer and rookie Major Wright filled in with a pass breakup and two tackles. Nickel back D.J. Moore finished with five solo tackles and Tim Jennings broke up two passes.

Special teams: B

Brad Maynard dropped three of his five punts inside the Seahawks 20, helped by Corey Graham downing two punts inside the Seattle 5-yard line and recovered a Seahawks on-sides kick in the fourth quarter. But kickoff coverage allowed a 62-yard return by Leon Washington, who finished with a 28.6-yard average on five returns.

Coaching: A

Adjustments were made to prevent Seattle from establishing any sort of rhythm early and aggressive play-calling produced big plays early to take the heart out of the Seahawks. The Bears were mentally prepared after their season-ender in Green Bay and what clearly was a well-focused bye week. Schemes were kept simple to have the Bears playing fast against an out-manned team and the Bears played under control without allowing Seattle big plays to recover momentum.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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USA TODAY

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.