By Josh Liebeskind
SEATTLE — One coach told CSNChicago.com this past week that if any quit was detected in a player, it would spell the end of his tenure on the team. Whether that means any of the Bears should be imminently concerned about their job security is to be determined.
If the Seattle Seahawks have a say in the matter, though, Bears players shouldn’t have to worry this week about losing their jobs due to effort-based issues; even with a 26-0 defeat in Seattle on Sunday.
Last year’s Marc Trestman-led team found it difficult to muster much response after suffering a big defeat. The 48-23 loss to Arizona last week gave the Bears an early season test of their ability to bounce back. While the result isn’t pretty, at least some opposing players felt it isn’t necessarily a direct correlation to effort.
“We kicked a lot of field goals, I think they felt like they were in it,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. “A touchdown here, a turnover here, another touchdown, there’s a chance they can get back in the game. So I don’t think either team let up.”
With all eyes on backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who was pushed into the starting role due to a hamstring injury to Jay Cutler, it was Matt Forte who stole the show early. Forte found a rhythm in the running game from the outset and had 64 yards on the ground at halftime.
By the time the Bears’ offense took the field in the second half, though, they faced a 13-0 deficit and all but abandoned the run game. Forte had two carries in the third quarter and gained only 10 yards on five carries in the second half.
“I believe they tried to just make sure he ran the ball and didn’t lose the game,” Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said. “I thought (Clausen) did OK. We just make sure that we stopped the run game and try to make the backup quarterback beat us.”
The key to slowing down Forte, whose yard average per carry decreased from 4.8 in the first to 4.3 in the second — and finished at 3.7 — was adjusting defensive schemes, Wright said. The Bears ran plays the Seahawks hadn’t seen, and it took an in-game defensive change to stop the Bears running attack.
[WATCH BEARS: Fox: Wasn't really a great way to start the second half]
Even with Forte’s minimal success, the Bears were unable to sustain a lengthy drive and didn’t advance the ball past the Seahawks’ 45-yard line. Clausen finished 9-for-17 for 63 yards with a third of his yards coming on one play. As the deficit grew larger and they were forced to throw the ball more, the struggles became evident — the Bears were out-gained in the second half, 246-37.
The Bears defense did their part to keep the team in the game, allowing only one offensive touchdown, but the lack of offensive production made their job all the more difficult.
“I thought our defense hung in there,” coach John Fox said. “We fought hard in the first half ... Then we just couldn’t generate anything. We flopped around a little bit running it early. We kept it close. But eventually you need to be able to do both (run and pass) pretty well in this league to succeed and win games.”