Friday, January 14, 2011
The Bears are who we thought they were
"The Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they were. We played them in preseason — who the hell takes a third game of the preseason like it's bullshit? Bullshit! We played them in the third game — everybody played three quarters — the Bears are who we thought they were! That's why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!"- Dennis Green following a crushing Monday Night Football loss to the Bears 24-23
Whenever I think of the Chicago Bears at least recently I think of that Dennis Green rant. That rant also hits home to me because during that season to be more precise the Seahawks season ended in Chicago 27-24 in overtime. That loss hurt as everyone knew some key people on the Seahawks run of four consecutive division titles were getting up there in age. This Sunday at Chicago the Seahawks have a chance to avenge that loss although so very few players are on the Seahawks roster who were there in 2006. Just like that year nobody gave the Seahawks a chance to win that particular game against the Bears despite being the defending NFC Champions. I'll get that game in more detailed shortly.
This year the Seattle Seahawks have already proven they can walk into Chicago and defeat them which you can read here. In that game Mike Williams due to his size destroyed the Bears catching 10 passes that game. That game from start to finish and given the opponent was the Seahawks best game of the year in the short Pete Carroll era. The Seahawks hope to continue to attack the Bears secondary with Mike Williams and attack Cutler with the corner/safety blitzes.
The Seahawks will be hoping to snap their seven game road losing streak in the playoffs. In fact the last time the Seahawks won a playoff road game Dan Marino was just a rookie quarterback and Joe Montana had won just one Super Bowl. That year was in 1983 when nobody gave the Seahawks a chance against Dan Marino and the Dolphins who had the best record in the AFC. The Seahawks won that game but would go on to lose the AFC Championship game in Los Angeles(Where Seattlehawk94 was there in person).
In that seven game losing streak the Seahawks have lost to three teams who went on the Super Bowl and three of those games were lost in overtime. One of those losses happened in Chicago four years ago today. During the 2006 season the defending NFC champions Seattle Seahawks were hurt by injuries. The Seahawks had lost Shaun Alexander for six games, Matt Hasselbeck for four games. In the playoffs the Seahawks lost both starting cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Kelly Herndon the last week of the regular season. The Seahawks won a memorable playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys 21-20 because Tony Romo couldn't hold on to a snap for basically an extra point. The Seahawks were 9-7 and had lost three of their last four games heading into the playoffs but still had that championship swagger.
Meanwhile in Chicago the Bears were enjoying a terrific season. The previous year the Bears were the #2 seed in the NFC but went one and done to the Carolina Panthers(Who were destroyed next week by the Seahawks). The Bears also enjoyed the NFC's best record behind an amazing defense led by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. The Bears also had a great running game with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. The Bears also featured a game changer on special teams in rookie Devin Hester. The only thing holding the Bears back was Rex Grossman who makes Jay Cutler look like Tom Brady. Nobody gave the Seahawks a chance as the Bears had already killed the Seahawks 37-6 on a primetime Sunday Night football game. Should be noted the Seahawks were without previous league MVP Shaun Alexander.
The playoff rematch would feature the last great game of Shaun Alexander's career. The Seahawks found themselves trailing 14-7 when Shaun Alexander began to take over. Alexander would tie the score up with a four yard touchdown run. Still the Seahawks found themselves trailing 21-14 when Thomas Jones ran one in from seven yards out. The Seahawks would get a field goal from Josh Brown to pull within 21-17. Then once again Alexander would give the Seahawks the lead with a 13 yard rushing touchdown to give the Seahawks a 24-21 lead. The Bears would eventually tie up the score 24-24 then win in overtime on Robbie Gould's game winning 49 yard field goal 27-24. The Bears would go on to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks would go home asking tons of what if's.
After a tough loss like that there was plenty of blame to go around. One guy you couldn't blame was Shaun Alexander who ran for 108 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns against this tough Bears defense. One guy who took blame was Matt Hasselbeck who was 18 of 33 passing for 195 yards with a touchdown and a costly interception that tied the score up at 24-24. Another guy who many blamed was Mike Holmgren. The usually conservative coach took some risks this game going for it on fourth three times with the Seahawks failing to convert twice. Utlimately the blame it to be at the hands of Tim Ruskell who let all-pro guard Steve Hutchinson walk. Having an all-pro would have been nice on those key third/fourth and short situations.
Now that painful loss has nothing to do with what will happen this Sunday in Chicago. If anything that game proves that the Seahawks can play in the cold weather before and that weather shouldn't be a factor. The Seahawks already defeated the Bears this year in Chicago so they know they can win there again. The Bears have been playing much better as of late but Jay Cutler is still the quarterback. Cutler will be playing in his first career playoff game while Matt Hasselbeck will be playing in his 11th career playoff game.
Since 2003 quarterbacks making their first career start are 5-19 in the playoffs. Some former pro bowlers have lost their playoff debut like our very own Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Marc Bulger, Trent Green and Eli Manning. That is a pretty impressive list and with the exception of Young you would take all those quarterbacks over Jay Cutler. Cutler never even played in a bowl game in college. Cutler hasn't played in very many pressure like situations in his career.
At the end of the day whether the Seahawks will win or not they have a chance. The Bears like in 2006 are the better team. Just like in 2006 I think the Seahawks can compete with the Bears and then watch Cutler fold under pressure. If your a Bears fan and your team is trailing in the fourth quarter are you confident in Cutler? I'm guessing probably not. While the Seahawks with a veteran like Hasselbeck know he is capable of playing in pressure situations. He has started a Super Bowl before and has even played in a playoff game in Chicago. Hasselbeck has been there and done that while Cutler will be learning on the spot. I think regardless of the outcome Hasselbeck and Cutler will be the stories of this game. Just remember though the Bears are who we thought they were, nobody takes the sixth game of the regular season like it's bullshit! I'm not willing to crown the Bears ass just yet and hopefully after Sunday the Seahawks can finally earn some respect.