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Bears-Seahawks: Five things we learned

10/17/2010

Here are five things we learned during from the Bears' loss on Sunday.

1. The Bears will continue searching for the right O-line combination: It would be irresponsible to pin all the Bears' pass-protection woes on the offensive line, but it's probably a safe bet the Bears will continue to search for the proper combination up front after trotting out their fourth starting lineup Sunday. The biggest concern, this game, looked to be a lack of communication and recognition when it came to picking up Seattle's outside blitzers. Defenders routinely had a free path to Jay Cutler, who was sacked six times in his first game back from a concussion. That's not to say tackles Frank Omiyale and J'Marcus Webb were responsible for all those breakdowns, but when the quarterback isn't being protected and the team only runs for 61 yards, the offensive line is bound to be scrutinized. Mike Tice wanted his starting five set by this game, but this is probably still a fluid situation, especially since Roberto Garza will be back from a knee scope in a few weeks.

2. It's tough for the Bears to win when defense isn't forcing turnovers: It's not like the Bears played awful defense, but this group thrives on taking away the football, something that did not happen against Seattle. They nearly forced a pair of fumbles, but each time the Seahawks got the benefit of the doubt from the officials -- an understandable occurrence considering the Bears have been lucky to get their fair share of breaks in the early part of the season. Not only did the Bears have zero turnovers, they also had zero sacks. Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck got rid of the football quickly and Mike Williams, of all people, played like he was back at USC. You think he enjoyed showing his old Detroit coach Rod Marinelli he can still play?

3. Jay Cutler did little to help the cause: Maybe the most shocking statistic from this game is that Cutler failed to throw an interception. He was all over the place, and should've had several passes picked off. The only reason Cutler threw for big yardage (290) is because Devin Aromashodu, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox made terrific runs after the catch. Cutler hasn't looked good the past two and a half games, and even though poor pass protection is partly to blame, Cutler seems to be falling back into his old habits of forcing the ball into double and triple coverage.

4. There is still not a commitment to the run: After rushing for 218 yards last week in Carolina, one would think the Bears would have been eager to continue their momentum on the ground. That notion proved to be wrong. For some reason -- Mike Martz only answers questions on Wednesdays -- Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined for just 12 rushing attempts, a very low number considering they are two of the most talented skill position players on the roster. Despite all the Bears' pass-protection issues, Martz allowed Cutler, who was having a bad game, throw the ball 39 times. Didn't Tice say something this week about wanting his big guys to move forward instead of backward? The Bears trailed for much of the game, but they were only down by one point at the half and 10 points early in the fourth quarter, by no means was that an insurmountable hole to climb out of.

5. The Bears' special teams continue to be special: There was a huge emphasis coming into this game on special teams, and for the most part, the Bears delivered. Not only did Devin Hester return a punt 89 yards for a touchdown, but Danieal Manning had a score wiped off the board on a kickoff return. Seattle's Leon Washington did run back one kickoff 42 yards, but the Bears' coverage units did an excellent job limiting Washington and Golden Tate for much of the afternoon. Plus, Earl Bennett almost decapitated Seahawks punter Jon Ryan on Hester's touchdown, and Brad Maynard placed three of his eight punts inside the 20.