First half different than teams' last meeting

January, 16, 2011
1/16/11
12:55
PM ET
CHICAGO – There was no layoff letdown in the playoffs for the Chicago Bears on Sunday, as they raced to a commanding 21-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional playoffs round.

Instead of sputtering out of the gates, the Bears exploded on both sides of the ball.

Here are five quick halftime thoughts about the differences between this game and the Oct. 17 meeting between the teams:

Olsen’s offensive contributions: Greg Olsen, who didn't have a catch in the first meeting, currently is the game's leading receiver (3 catches, 113 yards, which is more yards than the Seahawks' receivers combined). Olsen helped the Bears offense rack up 238 yards in the first half on Sunday, after it produced just 307 yards of offense in the 23-20 loss in Week 6.

No nickel or dime blitz from the Seahawks: Seattle brought heat by blitzing safeties in the Week 6 meeting, which led to six sacks of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Seattle sacked Cutler three times in the first half Sunday, but never on blitzes from members of the secondary. It’s somewhat of a surprise, since that tactic worked in the first game between the teams. At the same time, the Seahawks had significantly backed off the blitz in recent games. In their last two meetings coming into Sunday’s game, the Seahawks had rushed with four or fewer defenders approximately 90 percent of the time.

Balanced Bears offense: The wacky pass-run ratio of Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz became the subject of widespread criticism in the Week 6 matchup between the teams. Through the first two quarters on Sunday, Martz called 17 runs and 17 passes as the Bears dominated time of possession by nearly four minutes. Matt Forte is currently the game’s leading rusher (10 carries, 41 yards).

Bears third-down conversions: The Bears finished the first game 0 for 12 on third-down conversions. Through just two quarters Sunday, the team is 43 percent (3 of 7).

Getting to Hasselbeck: Chicago couldn’t get to Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in October. The club never sacked him, registering just one quarterback hit as Hasselbeck completed 25-of-40 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. Hasselbeck is currently struggling. The Bears have sacked the quarterback once and he’s 10 of 20 for 78 yards and a passer rating of 60.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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