Saturday, August 23, 2014
Five things learned in 1st half vs. Seattle
By Jeff Dickerson
SEATTLE -- Here are five things we learned in the Chicago Bears lopsided first half against the Seattle Seahawks:
1. Seattle is on a different level: The season is not over. In fact, the real season is still two weeks away. No, the thrashing received at the hands of the Seahawks does not disqualify the Bears from a playoff berth in 2014. But did you honestly believe heading into Friday night the Bears were on par with the defending world champions? Not even close. The Seahawks are elite. The Bears are slightly above average. The No. 1 conclusion that can be reached after Friday: The Bears' year will end if they have to travel back to Seattle for a playoff game in January. But didn't you already kind of figure that was the case?
2. Slow night for veteran defenders: Veteran players have a tendency to coast through the preseason. Let's hope that's the case for repeat Pro Bowlers Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. All three appeared to be a step slow at certain points of the first half, especially when Briggs tried to chase down Russell Wilson on a 7-yard touchdown run. Tillman's endured rough nights in the preseason before, only to turn it on when the regular season rolled around. With several question marks on defense, the Bears cannot afford for their star players to have subpar seasons.
3. Pass rush was OK, actually: Wilson is ridiculously good when asked to move outside the pocket and make defenders miss. And the Bears did miss on several occasions in the first half. But Wilson did face fairly consistent pressure from the defensive line, notably Willie Young and Lamarr Houston. Young, who started in place of Jared Allen (bruised shoulder), recorded six tackles, one sack and had two quarterback hurries over the opening 30 minutes of play.
4. Chris Conte sees action: Conte made a couple mistakes. He failed to secure a tackle on the opening kickoff, and then whiffed on a tackle early in the third quarter. But he also prevented a touchdown when he separated a receiver from the ball in the endzone and later delivered a big hit near the Bears sideline that flipped a Seahawks ball carrier upside down. Overall, it wasn't a bad preseason debut for Conte. I can't imagine he hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster and competing for a starting job either now, or down the road, unless he suffered a concussion. Conte left the game in the third quarter.
5. Little change on special teams: The third phase continues to be a problem area. Maybe Chris Williams was wise to miss another preseason game due to a sore hamstring; because none of the return men did anything special. That remains an issue. A low punt by Pat O'Donnell allowed Seattle's Earl Thomas to rip off a 59-yard punt return. O'Donnell did make a touchdown saving tackle, but I'm sure he'd like that kick back.