Chicago Bears: 2014 NFL Preseason Week 4 CHI at SEA

SEATTLE -- The Chicago Bears' first-team offense moved the ball a little, putting up the only fight the starters showed all night.

But the defense churned out a stinker, giving up 31 first-half points as the Seattle Seahawks' starters dominated the Bears 34-6 on strength of a pair of Russell Wilson touchdown passes and a 7-yard run.

Here are some other thoughts on the club's third preseason game:
  • Perhaps the trip West sapped Chicago's energy, because the Bears looked decidedly slower than Seattle in all three phases. It was apparent on the opening kickoff. Percy Harvin opened with a 39-yard return, and punctuated the run back by running over Ryan Mundy, who appeared to be letting up at the end of the play. "It was all three phases of our football team: the return game, our cover game, our run defense," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. Seattle marched 61 yards on seven plays after Harvin's return with Marshawn Lynch running through a Shea McClellin arm tackle at the end of a 7-yard scoring run. The Bears applied pressure on the drive, but Wilson scrambled for short gains or bought enough time to find open throwing lanes. Chicago's defense looked noticeably slower than Seattle's offense, which converted all four of its third downs in the opening quarter.
  • The defense compounded playing poorly with mental errors. On third and 4 from Seattle's 37 in the first quarter, the Bears squandered an opportunity to force a punt by giving the Seahawks a freebie first down on Jeremiah Ratliff's encroachment penalty. Three plays later, after Willie Young had already sacked Wilson for a 9-yard loss, Lance Briggs gave Seattle another gift by hitting the quarterback late and drawing a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. "We had penalties that continued drives, and we didn't finish drives offensively," Trestman said. Wilson eventually capped that drive with a 7-yard scramble around the end as Briggs hopelessly gave chase.
  • Mundy and Danny McCray continued to take repetitions with the first-team defense, but maybe that changes moving forward. Chicago's defensive struggles appear to involve mostly the safeties and the linebackers.
  • Chris Conte saw his first action of the preseason, entering in the second quarter. Conte laid a big hit on Luke Willson in the end zone to stop what would have been a touchdown. The next play, Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 12-yard score. Conte suffered a concussion in the third quarter.
  • Jon Bostic and McClellin struggled again, but so did Briggs. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Chicago's linebacking corps come under fire internally from the staff after such a dismal performance.
  • How bad was Chicago's defense? It allowed the Seahawks to rack up 17 first downs in the first half while converting all seven third downs. Wilson hit on 13-of-17 for 174 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 147.7.
  • The first-team offense wasn't much better. It converted 2-of-5 on third downs as Jay Cutler suffered two sacks, tossed an interception and finished the half with a passer rating of 64.0.
  • No clarity was gained in the search for a No. 3 receiver as Josh Morgan didn't do much to separate himself (two catches for 40 yards in the first half). New signee Santonio Holmes caught one pass for a 7-yard gain in the third quarter, but the Bears limited his exposure as he learns the playbook.

Five things learned in 1st half vs. Seattle

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
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.