Saturday, August 23, 2014
Observation Deck: Chicago Bears
By Michael C. Wright
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.