Offensive coordinator Mike Martz deserves some credit here for mixing up the calls somewhat, which allowed the Bears to be a little less predictable. The Bears ran the ball on second down some, which made for shorter third-down situations. Ultimately, though, Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell didn't do enough for the Bears to establish the run. Bell (4.3-yard average) made more of an impact than Barber, but wasn't given enough carries to get into a real groove.
Caleb Hanie tossed three interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He's now thrown nine interceptions in four starts. All of Hanie's picks came on errant throws, but the receivers didn't provide much help. At the half, Hanie had completed a little better than 50 percent of his passes. But by the end of the third quarter, his completion percentage had dipped to 45, and he eventually finished with a passer rating of 33.3. Josh McCown came in late and threw another INT.
The Bears forced the Seahawks to learn on the pass fairly early by shutting down Marshawn Lynch, who came into Sunday's game having gained 100 yards or more in five of his last six outings. Lynch still managed to score two short TDs. But at the half, Lynch was averaging just 2.7 yards per attempt. The Bears also neutralized change-of-pace back Justin Forsett. The Seahawks averaged just 1.8 yards on 33 attempts.
The Bears allowed Seattle to open the half with an 80-yard scoring drive in which the Seahawks gained 76 of those yards on just two passes. The first completion -- a 33 yarder to Golden Tate -- should have been stopped for a minimal gain. But the receiver broke three tackles because the Bears were more interested in stripping the ball than making the stop. The next completion was a 43-yard strike to Ben Obamanu with Tim Jennings trailing far behind. Tarvaris Jackson completed passes to 10 different receivers.
Devin Hester tweaked his ankle in practice on Thursday, and apparently he wasn't sufficiently healed for the game, which led to Earl Bennett taking over on punt returns. Hester didn't return any punts, and gained 17 yards on his one kickoff return. Chicago's coverage unit allowed Leon Washington to break a 36-yard punt return in the second half. Robbie Gould wasn't able to contribute on field goals and Adam Podlesh finished with a net punting average of 32.3.
The players didn't use any of the recent distractions as an excuse for their performance against the Seahawks. But it's clear the team struggled to overcome the injuries and Sam Hurd's drug arrest. Ultimately, it's up to coaching staff to minimize the impact of injuries and off-the-field distractions. So the staff failed at that. The offensive coaches deserve the majority of the criticism for the play calling and waiting so long to pull Hanie.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 15
- DeFalco (9-4)
- J.D. (7-6)
- Jon (7-6)
- Isaacson (8-5)
- Jurkovic (9-4)
- Silvy (9-4)
- Spain (9-4)
- Harry (8-5)
- Waddle (8-5)
- Wilbon (9-4)
- Woj (8-5)
- Wright (7-6)