Why Didn't WE Do That?!

While watching the first half of the NFC Championship Game featuring the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, I was reminded of something about last week’s game between the Bears and the Seattle Seahawks. After seeing Green Bay harass Bears’ QB Jay Cutler with blitz after blitz after blitz, I was wondering why the Seahawks didn’t do the same the week before.

Against the Bears, the Seahawks basically played the same defense they used against the New Orleans Saints the previous week. The Seahawks chose not to blitz at all, leaving Cutler with plenty of time to survey the field. Granted, the Seahawks did register three sacks, but the actual amount of pressure was minimal.

This against a team that has had trouble all season in protecting the passer. The same team that the Seahawks blitzed on virtually every play in their Week 6 victory in Soldier Field in October.

In that game, the Bears did hit several plays for big yardage. I believe there were six plays of at least 30 yards. However, Cutler was never comfortable during that game. He was sacked six times and hurried on several other occasions. As he is known to do, Cutler threw several passes up for grabs. The Seahawks had at least a half dozen excellent opportunities to make interceptions, all of which they failed to do. (That is something I will discuss in greater detail this offseason.)

Perhaps the Seahawks felt that the Bears would be ready for such tactics in the rematch. However, after watching the Bears march easily down the field for most of the first half, why didn’t the Seahawks even attempt to pressure Cutler? The results certainly couldn’t have been much worse.

I have not been happy with the way Gus Bradley’s defense has performed the last two seasons. I am surprised that he survived the upheaval of the coaching staff in the last week. I know that the defense changed drastically after Red Bryant’s season-ending injury, but to completely abandon the blitz against the Bears felt like the wrong thing to do during the game and it still does a week later.

Chances like the one the Seahawks had last week do not come around often, as any diehard Seahawks fan knows. It’s a major disappointment to blow it in the manner that the coaching staff did.

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  • dave crockett

    You do have to account for game situation. Seattle got beat with big plays out of its *base* defense to start the game. If you want to discourage a defense from blitzing beat their base look over the top with your TE at the start of the game. That’ll take the starch out of their pants and make them back off.

    GB’s offense put the defense in position to be able to gamble with blitzing Cutler. Really, apart from that one game when the Bears offensive line was still a shambles and Cutler had just returned from a concussion, Seattle has not gotten much from its blitz all year.

    There are lots of reasons to be unhappy with Bradley, but backing off under the circumstances is not one of them to my mind.

  • Joseph Okabe

    Dave, you make some good points, but I will rebut.

    In October, Seattle was also down 7-0 very early in the game. That didn’t stop them from blitzing virtually every play for the rest of the game.

    Seattle has been a terrible blitz team the past few years. However, the exception to that rule was IN CHICAGO! The Bears have had a problem with protecting Cutler the entire season. Blitzing WORKED against the Bears in Week 6; why not try it in the playoff game, especially when there was nothing to lose? Instead, they just let the Bears walk all over them in the first half.

  • Derek Metzer

    I don’t think one big play by Olsen forces you to back off.
    I do wonder of the complete health of Tatupu however and where his head was at during the game.
    I really thought the gameplan vs the Rams was excellent as well as the one vs NO, and they were both different. I fully expected the Seahawks to blitz Cutler and pressure him like they did Bradford in the Rams game. Historically, if Cutler is under pressure, Cutler makes mistakes. Everyone knows that. Ask any Bronco’s fan as they roll over laughing at this latest Cutler drama.
    The coaching defensively blew it as much as the players did in Chicago.
    Unfortunately, I am not sure the game would have been much different once the Hawks lost Carlson and forced them to a single TE set, and removing much of their playbook. Then I have to ask, if many of your plays rely on a two TE set, and you know that Morrah is not 100%, then why do you only bring two TEs? That’s another one on the coaching staff.