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.