Having a day to think about the Seahawks’ loss to the Chicago Bears really didn’t do anything to change my perspective on the game. It was still very disappointing from an effort standpoint. Let’s look at the five keys I felt were vital to the Seahawks’ chances of victory. They were:
Establish and maintain good field position.
Do not turn the ball over.
Do not fall behind early.
Run the ball.
Jon Ryan has been one of the most valuable players on the team this season. In Week 6, he had a great game against the Bears in Soldier Field. Unfortunately, Ryan had his worst game in quite some time on Sunday. He ended up averaging 35 yards per punt, but it sure didn’t seem that way. His worst punts came at the least opportune times.
One of the main reasons the Seahawks won in Chicago in Week 6 was that they had a tremendous advantage in field position the entire game. Not so on Sunday. To make matters worse, his counterpoint, the Bears’ Brad Maynard, had a great game. The Seahawks started eight of their thirteen possessions inside their own 30 yard line, compared to five for the Bears. The Bears scored five touchdowns on the eight possessions that began on their own 30 or better (I won’t count the final possession where they took three kneeldowns.) Field position isn’t the sole reason the Seahawks lost this game, but they needed to dominate it to win, and they didn’t.
The Seahawks did not turn the ball over in this game, which is one of the few bright spots. There were opportunities, but not egregious ones. The offense did a good job of protecting the ball for the most part. Unfortunately, the Seahawks had only one turnover on defense, that being a gift from Matt Forte. They certainly had several opportunities from Jay Cutler, as Cutler is wont to do. Jordan Babineaux flat out dropped an easy interception at the goal line when the score was 7-0. That could have been a game changer. The Bears scored a few plays later to make it 14-0 and they never looked back.
The Seahawks incurred only three penalties, but two came on their most crucial drive of the game, the one right after the Bears went up 14-0. Ruvell Martin was deservedly flagged for illegal motion, and Russell Okung was flagged for holding that negated a vital third down conversion. I wasn’t pleased by that call. The flag came very late. Technically, Okung was probably guilty of holding, but that call usually isn’t made when the offensive player’s hands are inside the defender’s shoulder blades, which they were. It was a crucial call, but again, the Seahawks didn’t lose this game because of that.
Obviously, the Seahawks fell behind early again, but this time they couldn’t come back. The Bears took a quick 7-0 lead when Lawyer Milloy flat out blew his coverage on Bears tight end Greg Olsen. Milloy seemed to be anticipating a short, quick throw to get the first down. Instead, Olsen ran straight up the field for an easy 58 yard touchdown.
The Seahawks tried to run the ball early and had no success. John Carlson’s early injury negated the two TE formations and the majority of the running plays. The Seahawks tried to establish the run at the beginning of the second half and were stuffed. The team had no choice but to abandon the run after that.
In the end, the Seahawks failed on three of my five keys to winning. That is an improvement over most of their losses this season, where they usually failed on all five, but it’s hardly a solace to a disappointing end to the season.