The Bears absolutely dominated the Seattle Seahawks in all three phases today, as they racked up 35 points and a 440-276 edge yardage wise, with all three Seattle touchdowns coming late in the fourth quarter after Chicago had a 25 point lead well in hand. With the win, the Bears set up the most terrifying/exciting match up possible as they bring Green Bay to Soldier Field next weekend. I'll do my best not to worry about that till later. For now I'll just savor the most impressive playoff win (despite a few late game shenanigans that were irritating if irrelevant) in recent Bears memory, and get on with the breakdown:
So many candidates. Let's just go down the list-
Jay Cutler: This team will go as far in this tournament as he can take them, and if he plays like he did today, I'll get fitted for my Super Bowl ring quick. His accuracy was a bit off during the first-half blizzard, but he still finished 15/28 for 274 YDs, 2 TDs, 0 INTs and an absolutely bonerific passer rating of 111.3. He was also a huge factor on the ground, with 8 rushes for 43 yards and two fist-pumping touchdowns. I don't care if Rick Reilly thinks he's the most hated player in the NFL, I love him like no other.
Matt Forte: Nothing came easy for Matt on the ground today, as he ground out 80 yards on 25 carries at 3.2 a clip, but the Seahawks clearly geared their gameplan around stopping him and it opened up alot for the passing game. Matt also added 54 yards through the air, and while his halfback option interception was mindboggling and irritating on all fronts, I'll give him credit for doing a damn good job as a Runningback today.
Greg Olsen: Olsen set a career high with 113 yards receiving, including 58 yards and a TD on the Bears first pass of the game. Mike Martz sent a message today that teams will have to account for #82 on every down, and that's gotta scare the Packers.
The Offensive Line: They gave up three sacks, yes, but two of those were 3rd down coverage sacks where Jay was merely trying to extend the play. On every other dropback Jay had today, he had all the time he needed to look downfield and decide to throw it or run it. They're a 1,000 miles from where they were earlier this year, and Seattle has a good pass rush between Clemons and Brock. Great effort today, guys. This one can be put on your backs most of all. Keeping Cutler clean and paving the way for 176 yards rushing? Excellent.
The Secondary: I'm just going to ignore the last two Seattle touchdowns when the prevent was clearly on and the foot was sadly off the pedal. For most of the game the Bears held Matt Hasselbeck to absolutely nothing, and he still finished the game averaging just 5.6 YPA. Mike Williams finished with just 4 catches and 15 yards after wearing Tillman like a hat all day.
Tommie Harris: Tommie showed up and got two sacks while also being a big part of holding the Seahawks to just 34 yards on the ground (9 fewer yards than Jay Cutler gained).
Everybody else on defense: The Bears had held Seattle to under 150 yards well into the fourth quarter before the last two meaningless Seattle TD's. Marinelli and Urlacher both looked like they wanted to punch a pack of orphans after both of those TDs, so I doubt we can expect any further lapses in intensity.
Mike Martz: the HB pass by Forte was absolutely idiotic, but Martz can't be blamed for that entirely, since he bitched out Forte for not following the golden rule on those plays and throwing the ball away when his first read was covered. Outside of that he dialed up a number of looks that he hadn't showed all year, with some new plays for Olsen that clearly took Seattle off guard as well some wildcat plays that were pretty productive. Nice job, Mike.
Well, those two meaningless touchdowns kinda pissed me off, but only because my inner meathead wanted a shutout. I'm sure as hell not going to bitch on a day like today.
Now it's time to watch New England and try to ignore the pounding of my heart, which is unlikely to survive the next week win or lose.
Go Bears. Green Bay Sucks.