8:25 p.m. ET
80 degrees, clear
Key Decision #1: (SEA ball / No score / 4th & 2 CHI 44 / 10:43 1Q)
· This game was going to be uphill for the Seahawks as they were missing five starters, most on defense. Therefore, an early lead would have been important.
· A nice drive got stalled in CHI territory, and we felt this was an opportunity for Pete Carroll to be aggressive. But he chose to punt, and it foreshadowed a conservative SEA offense all night long.
· The Bears took their opening drive for a TD and never looked back in this game.
· The Seahawks committed three consecutive defensive penalties early in the Bears opening drive, enabling the Bears to emerge from deep in their own end.
· We shouldn’t be too hard on the SEA defense though – they played an admirable game, and kept the game to one possession for much of the evening. DC Ken Norton, Jr. did a good job mixing coverages and blitz calls and utilized well his short-handed personnel. If not for the offense, the SEA game planning grade would be much higher.
· Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has clearly improved the Bears offense, but one trend needs to be reversed. The Bears have started quickly for two weeks on offense, but then seem to run out of plays by the middle of the 2nd quarter, and this is one reason why they haven’t really learned to close out teams, and the game. In this game, the Bears had three straight possessions to take a two-possession lead well before the end of the first half, but they never converted. Some of the playcalling did not help. Leading 7-0, with an opportunity to go up two possessions, the Bears had 1st down on their own 38 – good starting position. The first play call was a deep ball, which was promptly intercepted due to an under-thrown ball. We would like to see more of the Bears running game, but the game plan called for a lot of targets to WR Allen Robinson. We feel the personnel usage by Nagy could be a bit more diversified. They have a good back in Jordan Howard, but he never seems to get 2 consecutive carries.
· It feels as if Bears Head Coach Nagy is trying to speed up Trubisky’s progress by putting a lot on his shoulders; we feel the Bears might be a bit more consistent if they stuck with the power running game.
· Bears QB Mitch Trubisky has promise, but we’ve noticed a lack of situational awareness on his part, particularly with three different plays. On one 3rd down situation, Trubisky took off running and had an easy first down if he turned upfield, but he inexplicably turned and ran backwards and then laterally. He failed to get the first down. In another situation, the Bears had 1st and 10 in great field position on their own 48. It was an opportunity to go up by two possessions, but Trubisky drifted backwards on one throw and was almost sacked; the Favre-like play ended up in a 17-yard completion, but a more aware quarterback would not have drifted backwards like that. Finally, in another situation, the Bears were in the redzone at the SEA 5 yard line, ahead 7-0, third down. The Bears had an easy FG attempt to go up two possessions in their pocket, so it was imperative they do not turn the ball over here. However, on this play, Trubisky drifted backwards nearly 20 yards with his back to the defense, turned and threw and almost got intercepted. It’s plays like these that don’t show up on the stat sheet but bear watching as he develops.
· The Bears defensive game plan was outstanding as they kept SEA QB Russell Wilson contained in the pocket much of the night.
· SEA will have trouble all year if Wilson has to play from the pocket; it’s just not a natural place for him, and we wonder how well he sees throwing lanes from inside given his height. SEA rarely completed any throws to the middle of the field that wasn’t a checkdown.
· Conclusion: SEA right now looks to be an average team as their OL issues have to improve if they want to ascend. Their defense played excellently tonight, and when they get some starters back, will be good enough to keep them competitive. The Bears are ascending, but still play young – they have to learn to close it out when they get chances on offense. We expect steady improvement as their offensive game planning improves. On defense, they have a chance to be an elite unit.