Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seahawks - Bears First Half Diary - Bears Make Holes In Teeth

Oh boy! We're in Chicago in HD with the Fox B Team. Seahawks KR Leon Washington, one of their better weapons, only gets to the 24 as the Bears do not fear the return. A nifty counter run to Washington works well off the Bears over pursuing, and it gets nine; nice start for the underdogs. They try to avoid cuteness with RB Marshawn Lynch, whose Beast Mode nickname has already been mentioned three times in the first minute, but it's a two yard loss. From the gun on third, QB Matt Hasselbeck misses third down security blanket WR Brandon Stokely on a slant as the wideout slips. The Bears' field, as always, looks awful. Punter Jon Ryan goes right at Hester, and the 37-yard dying quail is fair caught by PR/WR Devin Hester at the Bears 34.

RB Matt Forte for six professional yards on first down as the Bear line looks very comfortable on first down. They do it again on second, with Forte wiggling for three after initial contact. Third and two is the first test of the day for QB Jay Cutler, who is playing his first playoff game since high school... and he's so devastated by the lack of playoff experience that he hits TE Greg Olsen on a deep post, roasting ancient S Lawyer Milloy for six points. Perfect ball in the flurries, 58 yard strike, and just three minutes into the game, we're well on our way to the Seahawk Menance being dealt with. Bears 7, Seahawks 0, and Bear Fan is singing. And drunk, and fat, and already thinking about the Packers.

Seattle was down last week, so this doesn't matter? Um, they were also at home, playing a team with a weak defense. But so be it. Washington to his own 24, as the Bear coverage teams don't seem weak at all. Hasselbeck on a nice roll to TE John Carlson, who gets the first down, but lands on his head as he comes down. Seeing how this 2011, he's auto-concussed, and the refs call for the stretcher. That's a huge loss for Seattle, seeing how their WRs really aren't good enough to win this game on their own. And kudos to the Bears PA, who plays "What I Like About You" as the man is taken off on a cart. What they like about Carlson is that he's suffered a game-ending injury with possible career implications. That's likable!

Fox uses the medical time to chat up how good the Seahawks are. Um, guys? They are 8-9. They can only break .500 this year if they win the Super Bowl. No one in Chicago feared them this week, and they are double-digit underdog to a team that's starting a QB making his first playoff start ever, against a guy who has been there for the better part of a decade. They can win, sure. But stop peeing down our backs and telling us it's rain.

Carlson finally leaves, and he's not dead or nothing. That's likable! Seattle now basically operating without a tight end. Hasselbeck on an awkward swing pass to WR Brandon Tate, and the Notre Dame rookie makes some men miss for a first. Nice run. From midfield, it's Hasslbeck to back-up TE Cameron Morrah, who drops a perfect pass. Whoops. A run from a 4-WR set to scatback Justin Forsett is diagnosed to perfection by MLB Brian Urlacher for a yard loss. On the long third, Hasselbeck tries Morrah again, who is stopped a yard before the sticks. Fourth and one from the Bears 40 is too risky for coach Pete Carroll's liking, and Ryan's punt checks up and out at the Bear 9. Twenty four yards of field position against your chance of converting the fourth down to get in field goal range? Seems too conservative for me, but I guess it's defensible.

Forte goes east-west for no gain. Cutler with a foot in his end zone hits WR Johnny Knox, who's open in the middle of the field for a sit down 18 yard gain; easy. Play-action draws a miss from Cutler that was plenty pickable; the refs pick up a flag. Forte for six that began with an awkward exchange with Cutler, and a whiff at the line from the DL. Whoops. Third down sees Cutler dragged down by LB Lofa Tatupu after rolling out against a 3-man rush; not the QB's finest moment. P Brad Maynard hits it high and short, and Washington fair catches it at his own 37. Looks like Carroll's decision to punt instead of going for it has worked out.

Lynch makes two men miss to gain nothing as the snow starts to fall harder. Hasselbeck from the gun hits WR Mike Williams, and we get to hear his origin story again. He used to be fat! Third and three from the gun is a throw into coverage for WR Ben Obomanu, and the back shoulder out has no chance. Siragusa fluffs Hasselbeck's tempo on a three and out. No, seriously. Ryan's punt is fielded by Hester, who benefits from some great blocking to take it back to midfield and a 26-yard return. Let's all praise the Seahawks for punting on fourth and one some more...

From the 50, It's Forte for five professional yards. Cutler finds Olsen again on a dangerous throw, but once the ball was past Tatupu, there's no one to stop Olsen from galloping for 31 yards into the red zone. Direct snap to WR Earl Bennett gets nine yards as Cutler is praised, as all NFL QBs are praised, for attempting to block. Cutler with an unspeakable mistake that could have gone for a TAInt the other way, but DB Jordan Babineaux drops it. Woof. Third and one give to Forte is stopped before the sticks, and Bear coach Lovie Smith calls time before his fourth down play call. Given the deteriorating weather conditions, I'd be tempted to take the points from a 20-yard figgie, but so be it. Cutler slides and keeps it for the conversion as the line does a nice job. Forte is teleported into the sky and stopped; that'll leave a mark. RB Chester Taylor gets it on second and has better luck, as the line blasts a hole open on the right side that any back in the league would have scored through. K Robbie Gould's PAT is good, and after 14 minutes, it's 14-0 Bears. There is no truth to the rumor that several of the Bears coaches have gone to the locker room to start working on the Packer game plan. The truth is that they've never actually left.

Washington's best return of the day gets to his own 28. Wilding time for the defense now. Simple drop off to Forsett gets seven yards as Darryl Johnston notes that the Bear defense enjoys playing with a lead. No, really? How unique! A flag on an odd run by Forsett is illegal motion, so it's second and 8. From the gun, it's another short pass to Obomanu for three yards, and that's the first quarter. I don't care about the numbers or results; short passing games like this are just unsatisfying to watch. Give me slants where the wideout is at least falling forward after the short catch. Hasselbeck to Stokely continues the drive, but a late flag is against the offense for a hold; it's embattled LT Russell Okung against DE Julius Peppers, and a clear foul. This game is just about over. Third and fifteen from the gun is that nervous sideline fly that overmatched teams call to avoid sacks, and Williams is fluffed even as the play fails. Ryan's punt is short and gets a good roll, but that roll is aided by inadvertent contact from the coverage team. The Bears will start on their own 38.

Hoo boy, HD crowd shots of Bear Fan is scary. Throwback screen to Olsen gets 22, and the TE is already over 100 yards for the game. The TE just keeps making men miss. Taylor for eight as the OL is making holes in teeth. They make holes in teeth! Taylor moves the scrum pile forward for a first, and the Seahawk Defense Is About To Die. Yes, this game is getting far enough out of hand that I'm looking to amuse myself with old commercial and video game references. Enjoy it. Cutler throws it away for the announcer fluff on first, then Forte gets six around the left side. Honestly, the Bears could put this away by just committing to the run at this point. Probably because Seattle isn't very good. Cutler takes Bennett from a clean pocket on third and four for 11 and a first. Body blow, body blow! Forte wiggles for five yards to the Hawk 6. FINISH HIM! Yards are 194 to 60, and I hope you took the Bears to cover. Cutler's rollout is knocked down by DE Chris Clemons, and that's a saving play, since Olsen was open for the score behind him. Third and five from the gun is a Cutler draw, and the QB does a nice job cutting back and fighting for the goal line. Glass Joe Hawk is down and out for the count. Bears 21, Seahawks 0, with 40 minutes left until we can stop pretending that the Hawks have any more chance to win the Super Bowl than, say, the teams that didn't make the playoffs.

Fox's team is excited about "American Idol", because they are big girls. Try not to be shocked. Lynch for two, then Obomanu for seven as the Hawks stick to the plan of throwing before the sticks and scaring no one. Third and one is kind of important and all, and Hasselbeck's throw to Williams is defended a little too well by CB Charles Tillman. The DPI gives Seattle their third first down in 21 minutes. Woo! First down bubble screen to Stokely short hops the WR. From the gun is another miss to Stokely, and the WR was open, but the throw just beyond his reach. Siragusa fluffs him after the failure, because that's his way. Third and ten from the gun is a miss to Obomanu, and the next ball that a Seattle WR wins in the air today will be their first. Ryan's punt is fair caught by Hester to howls of outrage from Bear Fan, and yes, they are spoiled. Black will start at their own 26.

False start on Black to start things with 38:24 left until Packers. A screen to Forte works like gangbusters, gaining 26 before S Earl Thomas forces him out. Awkward screen to Hester ends with the return man getting planted on an incomplete. Forte for 11 around the right side, and while Fox is fluffing Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, I don't quite get the adulation when all they have to do is hand the ball off. Cutler with all day from play action has it deflected near the wideout by CB Marques Truffant, and honestly, there is no reason for Black to throw it. Taylor for 11 on another toss sweep around the right side, but it comes back on a chop block on Hester. Seems like a lame call to me, honestly. 2nd and 21 is still run-abe, but Cutler from an empty backfield takes Knox instead, who gets nine. Third and 12 might be the last meaningful play of the game, and Cutler is sacked and stripped by DE Raheem Brock. RT Jamarcus Webb saves Cutler with a fumble recovery. Maynard's punt is fielded perfectly by gunner Corey Graham at the Hawk 1. 35 minutes to Packs, and the defense will have a shot at outscoring Seattle after the commerce. Honestly, I am getting sleepy. SLEEPY.

Inside handoff to Lynch for a yard. From the end zone, scared fly route to Williams, who doesn't make the play with the ball on his hands. This is not a repeat. From the gun on third, it's a slant to Obomanu for the conversion and Seahawk Life. For a team with no points or hope, Hasselbeck is playing really well. Lynch for his best run of the day, which is a sad four; he now has three carries for two yards. Hasselbeck to Williams for a three yard catch where the WR limps off. A completion and win, that. Hate this offense. From the gun on third, Tate doesn't make the play on an on-target deep ball. The wideout isn't open, the pass is catchable, and Hasselbeck is starting to get upset. Understandable. Weak Ryan punt, and the Bears start at the Hawk 44.

Siragusa is singing a Black Eyed Peas song. That's a war crime on many levels. Bubble to Hester where he dances, makes a bunch of guys miss, and loses two yards. Two minute warning. Cutler with all day misses a screen, and that's another TAIntable moment. Hawks rush three on third and 12, and Cutler misses Olsen high to end the three and out. Martz is clearly thinking that running the ball is for pussies. Maynard's punt goes out at the 9, and he's having a day. Flag on the play is a hold against the kickers, so they'll do it again. That could be meaningful, and Maynard's second kick trickles to a halt at the Hawk 19. Useful enough, I suppose, for the visitors. They have 90 seconds to do something to make the second half watchable.

A hurry-up throw for a first to WR Ruvell Martin, then a miss to Williams, again the fault of the wideout. A short pass to Stokely as Okung gets away from a hold on Peppers, and the first Hawk timeout. Third and 8 with 1:01 left from the gun is the first Bear sack of the day, with the pocket collapsed from inside and out, and that won't be the last time today that we see that. Kill shot. Ryan's seventh punt of the half glances off Hester and out of bounds at the Bear 32 with 43 seconds left.

Cutler sacked on first down by Clemons, who celebrates a bit too much for a man who is down by three touchdowns. Black lets the clock run out, and that is that.. and it's the biggest Bear first half playoff lead in 70 years. Yeah, that's unexpected. Back in a bit.

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