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LOVIE SMITH, HEAD COACH:
“Kind of starting off with coach talk - start fast, pretty simple, but we needed to, to get the home crowd into it right away. Offensively, we can talk quite a bit about the offense. Starting with the offensive line, big challenge for them. Last time, they got a lot of pressure on us, but our offensive line, I felt like really took control. Whenever you can rush for over, I think, 170 yards. Matt Forte was outstanding as he’s been; it seems like for the last half of the season. Greg Olsen, you hear a lot about not using our tight end, Greg of course, big touchdown pass right away. But just throughout the day, just felt like he could make a play any time Jay would get him the football. But of course, it starts with Jay Cutler. Jay was, whether it’s running the football, of course, or just making the different throws we ask him to do, he was outstanding today. Our offense really gave us that boost. Defensive side of the ball, offensively too, over 60 percent on third downs. Last time out, we were 0 for 12. Third downs were really big this time. On the other side of the football, third down conversions were good. We didn’t get as many take-aways as we wanted, but they had control of the game. We had planned on matching Charles Tillman up, and pressing Mike Williams a lot more to try to get him out of the game a little bit more than we did the first time around and they did a good job with that. But, across the board, pressure, linebackers, secondary, all stepped up. We gave them that long return. Leon (Washington) is a good player, but I felt like we held it home with the special teams too. So, big win for us. Injury-wise, we came out of it in pretty good shape. Chris Harris went out of the game with a hip… But besides that, we’re in pretty good position. Going into this game, you can only look at Seattle. We had to get a win with Seattle, but now that we have beaten the Seahawks, it just doesn’t get any better as I see it then for the NFC Championship to come down to, the Packers coming down on our turf this time. The Packers and Bears to finish it up, that’s how it should be.”
On whether it was difficult to keep the team focused after the Packers win last night
“No. It really wasn’t. We knew what was there, of course. We knew the score and some of the guys had a chance to watch the game. Honestly, it was about taking care of business. We had the Seahawks in front of us and that’s why I was proud of how the team came out. Strong right away and we got the win.”
On how good Greg Olsen has become
“Greg gives us a good match up most of the time. Going to him on the first big third down, he’s tough to cover, whether it’s a linebacker or a safety, he has good skills as far as his speed and being able to get down the field. Again, he’s hard to cover. The plan was of course to get, not only Greg Olsen, of course, but Kellen Davis also involved. Big of course, touchdown pass to him.”
On how important it was to get the lead early
“Very important. As much as anything, when you’re at home, getting the home crowd into it. We will call on our crowd. The crowd was outstanding. We should have started with them too, from the start and we will need them next week also. But it was important to give them something to cheer about right away. That’s why getting up with points on the board was big.”
On taking heat as the head coach over the last couple of years
“Last couple years? Being a football coach, you take heat from the moment you become one, but that’s all a part of it. Just love our football team. Not being in the playoffs for three years, normally, you’re going to have to go through some things, but the guys have fought. We had a good feeling going into the season that this could be a good football team. Not having any injuries and just guys showing up the way they did today, each week, makes it all worthwhile.”
On whether he thought it was possible that the NFC Championship could come down to the Bears v. the Packers
“Yes, I did. When I look back over the season, I thought that after we played them up there. I thought it could easily come down to us, I knew what seed they would be, knew they were a good football team. A lot of people probably though it could happen this way.”
On what it means to make the playoffs
“Of course it means a lot. For Jay’s first playoff game, he’s undefeated in the playoffs, for his career. All of that, of course, is big for him… We have other players, too. A guy like Anthony Adams, who is playing his first playoff game. For the rest of us, it’s been a while, you go three years without making the playoffs, you forget what it’s like too.”
GREG OLSEN, TE
On the first quarter 58-yard touchdown reception
“There was two down so they came out in man-coverage. They know that we normally look to pass the ball but we ran the ball both times. We though we had a shot – it was third and short. Lawyer Milloy was up in coverage – good player – but we were able to get down the field and Jay (Cutler) was able to hold it so that it gave us that chance. He was able to hold it, I was able to get behind him and he put the ball where you’ve got to make that play. He put the ball perfect and we were able to score.”
On the play of the tight ends versus the Seahawks
“It was huge. Kellen (Davis) comes back on that crucial play and catches that big touchdown to kind of ice the game. It just shows you, players whatever you’re labeled or you’re position, if you can make big plays and make things happen for our offense you’re going to do it. Different weeks it’s different guys and that’s what we’ve said all along. It only takes one. One week it could be the backs, one week the receivers. It could be anybody and it makes us hard to guard.”
JAY CUTLER, QB
On his first throw to Greg Olsen
“It was a play we called up, didn’t really expect to go to him. We expect to go to the slot. The free safety really buzzed over the slot. He ran right past the safety and made a great catch. Got us going, got us in rhythm.
On his rapport with Greg Olsen
“I’ve been comfortable with Greg since I got here. He’s a really friendly target, works the middle of the field really well. Knows zones, knows when to sit down, when to go. This is nothing new. A lot of teams try to take him away because they know how dangerous he is, know we like to get him vertical.”
On playing the Packers
“It will be fun. They did a good job three weeks ago putting some pressure on us, taking us out of our rhythm offensively. We have to go back and look at that film and look at what they did to us. Obviously, they’re going to do some of the same stuff.”
On his running plays and the draw
“Yeah, it was called (the QB draw). The second one was a shovel pass and the guy collapsed, so I had to go. You know when it’s there, you take it. I’m not afraid to do that. Offensive line, I thought did a great job today. Gave me plenty of time, a lot of credit to them.”
On his first playoff win
“It’s fun. To be at home, to be in the situation we were in, with the bye, to play a team like Seattle that had a really big win against the Saints, we knew it was going to be a challenge. But like I said, we came out quick and that really got us going.”
On if his pre-game prep was any different
“No, no this whole week felt the same; very veteran team and they make a lot of the younger guys, guys who never were in the playoffs at ease. They kept everything even keel, this week had a lot of fun in practice and we came out here and it showed.”
On his relationship with Aaron Rodgers
“Yeah, I texted him after the game (yesterday) and said good game. We’ll have a friendly little banter. Impressive win they had last night. What they did to Atlanta on the road, is hard to do. So, we’re going to have our hands full.”
On preparing for this week, given the hype
“Yeah, with Green Bay, the hype is going to be there. With the rivalry and what it is, the magnitude of the game. We’re going to have to do the same thing we did last week. We can’t blow this out of proportion; it’s still a football game. They’re going to line up 11 guys, we’re going to line up 11 guys and whoever executes the best is going to win.”
On whether he paid attention to what was written about him this week
“I saw a lot of it; they showed me a few things. Mr. Reilly (Rick) was very happy with me and I saw that. It is what it is. Like I said, nothing outside that building is going to affect me, or hopefully anybody on our team. There are a lot of distractions, especially in the situation we’re in now, and we just have to focus in and do our jobs.”
On if he was going to be ‘warmer’ with the media moving forward
“I’m trying (to be warmer). Can you tell?”
On putting Seattle away
“Yeah, we missed a few things that first half, missed Greg to really put us in a position to put some more points up. I missed a few passes. There are a few things we left out there and a game like this you can’t do it, especially next week against a team like Green Bay.”
On growing up a Bears fan and playing Green Bay next week
“Yeah, doesn’t get any bigger than this. To be in an NFC Championship, playing at home and to bring Green Bay on top of it just adds to it. These next couple of days I’m going to take a look at a lot of film. They’re a really good football team, they’re really hot. To go to Philly, to go to Atlanta and now to come to us in Chicago, they’re used to the road and I’m sure their confidence is sky-high.”
GREG OLSEN, TEOn the offense’s fast start
“It was huge. Our defense held them to a three and out and we got the ball back, third and short and get over the top like that was huge, set the tone. The way our defense played, pretty much shut them down for the most part. The offense took that momentum and the next you know it was 28-0. That was huge.”
On trying to put Seattle away once they were down
“In these type of games, teams are never going to lie down and quit. They were here for a reason. We knew they were going to continue to battle back, battle back. At the same time we wanted to take it as an opportunity for our offense to kind of get used to this. To say hey, this isn’t a fluke, this is something we can do on a regular basis if we just continue to play well and pretty much we did that.”
On his inclusion in the game plan
“I don’t think there was any more emphasis or less. As we’ve said all year, some games the ball goes to some guys and some games it can be the receivers the tight end, the backs, whoever. I think the more guys you have involved the harder it is to stop an offense. Today just happened to be my day. It wasn’t anything special or particular we did. It just happened to be the way the ball went today.”
On Jay Cutler’s performance
“I don’t know if you’re going to get any better performance out of a quarterback in the playoffs. I don’t know what he threw for, but who cares. Two throwing touchdowns, no turnovers, taking care of the ball. Making those decisions, moving us up and down the field. I don’t know what more he could have done from that position in any game, let alone a playoff game. You can’t give enough credit to what he did.”
On being able to exploit the middle of the field
“Yeah, I don’t think you give enough credit to what our offensive line did. I know we had a few breakdowns, which weren’t necessarily their fault. They played great. Jay had some good time back there. To let the receivers develop. They played a lot of eight man box, they were scared of Matt (Forte) and Chester (Taylor) running the ball.”
On debunking that the tight end doesn’t feature in Martz’s offense
“We’re not trying to debunk anything or prove any points. I’ve said from day one, I’m happy to be a part of this offense, contribute and do a lot of things. Our relationship has been great. Guys are happy to do their part week in and week out. We don’t have any guys that say they need the ball or to have that many touches or if the game doesn’t go their way, pout. We don’t have guys like that. Everyone is all in. I think that’s a big reason why we’ve gotten this far.”
On his role or responsibilities in the offense
“Yeah, it’s no different. I have a few more responsibilities, so yeah, I guess it is different. A lot more pass protection. Picking up blitzes, especially on third down. I take a lot of pride in that, it feels real good when you pick somebody up on a blitz and Jay has a chance to step up and hit Jonny or Devin, or whoever for a first down. I take a lot of satisfaction in that. A lot of fullback, lead blocking stuff, playing back there in the backfield. As it has gone on, I’ve come to really enjoy that aspect.”
On answering questions all week about the Packers
“Yeah, that’s what makes it fun. If you could have told us that we’d be playing the NFC Championship against the Packers at home, I don’t know if you could have picked a better match-up and we’d have all signed on for it. Not question. We’re really excited. We going to enjoy this one and then get back to work, probably tomorrow.”
On the Packers' play yesterday
“By the time we got out of meetings it was kind of a blow-out. We got out of meeting it was half-time and it was 28 – 14, or whatever it was. Next thing you know it was 42, and we really didn’t get to see any of the exciting parts. But they looked good and we knew we needed to come out and make a statement like they did last night and for the most part I think we did.”
On whether there was a defining moment for Jay this season
“I think we came out of the bye and rattled off six in a row, or seven in a row and before today seven out of nine. I think that stretch right there showed what he’s, this offense and team are capable. We beat some good teams, went on the road, home, different environments. I think that stretch right there, when you win six or seven in a row in the NFL that’s not easy to do. It all starts with the quarterback. I think that stretch showed that this is his show.”
On ranking this game among the season’s performances
“It’s up there, but I don’t think it’s our best game. I really don’t. We missed some stuff. We were at a stalemate there, punting back and forth. We put a score up there late. We get third downs we have to convert those and keep drives going. We put the defense in a tough spot a couple of times there in the second half and those are going to come back to bite us against a really good team like the Packers.”
On preparing for Green Bay
“They do a great job scheme wise. They’re going to show you a lot of different looks, there’re going to fool you, they’re going to bring a lot of different things at the snap of the ball. They way they use those linebackers. Charles Woodson is one of the best in the league. They do a good job to disrupt you. We’re going to have to run the ball and hit some gaps and make them pay when they do some stuff.”
BRIAN URLACHER, LB
On the keys to the defense’s play
“We stopped the run early, the whole game actually. We played good. We got off the field on third down. We got pressure on the quarterback. We need take-aways but we did exactly what we wanted to do the whole game, until the last couple of drives there. Pretty good defensive game plan.”
On leaving the sideline during the game
“I had to go check on something in the locker room. Things are good though, thanks. I didn’t miss any plays, did I? I don’t think I missed any plays.”
On playing Green Bay
“They’re good. We know what they are. They have a great quarterback, great defense, so big challenge for us. We played pretty well against them here the past couple of years. Big challenge. Big history game. Only second time this has happened, someone on the field told me. Excited. Get a chance to play them in our place.”
On getting back to the NFC Championship Game
“It’s been a long way back. You know, we’ve had some bad years there. Coaches kept staying on us, we have some good players. We made some good trades and good free-agents. We’re back, playing together and hopefully peaking at the right time.”
On shutting down Marshawn Lynch
“They were in second and third and long a lot, so I think they went away from the run early. We did a good job the first couple plays; we got after them, moved downhill. He just didn’t get many chances, I guess. We’re a downhill defense, we got in the backfield, they were in bad situations to run the ball. They were down 28 points, pretty much took him out of the game.”On controlling the game
“They couldn’t stop our offense the first half there. We controlled the ball for most of the time, converted third-downs. We did a good job on third-downs of getting off the field, on defense too. Like I said, just executing our game plan, first half there, first three and a half quarters.”
On Aaron Rodgers’ play
“He just knows where to go with the football. I think the Falcons had a back-up guy in there yesterday, so they took advantage of that. He knows where to go with the football, he knows what coverage you’re in, you’re not going to trick him. They change up personnel a lot, too, run a lot of guys on, off the field, trying to get you off balance, get you thinking about what they’re doing. You’re not going to trick him, he knows where to go with the football, right when the ball is snapped and he doesn’t make bad throws.”
On the teams play coming off the bye
“We play well after bye weeks. We do the right things during the week, we take care of our bodies, then get our minds right. It’s a week off to rest your body. You take advantage of it like we did, concentrate on your game, get your game plan in during the week. It worked out good for us today.”
On playing defense with a good offense
“We were on the sideline for most of the game. It’s easy to play defense when you’re not playing. We did a good job, our offense converted third downs, scored a lot of points for us. It’s fun to watch. They protected the quarterback. Everything on offense we wanted to do, we did.”
On where this game's performance ranks in the season
“We won, that’s all I care about. I’m not going to rate it. We won. It wasn’t pretty at the end there, a little frustrating. We won the game, that’s all we care about. It was a big win because it was a playoff game.”
On whether they got into Matt Hasselbeck’s head
“I don’t think so, no. You’re not going to rattle him too much. We did what we wanted to do. We stopped the run. Got them in second, third and long and pressured them. That’s what we wanted to do.”
On the condition of the field
“Both teams have to play on it. It stinks for both teams. I think it’s the same way in Pittsburgh, that field is not that great either. Both teams have to play on it. Our receivers have to deal with it, our DBs, just like they do. It goes both ways. It wasn’t bad today.”
On making the NFC Championship game when not expected to
“We expected to be in this game. We didn’t get a lot of credit all season long, but we expected to be in this game. We’ve been good all season long. You play a game, you expect to win it. Hopefully, we’ll win next week.”
On being one step from the Super Bowl
“For our whole team, not just our defense, it’s a team game. We wouldn’t be here without our offense. They carried us the second half of the season when we weren’t playing that great, they carried us. It’s big. Maybe we’ll enjoy it more tomorrow. It’s exciting to get back in play in a game like this.”
On Cutler’s play
“Awesome. Played great. I don’t think he had any turnovers or anything like that. He threw the ball when he had to. Threw it away when he had to, ran it when he had to. Awesome, for his first playoff start.”
CUTLER HAS 111.3 PASSER RATING: Bears QB Jay Cutler completed 15 of 28 passing attempts for 274 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 111.3 passer rating. The 111.3 passer rating is third-highest all-time in the postseason among Bears quarterbacks with at least 20 passing attempts and fifth among Chicago QBs with at least 10 passing attempts.
BEARS HAVE 437 YARDS TOTAL OFFENSE: The Bears offense had 437 total net yards today, highest for the team during the Super Bowl era. The 176 net yards rushing is third most during that time and the 261 net passing yards is highest.
CUTLER HAS 43 YARDS RUSHING WITH TWO TOUCHDOWNS: QB Jay Cutler had a career-high 43 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the Bears Divisional Playoff versus Seattle. Cutler had a six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a nine-yard scoring scamper in the third quarter.Cutler is just the second quarterback in NFL history to have two passing touchdowns and two rushing scores in a postseason game (Otto Graham, Cleveland, two times: 1954 and 1955 NFL Championship Games). Cutler is the first Bears quarterback to run for a touchdown in a postseason contest since Jim McMahon also ran for two (two yards and one yard) in Super Bowl XX.
OLSEN HAS 113 YARDS RECEIVING: Bears TE Greg Olsen had three receptions for 113 yards, the first Bears tight end in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a postseason game. Olsen’s 113 yards receiving are third-most in Bears single-game postseason history. It was the first 100-yard receiving game of Olsen’s career.Olsen had a reception of 20-plus yards on each of the Bears first three touchdown drives (58-yard touchdown; 33 yards to the Seattle 12 on the second touchdown drive and 22 yards to the Seahawks 41 on the third). Olsen is the first Bears player with 100 yards receiving in a postseason contest since WR Bernard Berrian had 105 versus Seattle in the Divisional Playoff following the 2006 season (1/14/07).
TAYLOR HAS 1-YARD TOUCHDOWN RUN: RB Chester Taylor had a one-yard touchdown run on second-and-goal in the first quarter of the Bears Divisional Playoff versus Seattle. During the 2010 regular season, Taylor had three touchdown runs with all three coming from one-yard out. (Week 9 at Buffalo, second-and-goal; Week 13 at Detroit, first-and-goal; Week 14 versus New England, third-and-goal). On third-and-1 or fourth-and-1 situations during the 2010 regular season, Taylor converted six of eight attempts into first downs/touchdowns.
CUTLER CONNECTS WITH OLSEN FOR 58-YARD TOUCHDOWN: Bears QB Jay Cutler connected with TE Greg Olsen for a 58-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the Bears divisional playoff versus Seattle.The 58-yard reception was the longest of Olsen’s NFL career. Olsen is the fifth Bears tight end all-time to have a touchdown reception in the playoffs joining Desmond Clark (1/15/06 vs. CAR, 1 yard), Keith Jennings (1/1/95 at MIN, 9 yards), James Thorton (1/6/91 vs. NO, 18 yards) and Pat Dunsmore (12/30/84 at WAS, 19 yards).
BEARS DEFENSE HAS STRONG OUTING: The Bears defense held the Seahawks to 34 yards rushing on 12 attempts (2.8 ypc) in the Divisional Playoff contest, third lowest output by a Chicago opponent in the postseason during the Super Bowl era and lowest since holding the Patriots to seven yards rushing in Super Bowl XX.The Bears defense held the Seahawks to 3-of-14 on third downs (21.4 percent), lowest by a Chicago opponent since holding New Orleans to 2-of-13 on third downs (15.4 percent) on 1/6/91. The Monsters of the Midway forced Seattle into four three and out drives including three on their first four possessions. The Bears offense scored a touchdown after each three-and-out drive by the Chicago defense, equaling 28 points.
From their 20, the Bears send Chester Taylor up the middle, for two. On second down, Jay Cutler zings it to Johnny Knox, who can't corral it. On third down, Cutler lets the blitz go past him and runs 20.
Matt Forte from the wildcat, throws into traffic ,and it's intercepted by Aaron Curry.
Matt Hasselbeck throws incomplete, he finds Brandon Stokely who gets to about the 23 yard line, it's third and one. And Charles Tillman breaks up the pass to Michael Williams. They go for it on fourth down, and Tim Jennings is called for interference. First down. On the next play Williams can't hang on after a jarring hit from Major Wright. Hasselbeck avoids the blitz, he hits Brandon Stokley for six.
Stokely rolls and catches near the two. First and goal.
Charles Tillman is ruining Mike Williams day, he breaks up another pass, this time in the end zone. Ben Obamanu fares no better on second down, but Hasselbeck gets Williams in the slot, for a touchdown.
11:21 left in the game
Olindo Mare kicks a squib, and Johnny Knox recovers at the 26. Cutler hands off to Forte, who gets nothing. Forte takes a screen 19 yards to the 46 for a first down.
Cutler hits Knox on a quick slant for seven yards. They're in Seattle territory. Chester taylor keeps his legs moving to the 37. greg Olsen drops a screen pass, followed by a one yard gain by Taylor. Under pressure Cutler, throws it away. Brad Maynard punts to the five, where the ball is caught cleanly by Bears special teams ace Corey Graham.
On first down, Hasselbeck connects with Justin Forsett for 22 yards. Mike Willaims drops a second down, and Tommie Harris buries Hasselbeck for a sack.
Devin Hester calls for the fair catch, just inside Seahawks territory.
With 6:17 left, the Bears start from the 48. Matt Forte turns the corner for five. He twists through the line for another four. Jay Cutler lofts one that lands in Kellen davis' chest, he moves in for the touchdown.
4:40 left in the game. Robbie Gould to kick. Leon Washington returns to the 26. Forsett takes the handoff for eight. He's shaken up on the play. Hasselbeck hits Brandon Stokely for 21 yards. Cameron Morrah gets six, and he takes it the Bears 30, on the next play.
Hasselbeck is swarmed, but he hits Washington for ten, on a shovel pass. After a timeout, he hits Stokely, and it's first and goal at the four. Tillman bobbles the interception, and Williams gets the gift touchdown.
The Seahawks onside kick, and theirs a pile, but the Bears come up with the ball.
They'll start from the Seattle 37, Forte bounces out for seven.Timeout Seattle at 2:05, and Forte hits the pile for one at the two minute warning. After Forte is wrapped up for a one yard loss, Seattle calls time.
The Bears can't convert on fourth and three, and Olin Kreutz gets an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a late hit.
From the 35, Hasselbeck hits Obamanu for 46 yards, and then Stokely for the touchdown.
That was fast. With 1:24 left the Seahawks will onside kick for the third time. Johnny Knox pulls it down at the Seattle 47 yard line. The Bears will let the clock run out.
35-24 Bears final.
Congratulations to the Chicago Bears and their fans!
With a 21 point lead, and one half of football to go, the Chicago Bears will take the kickoff to start the half. Devin Hester takes it to the 24.
On first down, Matt Forte takes it for four yards, he fight for another yard, and it's third and five. Jay Cutler can't hit Earl Bennett and the Bears will punt.
Brad Maynard kicks a high one, that Golden Tate takes back about ten yards.
From the 35, the Bers push Marshawn Lynch back, he goes nowhere. Justin Forsett is stopped for no gain, and Matt Hasselbeck's third down pass is broken up by Charles Tillman.
Devin Hester takes the punt, but can't turn the corner. With 12:1 left the Bears start from their 30. Matt Forte pushes for five yards, then three more. Cutler has time, but no receivers, he scrambles out of bounds for eight yards and a first.
A pitch to Forte gets one, and dump pass gets the rest. A screen to Hester goes for six, and Forte can't get around and loses one yard. Cutler finds Johnny Knox all alone at the Seahawk 24. It's a first down. Kellen Davis gets upended by Marcus Trufant, who is injured on the play.
Once again a Seahawks player will be carted off, after having his head and neck secured.
There's 6:59 left in the third. It's second and seven from the Seattle 21. Forte gets six, and gets three for a first down, and goal to go.
From the eight, Forte gets one yard up the middle, then on a wildcat Forte hands off to Chester Taylor for three. Cutler takes a high snap in the shotgun, and and he races for the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, his second today.
Leon Washington returns the kickoff 62 yards, Robbie Gould saves the touchdown.
Matt Hasselbeck hits Stokely for a first, in hurry up. and they get two yards, on second down, Mike Willaims slips, and the pass is incomplete. hasselbeck lofts on towards the end zone, incomplete, but the Bears are called for illegal contact, and they move the chains.
From the 13, Robinson gets to the nine, and he's shaken up. It's been announced Chris harris has a hip injury and has been replaced by D.J. Moore.
Second and seven, and an incomplete. Charles Tillman breaks up the pass that Hasselbeck was forced to throw under pressure from Julius Peppers. They bring out the field goal unit, and the 30 yarder is good.
With 1:52 left, Danieal Manning makes a nice return, but it's called back on a holding call on Henry Melton.
From the nine, Chester Taylor forces his way for six, he gets three more on the next play. Third and one, with 24 seconds left, the Bears call timeout. Taylor gets the first, and time will expire in the third quarter.
Brandon Stokely appears to get the first, but it's called back in a holding penalty. This is a classic Julius Peppers benefit. Linemen will attempt to hold him all day, and it's often good for some flags.
Third and fifteen, and Matt Hasselbeck overthrows Mike Williams. They'll punt, and the Bears let it go. They'll start from their 37 yard line.
Jay Cutler and the offense have been sharp so far. A draw and pass across the field to greg Olsen goes for another first down. lsen has three big catches already. Chester Taylor gets eight on the next play. Taylor moves the pile enough for the first down at the Seattle 30 yard line.
Cutler under pressure, throws the ball away. Forte goes around end for eight yards, and is pushed out of bounds by Lawyer Milloy. Cutler drops back, and hits Earl Bennett for the first on the 11 yard line.
Forte goes up the gut for five, but Cutler's pass is batted down. On third down, he scrambles into the end zone. Touchdown!
With 10:01 left, Robbie Gould boots it into the end zone, for a touchback. The Seahawks will start from their 20.
Matt Hasselbeck, gives to Justin Forsett for two, then Ben Obamanu gets seven. Tillman gets called for interference, and that moves the chains.
On first down, Brandon Stokely can't hold on, he can't reach the ball on second down, and it's third and ten, and Obamanu can't hold on. The Bears secondary is tight in coverage, and every pass is being contested.
Devin Hester fair catches the punt at the 26.
They're called for false start on first down, and Matt Forte gets the first on a screen.
A screen to Hester goes incomplete, and Matt Forte gets the first down, and crosses into Seattle territory.
A pass to Earl Bennett is broken up downfield. A flip to Chester Taylor gets enough for the first down, but Hester gets a foul for an illegal block.
Second and 21, and Cutler hits Johnny Knox at the Seahawks 44 yard line, making it third and 12. Cutler from the shotgun, gets hit from behind and fumbles, but J'Marcus Webb recovers. The Bears punt, and Corey Grant makes an excellent play, stopping the ball at the one yard line.
There's 5:12 left on the clock and Seattle starts from as close to 100 yards away, as you possibly can. Michael Robinson gets one on first down, and Hasselbeck makes a nice throw but the receiver can't hang on. Ben Obamanu pulls it in at the 14, and the Seahawks have a first. They give to Lynch who gets four, Williams gets three more on second down. Third and three, and Golden ate tries to one hand the ball, incomplete. They punt, and the ball takes a Bears bounce, they'll start at the Seattle 44. A screen to Hester doesn't develop, and it's the two minute warning.
Second and 12, and Cutler throws incomplete to Olsen. He has plenty of time, but seattle throws everyone in coverage, and they're three and out.
A holding call and the Bears punt from farther back. Brad Maynard's kick goes to the Seattle 19, and there's 1:31 left in the half. Hasselbeck hits Robinson for the first. His next toss is incomplete. Under pressure he dumps off to Brandon Stokely, he gets maybe one, and can't get out of bounds, The Seahawks take a timeout.
Tommie Harris comes in with a crowd and sacks Hasselbeck. hey'll punt on fourth and 16. With 43 seconds, from the 32, Cutler is sacked.
It's a cold day in Soldier Field, as the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears host the NFC West Champion Seattle Seahawks, and it's cold, and the turf is choppy, so conditions are perfect for football in Chicago. The wind wasn't supposed to be a factor, but the snow flurries appear to be moving sideways. On Fox, Terry Bradshaw has just picked the Seattle Seahawks, so that's more bad news for Seattle fans.
The Bears kick to Seattle's Leon Washington, who brings it out to the 23 yard line. Matt Hasselbeck hands off to Washington, who runs for nine, on second down Marshawn Lynch is swarmed behind the line of scrimmage, for a loss of two. On third down, Brandon Stokely can't hang on, and the Seahawks punt.
Devin Hester fair catches at the 34 yard line. Jay Cutler hands to Matt Forte for five, on second down Forte is jammed up the middle but slides around end for three yards. On third down Jay Cutler rears back and finds Greg Olsen downfield on the run, and he goes to the end zone untouched.
The Seahawks start near their own 25 yard line.Tight end John Carlson goes up for a pass and falls hard head first to the turf. It's a long stoppage, and they will take him out on the cart. It's very quiet and solemn on the field and sidelines, making it seem as though he's seriously hurt.
He's taken off the field, the Seahawks are at their 38, and cross midfield on the next play. Hasselbeck hits Cameron Morrah perfectly, but he drops the ball. Second down and Brian Urlacher stuffs the run at the line. Morrah gets close on third down, but can't convert, and they'll punt.
Hester is back, he lets it go, and it hops out of bounds near the nine yard line.
Forte gets back to the line on first down, and then Cutler hits a wide open Johnny Knox for 18 yards.
First down, and Cutler throws incomplete to Olsen, Forte breaks a tackle on second down, and gets six. But Cutler can't escape Lofa Tatupu, and the Bears will punt.
Golden Tate fair catches around the Seahawks 37, and Hasselbeck and the Seahawks will start with good field position.
The snow is coming down heavy, and Marshawn Lynch is brought down for no gain. Mike Williams gets seven on the slant, and Tim Jennings breaks up the third down pass. They'll punt.
This time Hester has a sliver of room and he takes 26 yards to midfield, before being pushed out of bounds.
Matt Forte goes up the middle for five, and the Bears O-line is making room. Cutler finds Olsen on the sideline, and he almost breaks it for another TD, First down near the ten.
Jay Cutler makes a block for Earl Bennett who gets to the three. On second and one, Cutler almost gets picked in the end zone, but the ball is dropped. On third down Forte appears short. As time is running, Lovie Smith who wanted a measurement, is forced to call timeout.
Cutler gets the first on the sneak. They're right at the goal line, and on second down Chester Taylor walks in for the touchdown.
With 1:19 left in the quarter, the Seahawks will receive. Washington is taken down by Corey Graham, at the 2b. Hasselbeck tosses a screen to Justin Forsett, who fights for six yards. A motion penalty pushes them back and it's second and eight. They get it back to the 33 as time expires in the first quarter.
Today at Noon CST, the Chicago Bears host the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoff round.Seattle stunned the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints last week to advance to this round. The Bears were given a bye week as the number two seeded team in the tournament. The Green Bay Packers dismantled the top seeded Atlanta Falcons last night 48-21, so the winner of today's game will have home-field advantage for the NFC Championship game.
The Bears are in an excellent position to go all the way to the Super Bowl.
Let's put aside the tsunami of negative stories the media (especially the Chicago dailies) have churned out this week. At least for now. We won't forget the attitudes of the local punditry, who have spent the week behaving as though they worked for Pepsi, and the Chicago Bears were Coke. Let's look at some basic comparisons.
First and foremost, the Bears are 11-5 and the NFC North Champions. The Packers are America's Sweethearts again, and Chicago beat them for the title. The Bears basically let them in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, even with a playoff win last week, the Seahawks are 8-9. They limped into the playoffs agaginst the weakest competition the NFL has to offer. They played the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals twice, and still ended the regualr season two games below .500.
Jay Cutler has never been to the post-season before it's true. But who better to play against in your debut? Matt Hasselbeck has playoff experience, yes. He's lost every one of the five road games he's played in. It's experience, but it's not experience you'd necessarily want.
They're saying the Seattle Seahawks are rolling, peaking at the right time. Well, they've lost five of their last eight games. Yes they beat the Saints, who were heavily favored, like the Bears are today. But that was in Seattle, with their noisy crowd and mild weather. They outplayed New Orleans, but just barely. They got the bounces and the calls.
You can't help but like a scrappy underdog team like Seattle. It's exciting to see anyone play above their depth. and they may just give the Bears a game today. Any given Sunday, etc.
But when you strip away all the hype about the Cinderella team, and all the sniping and doom-saying about the 11-5 Chicago Bears, the fact of the matter is this: The Bears are the best team still in the NFC playoffs, and Seattle is a statistical anomaly.
Remember that I'll be here all through the game, bringing you all the action and highlights.
NFL Playoff Preview – Seattle (8-9) at Chicago (11-5)
Sports Network | January 13, 2011
(Sports Network) – The Seattle Seahawks, the first team to win a division with a losing record, showed last Saturday the ultimate example of “any given Sunday.”
Heavy underdogs for a second straight weekend, the Seahawks will try to pick up their first road postseason win since 1983 and pull off another upset as they visit the second-seeded Chicago Bears this Sunday in an NFC Divisional Playoff at Soldier Field.
Few felt the Seahawks belonged in the postseason, much less deserved a fourth seed and opening-round home game, after they won the NFC West with just a 7-9 mark. That set Seattle up for a meeting with the defending champion New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round, with the Seahawks considered double-digit underdogs.
However, behind four touchdown passes by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and an amazing game-clinching 67-yard scoring run by Marshawn Lynch late in the game — in which the running back busted through at least six tackles — the Seahawks knocked off the Saints, 41-36, for their fifth straight playoff victory at Qwest Field.
Seattle rallied from a pair of early 10-point deficits with a 27-3 run that began early in the second quarter and stretched through the third. That made the Seahawks the first team to defeat a defending champion in the postseason after trailing by 10 or more points.
“We don’t really worry about what other people say,” Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock said. “We believe in each other and we just want to go out there and play like we know we can play. If we keep winning games, we’ll get more believers. It’s really up to us.”
Things don’t get any easier now for the Seahawks, who have lost seven straight road playoff tests since winning their first and only postseason game as the guest on Dec. 31, 1983 at Miami. Head coach Pete Carroll will also have to make sure his team isn’t still caught up in last weekend’s victory.
“Last week is gone, forgotten for us and our focus is truly on what’s going on right now,” said Carroll.
Seattle, though, does own a victory in Chicago already this season, a 23-20 win that came right after the Seahawks’ bye and was their only one versus a playoff-bound team during the regular season.
With the extra week to prepare, the Seahawks sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler six times and Chicago went 0-for-12 on converting third downs. Offensively, Lynch and Justin Forsett combined for 111 rushing yards and both running backs found the end zone.
Chicago gave up a pair of long touchdown drives in that loss and did not record a sack or a takeaway. The Bears come into this rematch healthy and fresh, while Cutler thinks the extra week will benefit the club, especially when it gives offensive coordinator Mike Martz some extra time to scheme.
“He gets a better feel for what [the opponents] are going to do in certain situations, which in turn gives him an advantage in calling plays,” Cutler said. “In third down, in red zone, on second and long, he can see things and he can dial some stuff up that he might be hesitant to call if he hasn’t seen enough film on them or if they are doing a lot different stuff.”
Chicago won five of its final seven regular-season games to win its third NFC North title under head coach Lovie Smith, but did lose a 10-3 matchup to Green Bay in Week 17. Smith will hope this weekend for a better result than that meaningless finale or the one his team put up against Seattle earlier.
“When you play someone again for the second time and you know each other fairly well, you want to of course add a few things, which both of us will do,” Smith said of the rematch. “But as much as anything, just try to execute a little bit better than we did the first time around.”
Chicago is back in the postseason for the first time since 2006, a run that ended with a Super Bowl loss to Indianapolis.
These teams have met one time before in the postseason, with the Bears coming through with a hard-fought 27-24 overtime triumph over Seattle in a 2006 NFC Divisional Playoff at Soldier Field, a win that helped propel Chicago to its last Super Bowl appearance.
The Seahawks took an 8-4 lead in their all-time regular-season series with Chicago after the previously-noted Week 6 verdict. Before that victory, Seattle hadn’t prevailed at Soldier Field since 1999, dropping a 2006 encounter there in addition to its loss in that year’s playoffs.
Smith is 3-2 against the Seahawks in his career and owns a 2-2 lifetime mark in the postseason. Carroll is 2-1 overall against the Bears, including a loss during his tenure with the New York Jets in 1994 and a win while directing the New England Patriots in 1997, and also sports a 2-2 record in the playoffs over the course of his coaching career.
Seattle’s win at Soldier Field in mid-October marked the first-ever head-to- head matchup between Smith and Carroll.
WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE BALL
Seattle received inspired play last weekend from Hasselbeck (3001 passing yards, 12 TD, 17 INT), who was forced to miss the club’s Week 17 division- clinching victory over the Rams due to a hip injury. He even had to have fluid drained from the hip last week, but still set a team playoff record for touchdown passes in a game. Hasselbeck, a veteran of 10 postseason games, has thrown a touchdown pass in nine consecutive playoff tilts and can become just the seventh player in league history to throw one in 10 straight. Seattle averaged just 19.4 points per game during the regular season, but set a franchise playoff best with 41 points last weekend. Tight end John Carlson (31 receptions, 1 TD) didn’t do much scoring during the regular season, but caught a pair of touchdown passes versus the Saints. Wide receivers Mike Williams (65 receptions, 2 TD) and Ben Obomanu (30 receptions, 4 TD) both had five receptions last weekend, with Williams hauling in a touchdown pass, while Brandon Stokley (31 receptions) made four catches for a club-high 73 yards with a score. Williams tagged the Bears for 10 catches and 123 yards in the previous meeting. Seattle ranked 31st in the league with an average of just 89.0 yards per game on the ground, but Lynch (737 rushing yards, 6 TD) became the first Seattle player to reach 100 yards in a game this season with his 19- carry, 131-yard performance versus the Saints.
The Bears will try to keep Seattle’s newfound run game in check, something they excelled at during the regular season. Though they struggled against the Seahawks back in October, the Bears still ranked second in rushing defense at 90.1 yards per game allowed. Chicago also ranked second in the NFC with 35 takeaways and had three players finish with four-plus interceptions for the first time since 1986. Safety Chris Harris (70 tackles) and cornerback Charles Tillman (82 tackles) led the way with five each, while corner D.J. Moore (42 tackles, 1 sack) had four. Linebacker Brian Urlacher (125 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT) reached 100 tackles for the 10th time in his 11-year career and figures to be Lynch’s major obstacle, while Seattle will also have to deal with fellow Pro Bowl honoree Lance Briggs (89 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INT). The linebacker did not play versus Seattle earlier this year due to injury. Chicago did rank 20th versus the pass (224.3 ypg), but Hasselbeck will still have his hands full with defensive ends Israel Idonije (49 tackles) and Julius Peppers (54 tackles, 2 INT). The duo tied for the team lead with eight sacks each, a career high for Idonije. Peppers has two sacks, one interception and a forced fumble in eight career playoff games, while Urlacher has 43 tackles, a sack and a pick in five.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
Chicago ranked 30th in total offense (289.4 ypg) and 21st in scoring (20.9 ppg) in the regular season, and Cutler, running back Matt Forte, wide receiver Johnny Knox and tight end Greg Olsen will all be making their postseason debuts. Cutler (3274 passing yards, 23 TD, 16 INT) turned in the third-highest season passing yards total in team history, but was picked off six times over Chicago’s last four games with six touchdown passes. Typical under a Martz offense, Cutler was also sacked a league-high 52 times. Forte (1069 rushing yards, 51 receptions, 9 total TD) was limited to just 11 yards on eight carries when the Bears last faced the Seahawks, but he joined Hall of Famer Walter Payton as the only Chicago backs with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a season. Knox (51 receptions, 5 TD), meanwhile, had five catches for 120 yards versus Seattle and tied Forte for the club lead in receptions this season. His five touchdown receptions also matched Olsen (41 receptions) for the team lead, with wideout Devin Hester (40 receptions) adding four. Hester, though, has never caught a pass in the playoffs and Chicago ranked just 28th in passing offense (188.4 ypg) while failing to produce a 1,000-yard receiver.
Seattle both bent and broke last weekend versus the Saints, allowing 474 yards of offense, including 404 passing by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. Two of New Orleans’ four touchdowns also came on the ground to balance out the attack, not surprising given that the Seahawks ranked 27th in total defense (368.6 ypg) and 25th in scoring defense (25.4 ppg) in the regular season. They’ll need a better effort this weekend, similar to the one when they last faced the Bears. Chicago had just 307 yards in that game, while safety Lawyer Milloy (88 tackles, 4 sacks) had two of Seattle’s six sacks. Safety Jordan Babineaux (46 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 INT) also had a big game with 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. Linebacker David Hawthorne (106 tackles, 1 INT) was busy versus the Saints, making a team-high nine tackles, while rookie safety Earl Thomas (76 tackles, 5 INT) and cornerback Kelly Jennings (40 tackles) had eight each. Brock (32 tackles, 9 sacks) had Seattle’s lone sack versus the Saints and also forced a fumble that Hawthorne recovered. He and fellow defensive end Chris Clemons (49 tackles, 11 sacks) will be counted on to pressure Cutler. Linebacker Lofa Tatupu (88 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) suffered a concussion versus the Saints, but is expected to play this weekend.
Both teams have very dangerous return men, with Leon Washington handling the role for the Seahawks. Washington is the first player in league history to return three kickoffs for a score in two different seasons and was fifth in the NFC with a 25.6 kickoff return average. His seven career kick return touchdowns rank seventh in league history, and he also averaged 11.3 yards per punt return. Punter Jon Ryan ranked seventh in the NFC with 27 punts inside the 20-yard line, including a career-high six versus the Bears earlier this year. Kicker Olindo Mare made good on both of his field goal tries last weekend and went 25-of-30 during the regular season with a long of 51. He added 20 touchbacks on kickoffs.
Equally as dangerous to Washington is Hester, who holds the NFL record with 14 career combined return touchdowns (10 PR, 4 KR) and had a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI. He averaged 17.1 yards per punt return with three touchdowns and 35.6 per kickoff return in the regular season. Danieal Manning averaged 24.7 yards per kickoff return for Chicago. Kicker Robbie Gould was also 25-of-30 this year on field goal tries with a long of 54, while punter Brad Maynard buried 24 of his 83 kicks inside the 20. Gould is a perfect 6-for-6 on field goal attempts in four playoff games.
The Bears seem to be a better matchup on paper for the Seahawks than the Saints were, so a victory on Sunday might not be viewed as that big of an upset. Seattle should have a wave of momentum from last weekend’s victory and already owns a win at Solider Field this year. However, as pointed out earlier it was the Seahawks who had the week off before they faced the Bears in October, while healthy Chicago will be the one that’s better rested this weekend. Hasselbeck’s hip injury could linger, and some hits from Peppers and Idonije could end his day early. Seattle won’t be taking anybody by surprise this Sunday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bears 20, Seahawks 13
As we wait for the Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks to kick off at Noon CST tomorrow, heres a link to videos from chicagobears.com. The top ten plays of the Bears regular season. Enjoy! And don't forget to look here tomorrow for all the highlights from the Divisional match-ups
The Chicago Bears Vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, noon CST) is Chicago's first playoff game since 2006. The 2006 team went on to play in the Super Bowl. Will anything less for the 2010 team mean this season was wasted? Plenty of people want to make that case, but it's mostly case of holding the Bears to an unrealistically high standard. There's been plenty of good to appreciate in a season, that many of those same people predicted would be a sub .500 year for Chicago.
Ther have been plenty of low points, with Jay Cutler being knocked out of the Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, and the two consecutive lackluster home losses by 3 points apiece, against the Seahawks and the Redskins. But there have been plenty of great moments, and several indications of a team that's still got more potential to achieve.
Regardless of the out come of the Bears playoff run this year, I've enjoyed the ride, and I've really enjoyed sharing my thoughts, and bringing you the play-by-plays of the games this year.
Injury Report: It's kind of hard getting anything concrete out of the Bears and Seahawks camps.Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is rumoured to have had a setback with his ankle injury. Word is, he's sporting a lot of tape. If he's unavailable, then Nick Roach will fill in, as he has at times this season.
For the Seahawks, head coachPete Carroll is still insisting he's hopeful for Lofa Tatupa to be cleared from his concussion to play. They say he participated in limited drills on Friday, although he's yet to pass the necessary doctor's exam to be allowed. My understanding was that, under the new guidelines, players were not permitted to practice or play, without being certified as symptom-free.
Keep your eye on SB Nation Chicago, we will be keeping you updated on all the week's NFL news along with live reports during every game. Add @sbnchicago and @BabylonDon1 to your Twitter account, and be informed of every 2011 playoff update on SB Nation Chicago
With the Divisional round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs scheduled to begin tomorrow, and the Chicago Bears set to take on the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday (noon CST), we take a look at the Bears; The 2011 Playoff Edition.
The defense has been rock steady. Robbie Gould and Devin Hester are two key elements in what some people are claim is the best special teams group in NFL history. The offense? Well, that's a little more involved.
We have a reliable running back in Matt Forte. He shook our confidence last year, after his stellar rookie season, he couldn't seem to get out of the backfield. We learned afterward that he'd been playing hurt most of the year. He's back this year, and what's more is he's shown some skills as a receiver that were barely hinted at, when the Bears offense only flavor was vanilla. Chester Taylor is an experienced second option, who hasn't always played to expectations this year.
The receivers have gained plenty of experience. They were among the league's youngest groups last year, but they've taken some strides and you can almost chart their progress over this season, picking up Mike Martz's complicated offenses. Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox have emerged as Cutler's go-to guys, and Devin Hester continues to improve, and make defenses account for him on every down. Last year, it looked to me at least, Johnny Knox was blowing routes a lot. This year, even with much more to know, the receivers' all look much sharper.
Jay Cutler, amidst a non-stop barrage of negative perceptions, has quietly broken many Bears quarterback records and has brought his team to an NFC North championship in his second year on the team. He's taken a lot of sacks, and endured a lot of hits, but keeps the offense moving. His decision making can be tainted sometimes by his self-confidence, and although he's thrown less interceptions than he did last year, that threat hangs over the offense on every passing down. Chicago fans aren't used to this kind of wide-open offense, and the highs and lows can be a bit dizzying.
But now we're in the playoffs and the group we need to depend on most has been the least dependable, or even identifiable: the offensive line.
In the first half of the season, the line was the deciding factor in how the offense played, as well as whether or not the Bears won. The defense was keeping the team in games, and if the offense could settle down for one or two key drives, they won. If not, they lost. The Seahawks game in Week Six was a prime example of that.
Mike Tice's group was the joker in the deck, in the first half. While they still give up some sacks, they've become a far more solid unit. Veterans Olin Kreutz, and a now healthy Roberto Garza are helping the younger players overcome their shortcomings. And the fact that they've all got locked into position and assignments is a huge advantage, more than any other group, an offensive line requires repetition to perform well.
And this is the time for that repetition to start paying off. I believe this Chicago Bears team can overcome poor play by any other single unit, if the other play to form.
Except the offensive line. If the line can't hold up for Cutler to drop back, or if it can't open up some holes for Matt Forte, the bears have a very slim margin to win with.
As game day approaches for the Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks Divisional Playoff (Sunday, noon CST), the excitement is beginning to build, at least in some quarters. The eternally mild Lovie Smith and his equally impassive quarterback Jay Cutler are displaying their typical cool exteriors. And why not? Seattle head coach Pete Carroll seems almost giddy, and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets wakes up in the morning spouting sound bites, and that works for them. It's their style.
But there's certainly nothing wrong with maintaining a poker face. Keeping an even keel, flying under the radar?The Chicago Bears are giving you nothing extra. No bulletin board material, just game film.
Besides, if they win on Sunday, to advance to the NFC Championship game, the national media is going to descend on Halas Hall, like Mongolians attacking the Great wall of China so let them enjoy the peace and quiet, while they can.
Opening The Lines Of Communication: Earlier in the week, we reported on a column from a Minnesota sportswriter, speculating on the Vikings interest in pursuing Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck in the off-season. If nothing else, that column helped solidify Matt's bond with Pete Carroll. When asked, Carroll insisted that the Seahawks want the veteran passer back for another season. And Hasselbeck has said in no uncertain terms, that it's his wish to retire a Seahawk.
And it's safe to assume that doesn't mean he wants to retire on the playing field underneath a Bears defensive player, the way Brett Favre did, under Corey Wootton.
Injury Report: The Bears reported that everyone practiced Wednesday. Receiver Earl Bennett, who missed the last game of the regular season with an ankle injury, was active.
For the Seahawks, linebacker Lofa Tatupu is still recovering from a concussion. He was not scheduled to practice yesterday, but the Seahawks remain hopeful he'll be available for Sunday.
In today’s Sun-Times, Mark Konkol reports that there’s a “bear market” for tickets to Sunday’s Bears-Seahawks playoff game.
Heh, heh. “Bear market”. Get it?
Seriously, though, the marketplace is way down from where you’d think it would be for the first Bears home playoff game in four years. Konkol reports:
On Wednesday, the cheapest ticket available on stubhub.com — nose-bleed seats in the western grandstand — were going for $111, just four bucks more than face value.
The same prices apply this morning on Stubhub’s page for this game, so clearly, these tickets aren’t moving. I would expect these prices to start coming down so the sellers don’t have to eat them. Further, on Ticketmaster’s Ticket Exchange site, there are a handful of upper level tickets going for even less than that.
Could we see the unthinkable on Sunday? A Bears home playoff game with empty seats? It won’t be because of the weather, which is supposed to be decent, cloudy with a high around 20 and a chance of some light snow (and let’s not start with the “Bear weather” thing again after the snowy loss to the Patriots).
Anyway, if you wait, you might be able to score a pretty inexpensive ticket to Sunday’s game.
It's been said that 'those who forget the past, are destined to repeat it'. But what about those who remember the past, just a little inaccurately? Bears and Seahawks fans both remember the Week Six game that the Seahawks won 23-20, but a look around various chat rooms and comments sections suggest that maybe some Seattle fans recall it a little differently, a little more magical than it actually was.
Like an old hippie, waxing nostlagic about Woodstock. Sure he got to see (Seattle native) Jimi Hendrix, but he forgets the part where he was covered in mud and Wavy Gravy had to 'talk him down'. I'm just saying that sometimes we recall the past as being a little better than it was.
I'm seeing phrases like "beat the Bears easily", and "The Bears are 10 point favorites? Shouldn't that be the other way around? Didn't we already beat them by that much?"
They're very excited that they advanced in the playoffs, and who can blame them? It's like a Cinderella story, if Cinderella was even uglier than her step-sisters, but still got a shot at the prince.
But you're not at the ball yet, Seattle.
Yes, the Seahawks beat the Bears earlier this year, and sure it could happen again. But It wasn't quite the glorious victory you seem to recall.
Overall the Bears performance was flat. In fact it was almost flat line. But they've managed to resuscitate the patient, and he's doing quite nicely.
You got to see Jay Cutler returning from a concussion suffered in a game against the New York Giants. You should of seen THAT game! That was a beating. So Jay was just coming back, and Mike Martz still hadn't discovered that you can run a football, as well as pass one.
So you broke through the offensive line and sacked Cutler six times. That was tough to watch, if you're a Bears fan I can tell you.
But see, we don't use that particular group these days. The guys we have now, while they're not getting invites to any Pro Bowls any time soon, they're doing a bit better in protection.
On defense, there's Lance Briggs. You haven't met him yet, but he gets invited to Pro Bowls all the time. He was out with an ankle injury, last we saw one another.
And do you remember the Danieal Manning 89 yard touchdown return, called back on an 'iffy' penalty? I know you remember Devin Hester's return, that one didn't get called back. The margin of victory for you guys was that really rare miss on a field goal attempt by Robbie Gould.
A lot of things went your way that day, for you to get that 'easy' three point win. I'm just saying.
But you know what? I like how enthusiastic you all are, even if if it's a little overstated. The Bears went 11-5 in the regular season, and there are plenty of Chicago 'fans' who behave like they went 5-11 instead. Some of it's just a Chicago thing, the Cubs alone have made bitter cynics of many of us. But the truth is, some of these guys? If they found the Hope Diamond in their Cracker-Jack box they'd complain because they didn't get enough peanuts.
So good for you, enjoy the ride. It's a lot of fun, isn't it?
But fair warning...It's almost midnight.
What Could Go Wrong? : The NFC North Champion Chicago Bears are 10 point favorites over the visiting Seattle Seahawks according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. Just thought I'd let you know, in case you didn't learn anything about the perils of listening to Las Vegas oddsmakers last week.
Caffiene Makes Me Jittery, Too: It's being reported that the crowd noise during Marshawn Lynch's nail-in-the-coffin 67 yard touchdown run Sunday triggered seismic activity, as recorded by a neraby monitoring device. Scientists are unable to determine if the crowds extreme agitation was excitement over the rare sight of Lynch performing to expectations, or if it was from the massive amounts of coffee consumed by Seattleites to stave off the depression of never seeing the sun shine.
How These Rumors Get Started: A sports writer in Minnesota, who has a little free time now that the Vikings are done for the year, writes a column essentially saying, "Hey, the Vikings could use a guy like Hasselbeck". In it he speculates that maybe Matt Hasselbeck has a little game left in him, and it seems like the Seahawks are gonna let him go. The story kicks around the internet for awhile, and suddenly it's a nationally reported story. Meanwhile, the Vikings organization and Hasselbeck now have to answer questions about this issue, they've almost certainly never even considered. And after Brett Favre and his implosion last year, will the Vikings even want another old arm to fill out the uniform while they decide what their real future holds?
Injury Report: Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu is making strides returning from the concussion he suffered Saturday, according to Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll. Wide receiver Ben Obomanu suffered a dislocated shoulder in that game as well. And although he returned to play against the saints, he's also being held out of practice.
The Chicago Bears are expected to be at full strength come Sunday.
Insult report: So far, all sides are being very respectful. Matt Hasselbeck did say he was hoping to play Chicago, but only because a victory against the Bears plus a Packers victory over the Falcons, would give the Seahawks home field for the NFC Championship. A little audacious, but not exactly Rex Ryan caliber smack-talk. Likewise, a couple of the Bears defenders believe the outcome of the Week Six loss to Seattle may have been different if linebacker Lance Briggs had been available. Coaches Pete Carroll and Lovie Smith both shun the kind of braggadocio that makes for bulletin board material, so we'll have to wait for Sunday, where there teams can do their talking on the field. which is just how it should be.
Don't Forget: I'll be here Saturday and Sunday, bringing you blow-by-blow descriptions of all the divisional round games. If you can't be in front of a TV for any of the contests, you can reports and updates right here. And if you add us to your twitter account, yo can be alerted the second anything happens. And if you haven't voted (or even if you have, this is Chicago, baby!) in our poll yet, please scroll down, and tell us what you think will happen Sunday.
The 'Most Dangerous Team In The NFC Playoffs', the Green Bay Packers, beat the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night by five points. The Eagles' usually reliable kicker David Akers missed two field goals. One of DeSean Jackson's teammates fell on his ankle, taking him out for a significant amount of the game. Michael Vick rolled his ankle, escaping pressure.
If the Chicago Bears had played this game and won, the story would be 'The Bears Get Lucky, Survive Eagles'. Every ex-jock from the NFL Network to ESPN to Fox to NBC, to CBS. The Chicago dailies would express wonderment over the Bears' good fortune.
Heck, the Bears didn't play in this game, and Rick Morrissey STILL called them 'lucky'.
That's been the story of the Chicago Bears this season.
Why? Mostly because all those people who are calling them lucky today, were calling them 'terrible' in September. And they couldn't be wrong, could they? The Bears won, and they said the opponents were 'bad'. They kept winning and the opponents were 'overrated'. Finally, when the Bears started beating playoff caliber teams, they became 'lucky'.
And they were. Demonstrably wrong.
The Chicago Bears won more football games than anyone else in their division. They won more than the Green Bay Packers, who many of these same experts picked to go to the Super Bowl. They won more games than the Minnesota Vikings, another very popular pick among those in the know, earlier in the year.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Bears are fortunate, that's true. More fortunate than last year, when they lost two starting linebackers in the first game of the season. They're healthy, while most teams are banged-up. But you don't win eleven football games in the regular season, by some sort of leprechaun-based spiritual intervention.
To continue the theory that the Bears are 'lucky', these writers introduce the fact the Seattle Seahawks are coming to Chicago, on Sunday. The Seahawks are thought to be a gift from the gods to the Bears, as they have the worst record of any playoff team in history. I guess the Bears' luck transferred to both NFC games this weekend, because the Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints.
The logic gets even more tortured, because the Seahawks are the one opponent the Bears could have drawn who actually defeated them this year. But they took it to heart just the same, even going so far as suggesting that Bears fans were rooting for the Green Bay Packers. As if they would. As if they could.
Windy City Gridiron is the Chicago Bears fan community page for SB Nation. Were you cheering on the Packers, WCG?
Bears fans, actual Bears fans, don't root for Green Bay. And people with any sense at all, don't prefer to play teams that have beaten them (Seahawks), over teams they've beaten (Eagles).
The Chicago Bears don't seem to get any credit for what they've accomplished this season, and they don't get any love, either. No love from the cable sports broadcasters, no love from the print media.
Of course, Lovie Smith has always used the idea that his team gets no respect as a motivational tool. The more bad press, the more negative reports about them, the better they like it.
Lucky for them, they're getting all the motivation they need.
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