Were you one of the doubters that thought that Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears would struggle against the Seahawks earlier today? We did. But can you blame us? He was playing a team that sacked him six times back in Week 6. Sure, teams evolve as the season progresses, but pass protection has been an issue for the Bears all year long. Chicago gave up a total of 52 sacks on the year, most in the NFL. Plus, Cutler’s last playoff game was against Zionsville High School. The pundits were silenced early on as Cutler completed his first post-season pass to TE Greg Olsen for a 58 yard touchdown. Seattle seemed to be unaware that Olsen was active on Sunday as he was left wide open for several big plays. Olsen finished the day with 113 yards and a touchdown.
Cutler threw for 274 yards and two scores, but he also did damage with his feet (no, this is not a Rex Ryan jab). He rushed for 46 yards, picking up key first downs and two touchdowns. Other than a fourth quarter interception thrown by Matt Forte, which was a “WTF?!” moment for Bears fans, this Bears offense was rarely slowed by the Seahawks defense. Chicago dominated time of possession, holding the ball for over 35 minutes.
The Bears defense was also dominant for the majority of the game. To put it in perspective, the Seahawks leading rusher was WR Golden Tate with 13 yards. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the defense’s shaky finish. In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks were able to score three touchdowns to get within 11 points of the Bears. It was too little, too late for Seattle, but concerning nonetheless for a Bears defense going up against an Aaron Rodgers led offense next week. The Packers are able to put points on the board quicker than any team in the NFL. If the Bears want any hope of winning next week, their D can’t let up like it did in the fourth.
With division rival Green Bay traveling to Chicago next week to decide the NFC Champion, it doesn’t get much sweeter than this for Midwest sports fans. I’m hesitant to say that the Bears can beat the red-hot Packers, but it won’t be because of Jay Cutler. He showed today that he is not phased by the spotlight of the NFL playoffs.