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 Post subject: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Russell Wilson was nothing short of legendary today, but I am now ready to concede for the first time this season that Seattle's defense needs a kick in the ass, from its starters right on up to its defensive coordinator. It's pretty bizarre that we started the season with Wilson being unworthy of our defense and then flip-flopped, but that's where we are.

It's true that Seattle allowed only 17 points and held up at crucial moments, but the cracks in the foundation were far more visible today than they've been all season. I could give you a list of individual breakdowns as long as...well, something really long. Earl Thomas whiffing on a tackle of a QB. Kam dropping a pick and slipping on another tackle of a QB. Alan Branch hitting a downed QB and generally being a totally ineffective pass rusher (been saying it all season). Richard Sherman losing his head and trying to pick off a hail mary instead of downing it (the exact same mistake that cost Green Bay in the Goldengate game). Dumb penalties. Brandon Browner proving utterly useless against a #1 receiver (though credit the Bears for getting Brandon Marshall good matchups). Bruce Irvin, still on a milk carton, though his acquisition did win us a crucial game in Carolina. A couple of moments where our defensive line just flat-out gave up on plays. That was all WITHOUT Leroy Hill and Marcus Trufant hanging around.

And the constant soft zone defense during three-man rushes against five offensive linemen...if you dislike Marshall owning our secondary, THAT play-calling is the reason. I was being driven absolutely insane watching Jay Cutler stand in the pocket untouched with five seconds to throw all day long. That is exactly how to let him win. Give him credit for his accuracy and his chemistry with Marshall; it's a top-flight combination and should be expected to pull out some tough stick throws. But when Seattle cannot muster even the slightest pass rush against an O-line so beat up that they're relying on depth players underneath Chris Spencer, something is wrong. Either Bradley knows we don't have the LB's to blitz, or he's just scared to do it. (It could well be the first.) As for Jason Jones, he now falls under my newly minted Josh Wilson Rule - "If there is debate over whether a player is good, he probably isn't."

The good: Amazingly, Seattle held the Bears to only two completions of over twenty yards, their per-game average this season. That is the pride of this defense, and it was good to see them get back to it after giving up six to Ryan friggin' Tannehill. Also, the run defense returned dramatically. Seattle got some crucial stops. Malcolm Smith played well in relief of Leroy Hill (possible starter, just as I'd hoped?). Bobby Wagner still looks like a solid player in any venue.

But those two Bears scoring drives where Cutler strung together devastating intermediate passes - not unsustainable dink and dunk, but damaging zone throws - and the fact that he managed a 9.0 YPA is just bad. Today was a much worse performance than our other defensive gaffes. It looked like 2009 again. Additionally, Cutler missed on some deep throws to wide-open Bears receivers that had beaten the secondary, and Chicago suffered from two second-half drives that ended in give-up draw plays on 3rd-and-long that looked almost Holmgren-esque. Exact same kind of conservative play-calling that doomed Seattle last week. I'd love to say that Seattle did just enough defense to win like they always do, but this time, it felt different. The Seahawks were committing mistakes at the worst possible times against the worst possible opponent; the Bears just left a lot of points on the field.

Seattle's defense is looking tired and undisciplined. The mistakes are bizarre and unworthy of the talent level. I've been wondering lately if the unit is just breaking down late in the season after being asked to carry so many early games while Russell Wilson developed. They have a get-well game next week against Arizona, but will lose its two starting cornerbacks. Wilson managed to bail them out against the league's #1 defense and a refereeing crew that they'd obviously bribed, but he and Marshawn Lynch need to stay healthy if they have any hope of a playoff run.

It is time for this D to get over its "hard-hitting, physical" reputation and start playing sound football again. There have been too many fundamental breakdowns by guys try to make highlight reel plays. We know this defense can play well. Now it's time to get back there.

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Agreed, there were some positives today, but unfortunately too many breakdowns and just plain undisciplined play. Time to step it up D. we need you too.

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:06 pm 
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No it doesn't, and our refusal to compensate for our poor 4-man pressure frustrates me. But I'm going to revel for a bit longer before worrying about it.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:07 pm 
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I still think it was a good performance. More mental errors in my mind.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:10 pm 
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I agree. Here's the thing: our defense has bought into the whole "Legion of Boom" thing. You're seeing this in our players not wrapping up. If Browner wraps up Bennett, he stops him short of the goal line. If Thomas wasn't going for a home run hit, Cutler doesn't make him whiff. Kam has been whiffing a lot lately, as evidenced by Forte's big run off the right side of the defense, where Kam filled the whole, took a bad angle looking for a big hit, and fell down.

Called zone defense killed us in the 1st half. Browner's not a great zone cover corner. He's just not quick enough. Marshall was beating him on come backs, and Cutler knows right where and when he's going to do it. When we switched to man in the 2nd half, it looked a lot more like I thought it would.

Wagner got beat badly by Forte on that TD. Sure, Forte is a mismatch on most MLB's, but Wagner is supposed to be fast and quick. Wagner didn't have a good game, hell, Cutler out ran him for a 1st down.

I expected more from our pass rush. I saw some interior holding, but we have to be aggressive enough to make it totally obvious. We aren't, it's like Clemons is giving up a bit once a guy gets a hold of him. Irvin still fights, but he's a bit smaller and gets engulfed easily, although he was the better of the two today.

It's just comicaly bad that we gave up that last play to Marshall. Make ANYONE else beat us, but to give that to Marshall ? C'mon man.

One bright spot was our run defense. True, the Bears aren't a great run team, but we've made average run teams look great recently.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Doesn't matter, RUSSELL WILSON.
we don't need logic and reasoning anymore, Russell Wilson has magic powers.

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Change in my thinking after seeing this defense the last few weeks....IT'S the priority in next years draft...for sure!

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Finally we are in agreement. Been saying is since the Pats game. Things aren't right no matter what DVOA says.

The eyeball test

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:25 pm 
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I couldn't care less. We officially have no doubt our QBOF in Wilson. He's outstanding.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:25 pm 
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Didn't silence any questions for sure.

But sure opened some new ones!

:141847_bnono:

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:31 pm 
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In fairness, 2 10am road games in a row are always going to affect the play of the defense. Aside from that, yes we did give up 170 odd yards to the NFL's leading rusher, and yes we did give up 350 yards to Detroits 1st ranked passing offense
But unless Arizona carve us up next week, I'll keep my faith in them for now


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Pass rush is still horrific in my opinion. I dont care what the numbers say, we do not get good enough consnsitent pressure in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:07 pm 
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The defensive performance was PATHETIC. That was a VERY depleted team. Cutler and Marshall are good, so they'll get theirs, but how about they WORK to get theirs? It was so easy for them...pitch and catch.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Good Post OP. We never touched Cutler with a injury ridden O-Line.

I was just thinking....

Can't even begin to imagine the different tone of this board had we lost in OT. Would be blood curling.

When we play well, but find a way to lose I find no comfort in saying "Well we should have won"....Good teams win. With that said, I will take this win and be grateful for a few stellar standout performances.


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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Some perspective from Danny Kelly.

http://www.fieldgulls.com/2012/12/2/371 ... ove-to-7-5

Quote:
Brandon Marshall was the focal point of the Bears offense and in the first half, the Seahawks didn't seem to have any care or concern for making the adjustments necessary to stop him, choosing to play zone off coverage while keeping everything in front of them, and Marshall took advantage underneath on easy slant routes and sit down routes in soft zones. Marshall went into the lockerroom at half with 7 catches for 94 yards on 9 targets; the rest of the Bears offense, combined, had 7 targets.

Now, in the 2nd half, Seattle figured things out -- take away the total defensive breakdown in the closing seconds of the 4th quarter, a 56-yard reception to Marshall that should've just been batted down, and the Hawks' defense held Marshall to two catches for 15 yards. Why these types of adjustments can't be made on the fly is a bit annoying, but a good job nonetheless.

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 Post subject: Re: This win doesn't silence the questions on defense.
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:51 pm 
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The critique from the OP about the pass rush play calling is spot on. I swear, every single time we rush 3 or 4 on 3rd down the opponent converts. In contrast, it seems like every time we blitz we make a nice stop. I just don't understand the lack of aggressiveness in play calling, especially with the so-called "Legion of Boom" as your secondary? Doesn't make sense. Traditionally, heavy blitzing teams are successful (ala the Steelers, etc). We definitely need to upgrade the LB coverage, but Wright and Wagner are young, so do we feel good blaming it all on one guy?


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