This time when the Bears play got ugly, they lost. Chicago rushed for just 59 yards, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked six times, the Bears did not force any turnovers and Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck threw for 242 yards and a TD as the Seahawks held on for a 23-20 win in Soldier Field on Sunday.
This time when the Bears play got ugly, they lost.
Chicago rushed for just 59 yards, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked six times, the Bears did not force any turnovers and Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck threw for 242 yards and a TD as the Seahawks held on for a 23-20 win in Soldier Field on Sunday.
"Nobody looked good today. We got our butts beat," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said.
Even Smith has admitted that the Bears have won ugly at times this season. But there was no late rally or comeback against the Seahawks.
Instead, Chicago (4-2) could not stop Hasselbeck or former Lions’ bust Mike Williams (10 catches for 123 yards), and a late-game Devin Hester punt return for a touchdown wasn’t enough to save the Bears.
Hester broke into the open field, and helped by a devastating block by wideout Earl Bennett, darted 89 yards for a TD with just under two minutes remaining to make things interesting.
However, the onside kickoff failed and the Bears did not do enough on either side of the ball to pull out another ugly win.
"It’s on everybody. It’s on 11 guys. It takes 11 guys to make a play happen, and to get a win," Cutler (17-for-39 for 290 yards) said. "And a few times today we just had some breakdowns."
Cutler and the Bears were 0-for-12 on third-down conversions, and though Chicago netted 307 yards, it rarely threatened to take the lead from Seattle.
"We just got our butts kicked," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "No excuses."
On Cutler’s first throw of the day, Seattle interfered with Hester for a 52-yard penalty. Matt Forte scored three plays later, but that 6-yard run was his longest of the game.
Seattle answered easily and quickly, driving 80 yards in six plays to tie it at 7 less than three minutes later on Hasselbeck’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Deon Butler.
The Seahawks led the rest of the way.
Seattle’s Justin Forsett scored on a 9-yard run early in the second quarter. Two short Robbie Gould field goals cut the Seahawks’ lead to 14-13 at halftime. But then Cutler was sacked and fumbled for a safety early in the third, and Marshawn Lynch closed out the scoring for Seattle with a 1-yard TD dive that made it 23-13 early in the fourth quarter.
Danieal Manning returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but it was called back on a holding penalty. Hester’s return was the lone late bright spot for the Bears, who still remained alone in first place in the NFC North when the Packers lost to Miami.
Chicago’s Johnny Knox had five catches for 120 yards, but Forte rushed for just 11 yards on eight carries — after gaining 166 yards last week — and Chester Taylor finished with 31 yards on four rushes.
"With the running game, you’ve got to stick to it, you’ve got to grind it. But we were down, and the coaches had reasons to call a lot of pass plays," Taylor said. "We have to do a better job with it.
"We have to do a better job with all of it."
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEARS REPORT CARD
Rushing offense: D The Bears rushed for 61 yards. Matt Forte did nothing, gaining five yards on seven carries outside of his 6-yard TD run in the first quarter. Chester Taylor kept this grade from an F by averaging 7.8 yards on his four carries.
Passing offense: C- Jay Cutler threw for 246 yards in his return from a concussion, but the offensive line gave Bears fans a headache by allowing Cutler to get sacked six times. Johnny Knox (five catches for 120 yards) and Earl Bennett (three for 55) had solid games. Devin Aromashodu (two for 40) was a factor once again.
Rushing defense: C- Marshawn Lynch (17-44 with one TD) had a solid debut for the Seahawks, and Justin Forsett (10-67 and 1 TD) had his best game of the year even though he had to share the load. Seattle rushed for 111 yards and kept the Bears on their heels.
Passing defense: C Matt Hasselbeck was 25-for-40 for 242 yards with one TD; not gaudy numbers, but effective none-the-less.
Special teams: B Of course, Devin Hester’s 89-yard punt return with just under two minutes left boosted this grade by quite a bit. Until then, the Bears special teams were just so-so, doing little to help, but also little to hurt. Robbie Gould was short on a late 54-yard field goal into the wind that would have enabled Hester’s TD return to tie the game.
Coaching: C The Bears should have, and maybe could have, attempted to establish the run more from the get-go, but didn’t. Instead they went with a game plan that kept Cutler in peril throughout.
Overall: D. This is a game the Bears should not have lost; especially at home.