The Chicago Bears defeated the Seattle Seahawks 35-24 in the NFC Divisional Game Sunday.
The following is a drive-by-drive summary of what happened.
Leon Washington returned the opening kickoff 14 yards to the Seahawks 24-yard line. Washington then rushed for nine yards on his first play from scrimmage, but Marshawn Lynch was stopped for minus-2 yards on the next play. After an incomplete pass on third down, the Seahawks punted.
The Bears struck quickly on their first possession with a 3-play, 66-yard drive. It ended with Jay Cutler throwing deep to tight end Greg Olsen, who got past the Seahawks secondary for a 58-yard touchdown. Bears 7, Seahawks 0
On the first play of the next Seahawks drive, Matt Hasselbeck threw 14-yards to tight end John Carlson, who then flipped upside down and landed hard as he was being tackled near the sideline. He stayed down for several minutes with a head injury. He was carted off and it was announced he would not return.
On the next play, Hasselbeck threw a lateral to Golden Tate who took it another 13 yards. Hasselbeck’s first pass to backup tight end Cameron Morrah was catchable but was dropped. Seattle got it to the Bears 40 to set up a 4th and 1, but Pete Carroll chose to punt. Jon Ryan’s pooch kick rolled out of bounds at the Bears’ 9-yard line.
The next drive started with Cutler hitting Johnny Knox for 18 yards on second down. But three plays later on 3rd and 4, Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu chased Cutler out of the pocket and sacked him on the right sideline. The Bears punted to the Seahawks’ 35-yard line.
By this time, the snow was coming down heavier and the wind was blowing it around.
The Seahawks went three-and-out and punted to dangerous Bears return man Devin Hester. After making a couple of cuts, it appeared Hester, the NFL’s career leader in return touchdowns, would escape for another score. But Ryan forced him out of bounds at midfield.
On 2nd and 5 at the 45, Cutler again hit Olsen for a big gain – 33 yards to the right side. Two plays later, a pass intended for Knox in the end zone went right into the hands of Seahawks safety Jordan Banineaux, but he dropped it. On 4th and 1 at the Seahawks’ 3-yard line, Cutler sneaked his way to a 1st and Goal at the 1. Two plays later, Chester Taylor ran through the line for the touchdown. Bears 14, Seahawks 0
The snow was sticking enough that the grounds crew had to use leaf blowers to clear the yard line markers.
On the Seahawks’ next drive, they had a pair of costly penalties, including a holding call on Russell Okung that negated a first down. Hasselbeck’s deep pass to Mike Williams was overthrown, ending the drive and forcing Seattle to punt.
The Cutler-to-Olsen connection was working again. They hooked up for 22 yards of the first play of their next drive. It continued with a heavy dose of running backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor. It ended with Cutler, on the quarterback draw, scoring from six yards out. Bears 21, Seahawks 0
Starting at their own 20 on the next drive, the Seahawks got a first down when Bears safety Danieal Manning was called for pass interference on Mike Williams, putting the Seahawks at their own 36. A 2nd and 10 pass deep across the middle to a diving Brandon Stokley was just out of his reach. The next pass, deep left to Obomanu, was just overthrown. The Seahawks punted to the Bears 26.
After a false start penalty on the Bears, Forte ran 26 yards to the right on 1st and 15. Two plays later, Forte picked up another 11 yards. A couple plays later, another long run by Taylor was negated by a personal foul for an illegal block by Devin Hester. That eventually allowed the Seahawks to stop the drive, but Brad Maynard punted the ball to the 1-yard line, putting Seattle’s backs to the wall to start the next drive.
A 12-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Ben Obomanu on third down saved another three-and-out. Then, on 3rd and 4, Golden Tate grabbed the ball with one hand, but was unable to keep control, forcing another Seahawks punt to the Seattle 44.
With under 2 minutes to play, Cutler’s 3rd and 12 pass intended for Olsen was overthrown, forcing a punt that went out of bounds at the Seahawks’ 9. A holding penalty on the kick forced a second punt, which rolled dead at the Seahawks 19 with 1:31 left in the half.
After making a first down, Mike Williams dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands. Two plays later on 3rd and 8, Hasselbeck was sacked, forcing another punt.
The Bears tried to get another drive going, but gave up on it after Cutler was sacked by Chris Clemons. At the half, Bears 21, Seahawks 0.
The snow had stopped falling during halftime. The Seahawks opened the second half with a squib kick to keep it out of Hester’s hands. Seattle forced a three-and-out and took the ball at their own 35 following the punt.
A Hasselbeck pass intended for Williams on 3rd and 10 was almost picked off by Charles Tillman. The Seahawks again had to punt.
On 3rd and 2 at the Bears 38, Cutler had all day to throw, but the coverage downfield was too good. However, it left him enough room to scramble 8 yards for a first down. A good mix of run and pass moved the Bears to Seattle’s 38-yard line when Cutler hit a wide open Johnny Knox for 15 yards.
Two plays later, Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant was injured, going low to make a tackle on wide receiver Rashied Davis. He was diagnosed with a head injury and would not return. Trufant was down for several minutes as he was placed on a backboard and carted off the field. The drive continued with a heavy dose of Matt Forte and ended with Jay Cutler’s second touchdown run of the day – a 9-yard scramble to the right pylon. Bears 28, Seahawks 0.
Seattle finally got a big spark on the ensuing kickoff. Leon Washington took the ball at his own 8, went up the middle, then veered right and was finally pushed out at the Bears 30 yard line for a 62-yard return.
The Seahawks got down to the 18-yard line, then an illegal contact call on Charles Tillman gave Seattle a 1st and 10 at the Bears 13. But the drive stalled three plays later and the Seahawks got their first points on a 30-yard Olindo Mare field goal. Bears 28, Seahawks 3.
As the quarter began, the Bears were in their own territory, moving methodically downfield. Chicago got a big play when Cutler went up the middle on a draw and picked up 21 yards. But the Bears finally made their first big mistake. Forte took a direct snap and tried to pass Devin Hester, but it was picked off by linebacker Aaron Curry who returned it to the Bears 33.
The Seahawks got down to the 24 and went for it on 4th and 1. Hasselbeck’s pass to Brandon Stokley was picked off by cornerback Tim Jennings, but Jennings was called for pass interference, giving Seattle a first down. The Seahawks worked their way down to the 2-yard line, and, on 3rd and Goal, Hasselbeck hit Mike Williams for a touchdown. Bears 28, Seahawks 10.
Seattle needed a big stop here, but on 2nd and 9, they let Matt Forte take Cutler’s dump pass 19 yards for a first down, allowing Chicago to chew up more clock with under 10 minutes to play. Two plays later, Chester Taylor ran another 11 yards for another first down. The drive stalled three plays later, but on the punt, the Bears were able to down the ball at the 5-yard line with 7:28 to play.
Any real hopes the Seahawks had to come back appeared to be snuffed out on the next drive. Hasselbeck was sacked on 3rd and 10, forcing another punt with 6:17 to play.
The nail was put in the coffin when Cutler’s pass just went over the outstretched hand of safety Earl Thomas and into the hands of tight end Kellen Davis for a 39-yard touchdown. Bears 35, Seahawks 10
The Seahawks were able to move quickly down the field on their next drive, getting a few yards here and there while eating up much-needed time. The drive was highlighted by a pair of good catches by Brandon Stokley of 17 and 21-yards. It ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 2:16 left in the game. Bears 35, Seahawks 17
The Seahawks attempted an onside kick. The ball bounced off the Bears’ Corey Graham and back towards the Seahawks. But in the scramble, Graham managed to recover the ball.
The Bears appeared to be in position to run out the clock without any more damage, but the Seahawks used all their timeouts. Then, Cutler’s pass on 4th down was incomplete. On top of that, Bears center Olin Kreutz was called for unnecessary roughness, giving Seattle the ball at its own 45. After a 46-yard pass to Ben Oboamanu, Hasselbeck hit Stokley for 9-yard score. Bears 35, Seahawks 24.
Seattle tried another onside kick, but it was recovered by Johnny Knox. With no timeouts left for the Seahawks, Jay Cutler took a knee twice to end the game.
Final score: Bears 35, Seahawks 24.