Commentary | Bad news for Bears: Seattle luckiest team
Amid the celebration after Seattle's 21-20 NFC playoffs escape Saturday night over the Dallas Cowboys, two of the defensive backs the Seahawks...
Amid the celebration after Seattle's 21-20 NFC playoffs escape Saturday night over the Dallas Cowboys, two of the defensive backs the Seahawks signed in the past week out of desperation thanked coach Mike Holmgren.
Holmgren called the gesture "kind of cute."
Therein lies the biggest mismatch for the Bears as they prepare to play the Seahawks at Soldier Field.
Cute cannot be defended in the playoffs.
Any team with a surplus of cute usually also possesses ample supply of luck and fate.
How else to explain Seattle winning only because Dallas quarterback Tony Romo dropped the hold for no apparent reason on a likely winning 19-yard field goal?
The Seahawks survived the same wacky way the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers did one year ago against Indianapolis when they overcame a last-minute fumble by Jerome Bettis that should have sent them home for the winter.
But being lucky matters as much as being good in the NFL postseason and, while the Bears clearly remain the best team left in the NFC, Seattle arrives as the luckiest.
More than anything else on their depth chart, that makes the Seahawks a dangerous opponent. Because limited to a football argument, the Bears have no excuse not to win a playoff game for the first time in 12 years.
Start in the defensive secondary. Injuries caused the Seahawks to lose three of their top four cornerbacks in the last two weeks. To fill the roster, Holmgren raided the work force to sign Pete Hunter and Rich Gardner — the two guys who thanked the Seattle coach for the holiday surprise.
Rex Grossman completed 17 of 31 passes for 232 yards and two TDs against the Seahawks in October, and that was against their healthy defense. Yes, the Bears need to pound the run against the NFL's fifth-worst rushing defense, but if receivers Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian have a hard time sleeping this week, it's because of anticipation. Just throw them the darn ball.
Much hype will also revolve around the Bears missing defensive tackle Tommie Harris and Seattle having running back Shaun Alexander unlike the Oct. 1 game he missed because of a foot injury. But Alexander, who plodded for 69 yards on 24 carries against Dallas, looks like a running back still in recovery mode.
The Bears need to make Seattle one-dimensional, create pressure with their front four by using stunts, give rookie end Mark Anderson more chances to beat Walter Jones as he did twice in October, and hope for a cold front. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has thrown four interceptions in 64 pass attempts when the temperature has dipped below 40 degrees — one in every 16 passes compared to one in every 25 overall.
As he started thinking about the Bears late Saturday night, Hasselbeck told reporters this was nothing like the Seattle team that was the Super Bowl runner-up last season. He's so right, but that's not necessarily good news for the Bears.
It looked luckier.
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