Reporting Jeff Joniak
Welcome Bears Radio fans! Check out Jeff Joniak’s Keys To The Game as your Chicago Bears play the Seattle Seahawks. Comments welcomed below! Tell us where you are listening from. Click listen live to Bear Down!
Offense: Win on 3rd down
Jay Cutler is back! He is the fifth rated passer in the NFL with the second highest average yards per pass attempt and the fifth highest completion percentage. Where we look for improvement is red zone, goal-line, and third down offense. Cutler is the 28th rated quarterback on 3rd down. His completion percentage drops to 58%, and his average yards per pass attempt to 6.31. As an offense, the Bears are 32nd in the NFL on third down. In order for the offense to take another jump, things have to change on third down. Seattle’s defense, while a fast and swarming unit is 28th in the NFL allowing a 43% conversion rate on third down.
Defense: Hassle Hasselbeck
Seattle starting QB Matt Hasselbeck throughout his career has enjoyed great accuracy. He started the season completing 78% of his passes against San Francisco, but in the next three games was under 60%. That is not typical of Hasselbeck. He’s been sacked 9 times and intercepted six times and overall is the 29th rated quarterback. The Seattle offense has yet to take off, but they’ve brought in Marshawn Lynch to help out in the run game and start a rookie left tackle facing the inspired Julius Peppers. Coming on the road off the bye week, look for the Seahawks to potentially look sharp out of the gate. When it comes to putting the heat on Hassebeck, the Bears have to deliver and hassle the veteran.
Special Teams: Big Challenge
For the second consecutive week, the Bears face an outstanding special teams unit. Seattle is ranked third, the Bears fifth. While the Bears return game ranks top six on kicks and top four on punts, the Seahawks are first in the NFL in kick coverage. On the flip side…the Bears coverage units will be tested by Leon Washington…the former NY Jets leads the NFL with a 40.4 average and two touchdowns, both coming against San Diego. On punt returns, Notre Dame rookie Golden Tate is off to a great start. The Seahawks are starting drives at their own 35, trailing only New England in the NFL rankings.
Intangibles: Red zone improvement
If and when the Bears start turning red zone possessions into points, the offense will then take off. Currently the Bears are 30th in the league with only 4 red zone touchdowns in 14 trips inside the 20. Teams like Tennessee, Indianapolis, Green Bay, the Giants and San Diego are all in double digits with red zone touchdowns…Half the teams in the league score touchdowns at least 50% of the time, but only the Bears, Panthers, and Redskins score touchdowns under 30% of the time.