ReFo: Seahawks @ Bears, Week 13

Russell Wilson dazzles as the Seahawks overcome their road woes in Chicago. Steve Palazzolo breaks it down.

| 5 years ago

Russell Wilson dazzles as the Seahawks overcome their road woes in Chicago. Steve Palazzolo breaks it down.

ReFo: Seahawks @ Bears, Week 13

Apparently the Seattle Seahawks’ road woes refused to make the trip to Chicago. For the third year in a row, the Seahawks have defeated the Chicago Bears on their home turf, this time in dramatic overtime fashion.

The game was moving along with neither team establishing the upper hand until Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson took over the fourth quarter, and eventually the overtime as well.  With a combination of efficient passing, designed runs, and backyard scrambles, Wilson engineered a 12 play, 97-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate to put them ahead 17-14 with 24 seconds to go in the game. The would-be game-winning touchdown was negated, however, as the Bears pulled out some heroics of their own as Jay Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for a desperation 56-yard completion to get into field goal range and send the game into overtime on a 46-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.

But, overtime belonged to Wilson as the Seattle took the opening kick and drove 80 yards on 12 plays before Wilson hit a crossing Sidney Rice for a 13-yard touchdown to win the game and ensure the Bears offense never saw the field in the extra period.

With both teams battling for their playoff lives, this may prove to be one of the benchmark games of the season, and the type of road win that proves Seattle’s worth as a viable contender.

This game was more than just Wilson, however, so let’s take a look at the other key performances.

Seattle – Three Performances of Note

Wilsons’ Big Day

I know I said the game was more than just Wilson, but his day is certainly worth being featured. It was setting up to be a rather average afternoon, but that’s when Wilson showed his diverse skill set. Of his +4.9 grade on the day, he was +3.0 as a passer and +2.2 as a runner. Seattle kept Chicago off balance with a number of zone read plays, some which Wilson kept for big gains, and others that led to first downs from running back Marshawn Lynch.

They also rolled the pocket to open throwing lanes for Wilson, including on his last two passes of the game. He converted a 3rd-and-10 to Doug Baldwin and followed it by hitting Rice in stride for the game winner, both on designed rolls to his left. To say it was a break out game for Wilson likely dismisses the already impressive rookie season he’s been having, but rather, his play down the stretch further confirms his place with the other top rookie signal-callers.

Impressive First Start

Filling in for the injured Leroy Hill, linebacker Malcolm Smith played well in his first career start. With only 75 career snaps to his name, last year’s seventh-round pick played a career-high 49 in this game, finishing with an overall grade of +2.1. His four stops were second on the team as he did a nice job shedding pulling linemen in the running game to make plays, while allowing only 8 yards on his two targets in the passing game. It was a good showing for Smith who was rarely caught out of position and made the necessary plays when they came to him.

Left Guard Woes, Part 1

When left guard James Carpenter went down with a knee injury after only five snaps, he’d already given up a sack with a -1.4 grade to go with it. His replacement, John Moffitt, was not much better. He played the remaining 68 snaps on offense, grading at -4.5. His two hits and one hurry surrendered came in a variety of ways as defensive tackle Henry Melton beat him with a speed rush, defensive end Israel Idonije got him with the bull rush and he was late in picking up a stunt from Shea McClellin. Moffitts’ bigger issues came in the running game as Melton was able to use his quickness to pick up three stops. It was not a good day for Moffitt who saw his first extended action since Week 10.

Chicago – Three Performances of Note

Left Guard Woes, Part 2

The left guard position was not much better for the Bears. With Chris Spencer injured, Edwin Williams (-4.8) got his first start since Week 17 of last year. Seahawks defenders beat him early and often in the running game as he surrendered six stops in the first half alone. He consistently gave up inside leverage to Seattle’s defensive tackles and when asked to pull, was beaten on three different occasions by second-level defenders. He surrendered only two hurries in the passing game, but his poor run blocking marred an otherwise average effort from Chicago’s offensive line.

Melton Dominates Up Front

Despite only two sacks, Chicago’s defense put consistent pressure on Wilson, and Melton was the best of the bunch. He graded at +5.1 for the game, including +3.8 as a pass rusher on the strength of five hurries and a hit. As mentioned, he had his way with Moffitt at times, but he also picked up pressures against Paul McQuistan and Russell Okung. As the Seahawks were driving late in the fourth, Melton beat Okung for pressure on back-to-back plays, one of which forced a holding call on the big left tackle. In addition to his pass rushing prowess, Melton picked up four stops in the running game as he continues to establish himself as one of the best, and most underrated, defensive tackles in the league.

Mixed Bag for Idonije

Melton wasn’t the only Bears defensive lineman providing pressure, as Idonije picked up six hurries and a hit on his 33 pass rushes. He showed great quickness on an inside rush from a defensive tackle position that flushed Wilson on his near touchdown to Braylon Edwards at the end of the first half.  In addition to the aforementioned bull rush on Moffitt, he had success with the same move on tight end Zach Miller on another occasion. The only issue for Idonije was in the running game where he missed one tackle and was also man handled to the ground by Okung on another play. So while a potentially big day got wiped out by some poor play against the run, he still graded at +1.2 and has quietly put up back-to-back dominant games as a pass rusher.

Game Notes

– The Seahawks did not shy away from CB Charles Tillman who gave up a season high 98 yards on 10 targets his way. The game winner to Rice was only the second TD he’s given up this season.

– Marshall caught 10 of the 12 balls thrown his way for 165 yards. His big day was marred by a dropped pass and a fumble.

– Wilson graded at +6.5 with a clean pocket, but only -2.0 when pressured.

PFF Game Ball

Could it go to anyone but Russell Wilson? He led the Seahawks to a fourth quarter comeback and an overtime win, all while showing the poise of a 10 year veteran on the road.


| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • TheBirdOfPrey

    No talk of Russel Okung pass blocking? Mebane, Branch and Bryant keeping Forte to 3 YPC?? Wilson under pressure – 2..He ran for 70 yards under pressure and numerous conversions with his arm on the run, never looked panicked to me.

  • iwastman

    was so great to see Malcolm Smith out there, Hill was gettin burnt so hard the past couple weeks. i’d like to see how Thurmond did, given it was his first start in about 10 months

  • ThebigC

    You need to watch that game again, sorry but your grades for Cutler and Marshall make no sense. You gave Cutler a negative grade for running the ball? You gave Marshall a zero? Look they were not perfect, but I have yet to see the perfect game from any player. Cutler and Marshall played Great and they get dogged by you, why?

    • Steve Palazzolo

      Both players had fumbles that hurt their grades.

      • TheBigC

        Yeah I agree but Cutler did not have a fumble while running the ball. He got a negative run grade for averaging 9 yards a carry, getting first downs and sustaining drives? Rodriguez ran into the ball on that handoff but that was not Cutler running the ball. I am not sure how a fumble recovered negates 27 yards runshing for first downs, it was a loss of like 7 yards on a botched hand off. I just think that’s pretty severe of a grading curve. You want to give him a zero for rushing because of that, okay but a negative grade, did that one play negate the three good rushing plays? If he threw 3 td’s and 1 int would the one int negate the three TD’s? See what I am saying. I am not saying you shouldn’t give him a negative mark for the fumble, just not a negative grade that is that huge. What was that like negative 1.5 for the fumble?

        With Marshall 10 receptions for 156 yards seems to deserve something and that last play in regulation. I mean come on the Bears didn’t have their number 2,3, or 4 receivers and the TE spent most of the game blocking. Marshall was pretty much the entire passing game against a really good Seattle secondary.

        I trust your guys grades 99 out of 100 times but this just seems wrong, I hope you understand my point of veiw. That’s a brutal offense Chicago has, and Cutler and Marshall had them neck in neck with Wilson who was having a brilliant game. They must have been doing something right, at the end of the game Cutler could only get on the field for one play and he and Marshall put them in position to tie with a FG, it’s not Cutler or Marshalls fault the Bears defense totally blew it, Cutler did not make Bennett drop that wide open TD pass. Cutler was having a better game than Wilson until the last drive by Seattle in regulation, then Wilson got first shot in OT and won it.

  • izach

    surprised there is nothing on the sherman marshal match up, i didnt watch the game or see any highlights yet, but that was the biggest if not the only headline going in before the game and it seemed marshall had a good game stat wise so i was hoping to see more insight on it.