Postgame Hawk Talk: Bears 24, Seahawks 17

A plucky defensive effort wasn’t enough to overcome a total offensive meltdown: Bears 24, Seahawks 17 (0-2).

I just have some quick thoughts this morning on the standout performers and some of the many areas of concern:

Three heroes

Shaquill Griffin – What a stud. Had the best game of his promising young career with two interceptions, including this Sherman-esque mastery:

That’s simply terrific technique all the way through the route: patient feet, fluid turn, 4.38 speed, hand-fighting, getting his head around, and high-pointing the ball. That’s a clear demonstration of year-two development right there.

On a makeshift defense that did well to limit the Bears for as long as they did, Griffin was the shining star. He’s one of two reasons the Seahawks were still in this game after an otherwise abysmal first half.

…And here’s the other reason:

Mitch Trubisky – Trubisky gets listed as a Seahawks hero today, which is equal parts: 1) keeping Seattle in the game with an awful first half, and 2) not having many Hawks to choose from. Whether it was being careless with the ball, missing open receivers, or the turnovers, Trubisky did more to help Seattle than some Seahawks.  

Michael Dickson – Yes he flubbed one barely to the fairway, but my word look at this:

Dickson gives us something to be excited about, which is enough for hero status in this game.

Five goats

Brian Schottenheimer – It’s usually wise to reserve judgement on a coordinator performance given what little intimate knowledge we have of their scheming & play-calling (especially so soon after a game). But what a disastrous offensive performance from start to finish:

  • The stretch of 14 straight passing plays down only 7 in the 2nd & 3rd quarters.
  • Failing protection schemes.
  • An inability to integrate the running game to field a balanced offense.
  • Not scheming WR’s open, which this group (sans Baldwin) needs to be successful.
  • Not utilizing Wilson’s mobility in the running game, or to get him outside the pocket.
  • Lack of creativity, pre-snap motion and misdirection to keep the defense on its toes.
  • Chris Carson didn’t receive a carry in the second half.
  • And some questionable play-calling decisions (run vs. pass, etc.).

The Schottenheimer era is off to an inauspicious start, which is putting it mildly.

Russell Wilson – It’s obvious something is not right with Wilson. His overall numbers (22/36 for 226 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT, 1 lost fumble) weren’t great, and they were buoyed by essentially a couple garbage-time drives. He must be feeling the pressure in a difficult situation – down his #1 receiver, with a shaky offensive line, and without much running game support. The offense under Schottenheimer seems to lack creativity, and Wilson is pressing as he tries to compensate.

This might’ve been one of the worst games of his career. He held on to the ball for a long time in the pocket for some sacks (though it’s not easy to just “throw it away” when the receivers are blanketed and the pocket is collapsing from all sides). However, the more alarming aspect of his performance was how his lower-half mechanics disintegrated throughout the game. I rarely saw him take his drop-back, hit the back foot, and fire from a balanced base & in rhythm. And of course, the turnovers to end the 4th quarter comeback were inexplicable.

Offensive line – 6 more sacks. Constant pressure from all sides. And Justin Britt goes down at the end of this game. Just nothing good to report. I focused on Ethan Pocic for much of the first half, and he was okay at best. He got bull-rushed into the pocket by Eddie Goldman for a sack on the Seahawks’ 1-yard line.

Pass rush – Frank Clark masked another ho-hum performance for contract-negotiation time with a sack, and Mychal Kendricks picked one up as well on a timely blitz. However, the pass rush was conspicuously absent for the second game in a row. Especially anything resembling interior pressure. Trubisky had all day to throw, only seeming to scramble when he felt phantom-pressure. A decent quarterback would’ve shredded the Seahawks’ depleted back-seven.

Austin Calitro – It feels unfair to list him here given the impossible task of replacing Bobby Wagner this week. Hopefully it’s only a one-week thing though. Calitro looked as overmatched as you’d expect from an undrafted rookie, leaving open throwing windows in his short zones, not seeing the shovel option on Trey Burton’s TD, and failing to provide much of Wagner’s physical presence in the middle of the field. It’s easy to take Wagner’s impact for granted given his consistent greatness, but no one’s doing that right now.