What to Watch for: Bears vs. Seahawks
The first order of business for the Bears, while they try to rebound from the Week 1 loss at Green Bay in their home opener against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, will be to see if the offense can play as well without a script as it did with one.
Following scripted plays on their first drive, the Bears went 86 yards in 10 plays and made it look easy. But they didn’t score another offensive touchdown and struggled to sustain drives.
“The script helped because our guys were really able to know what they were going to do,” coach Matt Nagy said. “As in most games, you see the script (and) you understand what you can prep for, whereas the unexpected, you don’t always know. There’s some stuff on the fly you have to learn. Green Bay did a good job on defense. But offensively, we just didn’t get it done with those four three-and-outs, and we understand how important that is.”
It will also be worth watching if the Bears’ vaunted defense can put together two halves. Coordinator Vic Fangio’s crew was dominant in the first half against Green Bay, allowing just 71 yards and no points, while also scoring on Khalil Mack’s pick-six. But it looked gassed at times in the second half, allowing 299 yards and 24 points.
“You hate to leave stuff on the table,” said DE Akiem Hicks, who sacked Aaron Rodgers and forced him to fumble in the first quarter. “I feel like I left a sack out there (in the second half). I feel like as a whole, we’re going to be able to pull it together. We’ve got a great defensive unit. I think that we showed ourselves how dominant we could be in the first half. But in the second half, there were things that we needed to pick up.”
The defense can take a huge step vs. the Seahawks by containing Russell Wilson, who possesses more escape ability than any quarterback in the game, but who was sacked six times for 56 yards in losses last week behind a porous offensive line. The Bears sacked Packers QBs Rodgers and DeShone Kizer four times, and they should have plenty of opportunities to chase Wilson — but they still have to catch him.
“He’s one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league when you think about the things he’s been able to accomplish throughout his whole career. It’s going to be a hell of a challenge,” said Bears OLB Khalil Mack, who compared Wilson to Rodgers. “They definitely have a lot of similarities when you talk about getting out of the pocket and prolonging plays. They make you have to play really sound defense. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
All eyes will also be on Bears QB Mitch Trubisky, who also played impressively in the first half in Week One but disappointed in the second half. Trubisky and the offense settled for short field goals on three drives when just one touchdown could have changed the game’s outcome.
“We were moving the ball up and down the field,” Trubisky said. “We’ve just got to be better in the red zone. I thought I did a good job of managing the game and taking care of the football, giving us a chance. Just a couple plays here and there where, if you capitalize on them, it can definitely change the game. That’s where I’m trying to get to.”