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Fan reaction: Chicago Bears surprise Seahawks with secret weapons
The Seattle Seahawks proved to be a minor speed-bump Sunday when the Chicago Bears rolled over them to the next level in the playoffs. The Seahawks beat the Bears in October but today they faced a confident playoff team. Longtime Bear fans like me appreciated the Mike Martz game plan to use their secret weapon, the tight end. The Bears have not gone to their tight ends much all year but today the strategy produced another offensive wrinkle for Seattle to deal with.
Tight ends in end zone
You knew today was going to be fun when on the third play of the game Jay Cutler(notes) threw a touchdown strike to tight end Greg Olsen(notes). Later in the game Cutler even found tight end Kellen Davis(notes) for a score. Mike Martz usually does not have much use for tight ends in his offense except for run blocking, passing protection and picking up blitzes. Today we saw what an efficient Bears offense looks like with rushing, passing and integration of tight ends. Of course it wasn't perfect. Martz still gets a little crazy every so often, like having Matt Forte(notes) try a pass. However, overall the play calling was balanced with a strong rushing component, something we did not see in the last game of the season.
Greg Olsen caught only 41 passes in the regular season but today showed he is very much a receiving threat. Racking up 113 yards today including a touchdown, Martz needs to keep Olsen in the game plan against Green Bay next week. Olsen's size and speed make him a tough combination to cover for any team, including the Packers.
Knox bounces back
I know Bear fans are glad to see Johnny Knox(notes) shake off his no catch game against the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago. My Packer friends say Knox was shut down by a much superior secondary. No doubt the Pack has shut down capability there, but replays show the guy couldn't catch a cold that day. We will see when the Packers come to play next week. I say Knox will be the one to come up big when the game is on the line.
Bears hitting their stride
The Bears needed this tuneup game against Seattle to shake off the bye week rust. Their dominating performance couldn't have come at a better time. In fact, it is just in time for the Packers coming to Soldier Field next week to finally see who comes out on top. Today oddsmakers are already calling the Packers favorites by 3 points. The Bears have not gotten any respect all year so fans are not surprised, given Aaron Rodgers(notes) hot hand as of late. However, Green Bay will not be nearly as efficient when they play on the terrible sod in Chicago. Their speedsters will be slowed down by the dreadful footing we saw with the Seahawks. The Bears will relish putting away the Packers in front of their own diehard fans. Go Bears!
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