Morning Box Score: Bears Kill Seahawks
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 17, 2011 3:00PM
The Bears dominated the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on Sunday, winning their divisional playoff game 35-24 and earning the right to host the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay. While Seattle cut the final margin to just 11 points, the outcome of the game was hardly in doubt, as the Bears jumped out to a big lead and held. Seattle's late points made the score look closer than the game ever was.
The Bears came out firing. Jay Cutler didn't appear to have any playoff jitters, connecting on a 58-yard pass to Greg Olsen on their third play to grab an early 7-0 lead. An Olsen catch for 33 yards was the key play on a drive capped by Chester Taylor's TD run and put the Bears up 14-0 before the end of the first quarter. Cutler ran in from six yards out to give the Bears 21-point advantage early in the second quarter, a lead the Bears took into halftime. A 14-play, 70-yard drive gave the Bears a 28 point margin when Cutler ran in yet another touchdown. Cutler became just the second QB ever to run for a pair of TDs and pass for a pair of TDs when he connected with Kellen Davis on a 39-yard pass to complete the Bears scoring. Cutler finished the afternoon completing 15 of 28 passes for 274 yards and the two touchdowns, and a 111.3 QB rating.
Olsen was Cutler's favorite target, catching three passes for 113 yards. The Bears also had success on the ground. Matt Forte rushed for 80 yards on 25 carries, while Chester Taylor added 44 on 11 carries. Cutler's scrambles totaled another 43 yards on the ground. The offensive line, the Bears' Achilles heel all season long, even played well. While they did allow Cutler to get sacked three times, they provided the protection for both the passing game and running game that allowed the Bears to rack up 437 yards on offense.
On defense, the Bears were just as dominant. The Seahawks, who scored 41 points against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints last weekend, were forced to punt on their their eight possessions. Seattle's first points of the game came on a third quarter field goal. An ill-conceived pass attempt by Matt Forte out of the wildcat formation in the fourth quarter led to Seattle's first touchdown, and briefly cut the Bears lead to 18. Following Davis' touchdown, the Seahawks added two late scores as Lovie Smith decided to fall into a prevent defense.
Sunday's victory sets up next weekend's epic battle against the Bears' biggest rivals. The Packers crushed the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, winning 48-21 on the road. The Packers now come to Chicago to face the Bears for the 182nd time -- but only their second ever postseason meeting. On December 14, 1941 the Bears beat Green Bay 33-14 the week before they won the NFL Championship. The Bears and Packers last played just two weeks ago, when the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 to secure their playoff spot in the final week of the regular season. This time, the winner will get to face either the Pittsburgh Steelers or New York Jets in Super Bowl XLV.