Communication breaks down; so does line
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
What we have here, Bears player after player said afterward, is a failure to communicate.
It's why the Bears allowed six sacks and are on pace to surrender 72 for the season, which would shatter the team record of 66 sacks allowed in 2004.
It's why on four occasions the player who sacked Jay Cutler wasn't only unblocked, but untouched.
It's why Cutler had to burn two valuable timeouts in the second half and why for the second time this year the Bears completed a game without a single third-down conversion.
Ultimately, it's why the Bears fell to the Seattle Seahawks 23-20 on Sunday at Soldier Field, blowing a chance to seize firm control of the wobbly NFC North.
''Today we were out of sync, to be honest,'' guard Edwin Williams said. ''We have to be on the same page, and today we weren't. There were a lot of mental errors, myself included, on those sacks. The blame is not on anybody in particular, but on the whole offense.
''On certain plays, the O-line has the [blitzing defensive backs], and on certain plays it's a [hot read] and on certain plays the fullback or running back has him. We just weren't picking them up and getting the job done. At the end of the day, if we're all on the same page, we can pick that stuff up regardless.
''Today we weren't on the same page.''
If the Bears are having this many fundamental communication problems this late in the season, there is reason to wonder if they will ever get straightened out.
As Williams said, safeties and cornerbacks running untouched off the edge aren't always the linemen's fault. In fact, sometimes the onus is on the quarterback, who can combat the blitz by throwing a quick pass to a ''hot'' receiver, which is something Cutler didn't do often enough Sunday.
''It was very obvious we weren't on the same page out there today offensive line-wise, and that's my job.'' veteran center Olin Kreutz said. ''It falls on my shoulders. I have to get that corrected.''
The lack of communication also hurt the team on third down. In their last three games, the Bears have converted only three of 40 third downs.
Is it any wonder they have lost two of three-
''We played hard, but we didn't play smart,'' Williams said. ''You can play as hard as you can, but if you don't know what you're doing and aren't on the same page and if you're assuming instead of opening your mouth and talking, it doesn't matter who you are blocking. They're going to get you.''