Loss to Seahawks tough to watch now
By NEIL HAYES AND SEAN JENSEN email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bears don’t have to look far to find motivation this week, and not just because a victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional playoff game Sunday at Soldier Field would send them to the NFC Championship Game.
All coaches had to do this week was turn on video of the Seahawks’ 23-20 win Oct. 17 over the Bears.
‘‘It was kind of tough to watch,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “We weren’t where we thought we were, even at the time. There were a lot of things we were doing that we haven’t done of late, and we need to keep it that way.”
Defensive backs combined for 31/2 of the Seahawks’ six sacks of Jay Cutler.
The Bears’ offense failed to convert a third down in 12 tries.
‘‘We just look at the mistakes, and they were kind of amazed at some of the things that they did,’’ offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. ‘‘That’s just where we were at that time. We just had to get better piece by piece. It doesn’t come in big [chunks], obviously, and they were very patient with it. We’ve gotten better. We’ve got a long ways to go, and, fortunately, we’re real good on defense and special teams.’’
The Bears may have been without Lance Briggs in the first meeting against the Seahawks. But the Seahawks have a player who has ramped up his play since that game.
Rookie safety Earl Thomas had one of his quieter games with only four tackles. But he finished the season with a team-high five interceptions, and he also forced a fumble.
“As you look at young safeties, the indecision of when to come downhill on the runner and [make] tackles, he is very quick to make those decisions, and he is a rocket,’’ Martz said. ‘‘He’s probably one of the best tacklers I’ve seen in the league this year.
‘‘He’s an excellent tackler. Obviously, that’s what you want in that safety. He’s been very impressive.’’
Veteran safety Lawyer Milloy praised Thomas’ progress, although there was a slow start.
“It’s a progression when you have a high draft pick,” Milloy said of Thomas, the 14th overall pick. “Obviously, you’re going to have to deal with his attitude.
‘‘A lot of the young guys don’t care about tradition. They just care about being that man. There was a big barrier not only to myself, but coach Pete [Carroll] and everyone around him that had to let him know, ‘Hey, we’re all in it together.’
“To see that progression, see him develop into the player that we want him to be is a beautiful sight to see.”
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman missed practice Wednesday with an unspecified illness but is expected to play Sunday, coach Lovie Smith said.
‘‘Oh, sure, pretty confident [he’ll play],’’ Smith said. ‘’He was sick today. He should be fine. I don’t think that’s an issue at all.’’