Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
SEATTLE — The Bears’ pass protection has improved over the season, but when the Seattle Seahawks beat them Oct. 17 at Soldier Field, they sacked Jay Cutler six times, a season high for the NFC West champions.
Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock have been big surprises for a team not known for its pass rush the previous two seasons. Clemons, acquired in an offseason deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Brock, a free-agent acquisition who most recently played for the Indianapolis Colts, have combined for 20 sacks.
At first, Brock was a backup who received limited playing time.
‘‘When I got here, I wasn’t getting that many reps, so I had to go out and prove myself all over again, kind of like my rookie year in Indianapolis,’’ Brock said. ‘‘Now I’m getting a lot of reps and being more productive.’’
Brock swears he sees similarities between the Seahawks and the team that he played for in 2006, the Super Bowl champion Colts.
‘‘We had a lot of injuries and had third-string safeties playing,’’ Brock said. ‘‘Bob Sanders was hurt, and we kind of have the same thing here. Our D-linemen and a lot of guys went down, but everybody’s stepping it up. We’re just coming together at the right time.’’
The Seahawks beat the Bears during Week 6, but Seattle’s players know there will be a big difference this time around. During that 23-20 Seahawks victory, the Bears were without linebacker Lance Briggs, who was nursing a sprained left ankle.
‘‘He’s huge,’’ Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. ‘‘He’s arguably one of the best defensive players in the game. I think he’s a great player. Going into the game, we fully expected him to play. He didn’t play, and that was a big deal.
‘‘For us to sit back and say, ‘Oh, hey, we beat them at their place. We can do it again,’ that would be a dangerous way to feel because Lance Briggs did not play in that game.’’
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said his team will follow the same schedule used in October: traveling to Chicago on Friday afternoon and holding a final walk-through practice at a local high school Saturday.
‘‘We had a good experience; we know that,’’ Carroll said. ‘‘But that’s not a battle cry. I told these guys that doesn’t mean anything. We just know where we’re going, and we know what it feels like. We know where we’re going to practice the day before the game, and we’ll know the sights and sounds of that stadium.’’
Added tight end John Carlson: ‘‘It’s good for us that we’ve been there, we’ve been through it, and we’ve done the travel thing. We’ve proven to ourselves that we can go into that stadium and beat this team. With that being said, though, [it is a] completely, completely new game. It’s playoff time. They’re not going to underestimate us, so it’ll be a battle.’’
Contributing: Sun-Times wires