Bears-Seahawks matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Jan. 13, 2011 @ 8:54 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Here's a look at another key matchup heading into Sunday's playoff battle between the Bears and Seahawks.

Bears' offensive line vs. Seahawks' pass rush

The Seahawks had little trouble tearing through Chicago's offensive line on Oct. 17, when QB Jay Cutler was sacked six times in his first game back after suffering a concussion. Seattle, a team that usually doesn't blitz much, came after the Bears with extra pass rushers in that game, and 4½ of the six sacks were made by defensive backs.

Head coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley may not attack the Bears' offensive line, which is in better shape now than it was in that first meeting, in exactly the same way, but it would be no surprise if they have a different wrinkle to try to catch Chicago's front five off-guard.

Seattle could draw up stunts and games for DEs Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock, who has been coming on strong of late — he has made seven sacks in the last six games. OTs Frank Omiyale and J'Marcus Webb are capable of winning one-on-one battles against them, but if Clemons and Brock are consistently getting the upper hand early on, offensive coordinator Mike Martz will have to change his protections to get them help from a chipping back or a tight end.

Cutler is battle-tested — he's made it this far despite being the most sacked quarterback in the league — but the offense could be out of sync all afternoon if he's taking hits constantly.