Joniak's Journal: What It Will Take For Bears To Beat Seahawks

Jeff Joniak
September 15, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Here's what to look for ahead of the Bears' tilt with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night at Soldier Field.

OFFENSE

A quick start in the home opener for Mitch Trubisky like the road show he put on in the first quarter at Lambeau would be great for what promises to be a vocal crowd at Soldier Field. Establishing a dominance at home is one of the goals of head coach Matt Nagy and a quick start feeds the boisterous beast. Focal points will continue to be red zone touchdown efficiency, third down and short play calls and conversions, and his ability to execute situationally. There is new personnel, but the same Seattle scheme built with speed throughout the unit. Safeties Earl Thomas and Bradley McDougald combined to intercept Case Keenum three times in the loss to Denver, and have good range and blitz ability; they must be accounted for at all times. Seattle’s pass rush was muted by the Broncos, but veteran DE Frank Clark is athletic on the edge and a player to watch after recording the only sack in week one. Getting Jordan Howard revved up in the run game will set up some play action, and bootlegs for Trubisky to take some shots down the field to Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel.

 

DEFENSE

A Bears defense that constantly talks about wanting to be dominant and nasty will have to rush responsibly against Seattle’s creative scrambler Russell Wilson.  His movement in and around the pocket creates windows of opportunity at all levels in the passing game. Consistently putting up big numbers in yards-per-pass attempt, Wilson utilizes his weapons efficiently. Former Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and speedster Tyler Lockett hauled in touchdown passes in week one, while rugged rookie tight end Will Dissly averaged 35-yards on his three catches including a touchdown.The Bears will need to plug the Seattle run game and keep a close eye on Wilson’s chain moving scampers.  Philosophically, Pete Carroll and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhimer are trying to get back to the Marshawn Lynch era, and pound it a bit with bruiser Chris Carson and the NCAA’s leading rusher in 2017, rookie Rashaad Penny who piled up more than ,2000-rushing yards in his final season at San Diego State. Sacked six times in Denver, three times by All-Pro Von Miller, the Seahawks are no doubt leery of new Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack given his immediate impact in Green Bay and his stellar performance against Seattle right tackle Germaine Ifedi, who also led the NFL in penalties last season.  

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

A new Seattle weapon could create field position problems for the Bears. Rookie punter Michael Dickson land four of his six putns inside Denver’s 20-yard line, two inside the 10. Dickson’s average boot traveled 59 yards, and he had no touchbacks. He is a punter that changes the game. Ditto return man Tyler Lockett, who has nine return touchdowns in his college and pro careers combined. Locking in on both of these special team phases will be a critical factor for the Bears. Tarik Cohen is a weapon himself and the Bears will look to build on his 42-yard punt return in week one against the Packers.

 

INTANGIBLES

Virtually every player interviewed over the course of the week at Halas Hall discussed in detail the need to finish. Finish drives, finish games, and maintain and edge for 60-minutes. It is learned behavior, and feeding off the home crowd could be a huge bonus for a revved up young squad still burned up about the loss in Green Bay, and hoping to use that as fuel to start a new fire in week two against the Seahawks.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.