Bears defense hits low point of season

Letting Seahawks march, score on back-to-back drive to end game caps sloppy performance

Chicago Tribune reporters break down the Bears' OT loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.

What stood out about the Bears' 23-17 overtime loss to the Seahawks on second view was how sloppy the defensive performance was.

The Seahawks' back-to-back drives to close the game were the defensive nadir of the season for the Bears.

The Bears gave up 177 yards in those drives. That is more than the Rams gained in four quarters of play against the Bears in September, and more than they have allowed in any back-to-back drives this season. They had allowed more than 100 yards in back-to-back drives only five times in previous games.

No one stepped up and made a play in 24 snaps on the drives. Safety Major Wright let a pass go through his hands that could have sealed the game.

But the breakdowns were going on all game. Six missed tackles contributed to 47 gift yards. Wright had two of the misses, including one of Golden Tate on Tate's 14-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in regulation.

Wright could have brought Tate down at the 5. Kelvin Hayden could have tackled him at the 3. And Shea McClellin could have stopped the play at the 2.

Defensive ends Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije and Corey Wootton all lost containment at various times, giving the Seahawks more easy yards. Whether or not they were following their assignments or freelancing is unclear.

Here is what else we learned upon further review.

Grading key: Grades are between 0 and 10 with 0 being complete failure and 10 being perfect.

Defensive line

Grade: 4

The front four had a number of pressures in this game, but pressures weren't good enough.

Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell put together a fine game plan, and the linemen often were confused whether the Seahawks were passing or running, or who was running. In overtime, for instance, Julius Peppers read run and crashed down while quarterback Russell Wilson scampered 5 yards around right end for a first down.

Wilson dropped back 39 times and the Bears sacked him twice — once with help from a Hayden blitz that put Peppers one-on-one with guard James Carpenter and once on a Stephen Paea stunt.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton was easily the Bears' most effective pass rusher.

McClellin was used as a spy six times on the last two drives. That usually meant a three-man rush. The strategy did not work.

Linebackers

Grade: 5

Brian Urlacher may not move like he once did, but he was around the ball a lot and very active with a strip, a pass breakup and a hustle tackle running almost half the length of the field to prevent a Tate touchdown in the second quarter. He led the Bears in tackles.

Safeties

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