The Chicago Bears lost to the Seattle Seahawks 26-0 in Week 3. It was the first time the Bears have been shutout since 2002, a 15-0 loss to the Tampa Buccaneers in Champaign, IL.
It was a contest that finished as most expected, with a far more talented Seahawks team winning the game going away. Yet this was a 6-0 contest at halftime, with the Bears executing a well-developed game plan that relied on the run game and sound front-seven play on defense.
Unfortunately, Chicago once again fell apart in the second half, which opened with a Seattle 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, which sucked the life right out of the Bears. From then on, there was very little for Bears fans to cheer about.
Here are three Bears players who exceeded expectations in the blowout loss, and three whose performances played a large role in the lopsided defeat.
DE Jarvis Jenkins
Jenkins was easily Chicago's best defensive lineman today. He finished with a team-high 10 combined tackles, one for a loss, and 2.0 sacks. Jenkins was a force from the second play of the game - when he picked up his first sack - against both the run and as a pass rusher. During his four-year NFL career, he's accumulated 2.0 total sacks, which he matched today. Known as a quality run defender, Jenkins not only filled gaps but he also demonstrated an ability to collapse the pocket. The Bears get Jeremiah Ratliff back next week, so if Jenkins can build on this performance, the Bears should be much more disruptive up front moving forward.
OLB Pernell McPhee
McPhee finished with seven combined tackles, two for loss, and 2.0 sacks. He finally showed the edge-rush ability for which the Bears paid him this past off-season. He was quick and powerful turning the corner, and was stout when setting the edge against the run. McPhee played with the violence about which he's been preaching the entire year. He looked like a pass rusher with double-digit sack potential. It was a performance that may light a fire under McPhee, who appears to have a very high ceiling as a full-time player.
P Patrick O'Donnell
The Bears punted on all 10 of their offensive possessions and relied on O'Donnell to continuously flip field position. He answered the bell, averaging 47.7 yards per punt, which included a 72-yard bomb, and landed three balls inisde the opponent's 20-yard line. If it weren't for O'Donnell, the score might have been far more lopsided.
QB Jimmy Clausen
Clausen was put in a tough position, one in which most backup quarterbacks would struggle. Yet he was bad on Jeff-George level, completing 9 of 17 passes for 63 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs. He was called for delay of game on the first snap of the game, while his first pass came up two yards short of Matt Forte in the left flat, and it was downhill from there. Clausen was hesitant and inaccurate, and could not even move the offense into field-goal range. The Bears did their best to lean on the run game and control time of possession but when it came time for Clausen to make a play, he failed to step up. His play more than anyone else was the reason Chicago was shut out today.
LB Shea McClellin
McClellin had six total tackles but none came behind the line of scrimmage and his impact was minimal. He was beaten early in the game in coverage by TE Jimmy Graham and was absolutely run over by Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman in the fourth quarter. The Bears don't have any better options at inside linebacker, which is troubling because it doesn't appear as if McClellin is the answer.
Kick return unit
The Bears were down less than a touchdown heading into halftime of a game in which they were 14-point underdogs. They had a lot of positive momentum coming out of the locker room, which was immediately flushed down the drain following Tyler Lockette's 105-yard kickoff return touchdown. It was the longest return in Seahawks franchsie history, which follows a 108-yard touchdown given up last week, which was the longest in Arizona Cardinals franchise history. In addition, the punt-return unit was fooled badly by a misdirection play that resulted in Richard Sherman 62-yard return. The Bears struggled the past two years on special teams and those issues have continued under the new regime.