I mean what could be cooler than ninjas and turtles? Independently, they’re awesome. Together, along with a rodent teacher called Splinter, they should be unstoppable. But somehow, the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie sucks. I haven’t watched it, but if you’ve followed my column, you’re aware how much of a slave to Rotten Tomatoes I am. And a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes is not good. And as a side note, how in the world do these turtles stay teenagers all these years? Don’t they ever grow up? Although I suppose “Thirty Something Mutant Ninja Turtles” doesn’t have the same ring. And at some point someone has to inform them that “cowabunga” is no longer cool. But I digress.
Equally disappointing to me, since you all know I’m a Bears fan, was the Bears’ performance against the Seattle Seahawks in the third preseason game. As we know, the third preseason game is supposed to be a dress rehearsal. But the Bears looked like they never got out of the green room to perform. Well here are four things I’ve learned from watching the game – two concerning the Bears and two concerning the Seahawks.
Where did the run game go?
13 carries for 51 yards in the entire game? I understand that Marc Trestman is the quarterback whisperer, but you’re not winning games like that. Matt Forte isn’t some hack backup, he’s the real deal. He and the other running backs need more touches. Yet on the night all four running backs only got 13 carries and 6 total targets. That’s simply not going to do it. Trestman better get more balance on the ground or there are going to be a lot more double digit loses in the Bears’ future.
The Defense Needs some Work
There was much talk this off season of the massive improvement along the Bears defensive line. Unfortunately, 2 sacks and one INT isn’t much to show for it, particularly if you allow 31 points in the first half alone, along with 370 total yards throughout the game. There wasn’t much pressure as Wilson scored at will. The Bears defense actually had some good stands forcing several third downs. But they were unable to hold third downs, allowing Seattle to convert 10 of 14. That’s not good. The Bears will need to put more pressure than this on opposing QBs and will need to decrease opposing third down efficiency to be successful. Lots of work to be done here.
Russell Wilson Has Evolved into the Terminator
Last year, all that Russell Wilson had to do was manage the offense. And that was good enough to win the Super Bowl. Of course, Wilson told everyone “I’ll be back”, but he’s more than just back. He’s an indestructible cyborg. If he’s taken the next step and now can drive the offense, like he did against the Bears, Seattle might be the best team in the NFC. Wilson was 15 of 20 for 202 yards with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. He was just as efficient last week against San Diego, but this week he was practically flawless in a full dress rehearsal. If he keeps this up, Seattle won't even need its dominant defense.
Golden Tate was a big part of the Seahawks offense last year. And with Tate gone, there’s certainly some question regarding how the offense will function. Percy Harvin is now at full speed, but its too easy to roll safety coverage to remove Harvin from the game, so a second receiver needs to step up to draw coverage. Wilson spread the ball around to 7 difference receivers in the time that he was on the field, but one receiver really answered the call. That receiver was Jermaine Kearse. Kearse actually didn’t come on until late in 2013, but when he did, he was quite effective. He had touchdowns in both the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl. In fact, in 2013, Kearse essentially never had more than 3 targets in a game (with only one 4 target game) over the first 12 games of the season, only averaging just under a measly 1.6 targets per game. But for the last 6 games of the season, including the post season, Kearse averaged over 4.3 targets per game. Well, that continued in the dress rehearsal when he was 4 for 5 for 63 yards and a touchdown. If Kearse keeps this up, he can be a critical part of the Seattle offense.
All I can say is thank goodness this is the preseason. Honestly, my expectations for the Bears have been thoroughly tempered. Just like my hope that there will ever be a good Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Turtle power my ass.
By Ha Kung Wong (Twitter: @Rhihan)