When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PST, Soldier Field, Chicago
Record: 7-6 after losing their third consecutive game on Sunday, 13-10 in overtime to the Broncos in Denver
Where they rank: No. 21 on offense (9th rushing, 23rd passing); No. 20 on defense (10th rushing, 28th passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 8-4 in the regular season, including a 23-20 victory in Chicago on Oct. 17 last season. But the Bears beat the Seahawks in the postseason in 2010 and 2006.
Star power: Brian Urlacher. Still, after all these years. The Bears’ prototypical middle linebacker is 33 and in his 12th NFL season, but the native of Pasco continues to get it done. He is third on the team in tackles (83, including 11 against the Broncos) and shares the lead in interceptions (three). He also is the Bears’ all-time leading tackler in a career that has seen him voted to seven Pro Bowls, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and also selected NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. And this week, he will be on a collision course with Seahawks Skittles-back Marshawn Lynch, the league’s leading rusher over the past six games.
Unsung hero: Craig Steltz. The Bears’ backup strong safety played primarily on special teams in his first three seasons, but this year he’s also being used in a situational role on defense. Steltz has 24 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles – including five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Broncos. Honorable mention to the specialists, after Robbie Gould kicked a career-long 57-yard field goal, Devin Hester set up the Bears’ only TD with a 26-yard punt return and Adam Podlesh put seven of his 11 punts inside the 30-yard line against the Broncos.
On the spot: It’s a tie between Caleb Hanie and Marion Barber, because they’ve stepped in for out-for-the-season QB Jay Cutler and sidelined multi-purpose back Matt Forte. Hanie has been the QB during the three-game losing streak. Barber has made critical errors in the past two games, including a fumble in overtime that setup the Broncos’ game-winning field goal on Sunday and a penalty that nullified his TD catch in the seven-point loss to the Chiefs the week before.
Burning question: Will Forte play again this season? He’s not just the heart and soul of the Bears’ offense; he’s the rushing yards (997) and receptions (52), as he leads the team in both categories by large margins despite missing the game against the Broncos because of the knee he sprained against the Chiefs. How much did the Bears lean on Forte? Despite the missed time, he’s still sixth in the league in rushing, third among backs in receptions and fourth in combined yards. That’s a lot of production to try and replace.
Number to know: 13. The points the Bears have scored in their past two games. This from a team that averaged 32 points during a five-game winning streak that ran its record to 7-3 – before Cutler and Forte went down.
Familiar faces: Right guard Chris Spencer was the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2005 and started 70 games from 2006-10. Offensive line coach Mike Tice played tight end for the Seahawks from 1981-88 and 1990-91 and started 83 games. Defensive line coach Mike Phair (2008-10) and tight ends coach Mike DeBord (2008-09) also coached for the Seahawks. Director of player personnel Tim Ruskell was the Seahawks general manager from 2005-09.
The last word: “We’ve got to get a win. The Seattle game was an important game no matter what happened (in Denver). But of course it’s just more of a situation where we have to get a win.” – Bears coach Lovie Smith