A look at the Seahawks’ Week 3 opponent:
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 1-1, after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-14 on Sunday
Where they rank: No. 20 on offense (31st rushing, 10th passing); No. 5 on defense (12th rushing, 8th passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 7-3, including a 30-23 win at Qwest Field in 2007
Star power: Jay Cutler. Since being acquired in an April trade with the Denver Broncos, the gunslinger of a passer has been heralded as the Bears’ best quarterback since Sid Luckman. Going all the way back to Luckman’s reign from 1940-48 might be stretching it, but Cutler definitely is a cut above for a team that has had 11 different passing leaders in the past 15 seasons – from Dave Krieg, to Cade McNown, to Kordell Stewart, to Rex Grossman, to Kyle Orton. Cutler didn’t play to the hype while throwing four interceptions in the opening-day loss to the Green Bay Packers. But he was 27 of 38 for 236 yards, with two touchdowns and no picks, in Sunday’s upset of the Steelers. Cutler was at his best when it counted most, completing 9 of 10 passes for 92 yards and a TD in the Bears’ final two scoring drives for a 138.3 passer rating.
Unsung hero: Johnny Knox. Never heard of him? Not surprising. The rookie wide receiver is a fifth-round draft choice from Division II Abilene Christian. One preseason publication had this to say about Knox: “He hasn’t done much to challenge for playing time.” Well, Knox is averaging 19.0 yards on eight receptions and coming off a six-catch, 70-yard effort against the Steelers, when he also caught a 7-yard TD pass. He’s not just a fast learner, he’s fast. Really fast. At the combine in February, Knox ran the 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.26 seconds.
On the spot: Hunter Hillenmeyer. He lost his starting job as the strong-side linebacker when the Bears signed former Ram Pisa Tinoisamoa in free agency. But when Pasco native Brian Urlacher was lost for the season after dislocating his right wrist in the opener, Hillenmeyer was back in – at middle linebacker, replacing a six-time Pro Bowl selection and former NFL defensive player of the year.
Burning question: When will Matt Forte start being Matt Forte? Last season, he accounted for 35 percent of the Bears’ total offensive yards (1,715) – a higher percentage than any player in the league – and became the eighth rookie since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to lead his team in rushing yards and receptions. But this season, Forte has 84 rushing yards (a 2.2-yard average) and five receptions (6.6 average) in two games, and his longest play is a 12-yarder.
Familiar faces: Olin Kreutz, a six-time Pro Bowl center, played at the University of Washington (1995-97).
The last word: “Johnny brings a lot to the table with that speed. He doesn’t realize that he’s from Abilene Christian, he’s in the big city and supposed to be in awe with everything that’s going on.” – Bears coach Lovie Smith on Knox