Commentary

Matt Hasselbeck can win in Chicago

He's trending up, and the Bears have trouble with long passes -- watch out

Originally Published: January 10, 2011
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesMatt Hasselbeck's run can continue in the Windy City.

If Lovie Smith is looking for a historical precedent to use as a motivational tactic to make sure his team takes the Seattle Seahawks seriously, he might want to consider the case of the 1987 San Francisco 49ers.

Bill Walsh's club had secured a first-round bye that season and hosted an NFC divisional playoff contest against a Minnesota Vikings team that stumbled into the playoffs by losing three of its last four and finishing with an 8-7 record.

When the Vikings thrashed the Saints in the wild-card round 44-10, it should have served as ample notice to San Francisco to step up its performance for its upcoming battle, but it didn't. Anthony Carter torched the Niners' secondary for 227 yards on 10 receptions and it led to a 36-24 loss that Walsh later termed as the worst defeat of his career.

That kind of message might help ensure Chicago plays up to its abilities, but there is something else that could also serve as a motivational prod. The Seahawks' dominant passing performance against the Saints may have looked like an anomaly, but a closer look at the metrics indicates there is a multitude of reasons to think their offense is just as good as the New Orleans game would indicate it is.

What could be worse for Chicago is that the numbers also say its defense may have some coverage issues of its own.