CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16: Tight end Greg Olsen #82 of the Chicago Bears reacts after he scores on a 58-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Greg Olsen
Cutler put the fears about how he would perform in his first-ever playoff game to rest early as he hit tight end Greg Olsen for a 58-yard touchdown, giving the Bears the lead early. The strike should have sent a message to Green Bay fans, saying: We have big armed quarterback, too.
Later in the quarter, Cutler again connected with Olsen for 33 yards, setting up the Bears in the red zone. He finished the game with 274 passing yards, 43 passing yards, zero interceptions and two touchdowns.
In the Bears last game against Seattle, Chicago barely ran the ball. This time, they utilized Chester Taylor, who scored on the goal line, Matt Forte and even Cutler to run down the Seahawks defense. Forte was a workhorse, pushing for extra yardage on every carry, and picked up 80 yards. Cutler and Taylor each outgained the Seahawks, who had just 34 yards.
Taylor, the $7 million man who had just 267 yards this season, wasn't the only rarely seen player to show up Sunday. Olsen's number was rarely called this season, but he had 114 yards receiving yards and a touchdown in the first half alone. Tommie Harris lost his starting job to Matt Toeina, but had two sacks on Sunday.
The big difference on defense was the Bears' smothering secondary. Mike Williams, who had a career game against the Bears in October, was made a non-factor by Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Both of Williams' touchdowns came during garbage time, when the game was all but decided. Seattle's offense couldn't create any scoring opportunities in the first half, as they didn't even get past the Bears 30-yard line.
Now, the Bears will have to face a familiar foe: the Green Bay Packers, who earned the spot in the NFC Championship with a win over the Falcons in Atlanta on Saturday. Though the Bears and Packers have the longest rivalry in the NFL, they have only met up in the playoffs once -- a Bears win in 1941. Kickoff is Sunday at 2 p.m. CT at Soldier Field.