Seattle, WA - A broken rib forced Matt Hasselbeck out of the Seattle Seahawks' loss last week, putting his status for Sunday in doubt.
While the Seahawks' quarterback situation is uncertain, the Chicago Bears are finally feeling good about that position after an impressive performance from their new signal-caller.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Bears -1 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 87% of bets for this game have been placed on the Bears -1 (View NFL bet percentages).
After leading the Bears to a comeback victory over the defending Super Bowl champions, Jay Cutler looks to help Chicago win its second in a row when it visits Seattle.
The acquisition of Cutler from Denver in April sent expectations in Chicago soaring. After decades of mediocrity at quarterback, the Bears (1-1) felt like they had finally solidified the position, but Cutler left much to be desired in his debut.
The 2008 Pro Bowler threw a career-high four interceptions in a season-opening 21-15 loss at Green Bay but bounced back in last Sunday's 17-14 win over Pittsburgh. He finished with 236 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and helped Chicago march down field to set up Robbie Gould's game-winning 44-yard field goal with 15 seconds left.
The Bears trailed 14-7 midway through the fourth quarter, and Cutler's poise down the stretch made the comeback possible. He completed 9 of 10 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown in two fourth-quarter scoring drives.
"I think they brought me here for a reason," Cutler told the Bears' official Web site. "I want the ball at the end of every game for a chance to win it."
Cutler's performance helped the Bears overcome the absence of six-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, out for the rest of the season with a dislocated right wrist.
Hasselbeck's injury isn't expected to keep him out the rest of the year, but it could prevent him from playing this week.
The 11-year veteran got hurt when trying to dive for the end zone with 26 seconds left in the first half of last Sunday's 23-10 loss at San Francisco. He was hit by Patrick Willis at the 1-yard line, and the Seahawks (1-1) confirmed Monday that he fractured a rib.
Hasselbeck said the fracture is on the back of a top rib and that the pain is near the shoulder.
"I'm absolutely hoping to play. ... I think it's one of those things you just got to suck it up," he said.
Coach Jim Mora says even if Hasselbeck doesn't practice all week, the three-time Pro Bowler will play if he and team doctors say he can. He passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks' 30-23 win over the Bears on Nov. 18, 2007, the last meeting between these teams.
"We're not ruling him out," Mora said. "But I'm not saying he's going to play either."
If Hasselbeck is unable to go, Seneca Wallace would make his 13th career start.
Wallace, who started eight games last season when Hasselbeck was out with a bulging disk in his back, completed 15 of 23 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and interception last Sunday. He's 5-7 as a starter.
Whoever lines up under center for Seattle will be facing a Chicago defense that is looking strong despite playing without its captain.
After a disappointing 2008, finishing 22nd in total defense (348.3 yards per game) and tied for 22nd in sacks (28), the Bears are fifth in total defense (293.0) and have already recorded six sacks.
Linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive end Alex Brown have stepped up to fill the void left from Urlacher's injury.
While the defense has improved from a year ago, running back Matt Forte has gotten off to a slow start.
Forte was a rookie sensation last season, finishing third in the league in scrimmage yards (1,715), but he's rushed for 84 yards on 38 carries with no runs longer than 10 yards.
He's not letting the disappointing start bother him, though.
"You can't get frustrated, because then you start looking for holes to run through and you might miss a cut and miss out on some yards," Forte said.
The Bears are hoping Forte can find room to run against a Seattle defense that allowed 49ers running back Frank Gore to score on touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards and finish with 207 yards on 16 carries last week.
Cutler hasn't faced the Seahawks since his first career start Dec. 3, 2006, when he completed 10 of 21 passes for 143 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 23-20 loss for the Broncos.
Posted: 9/23/09 11:25PM ET