CHICAGO – The Seahawks haven’t been able to finish what they started. Not in their past two losses when they’ve blown fourth-quarter leads, and not on the road where they have been close enough to be in every game, but good enough to win only one of them.
“It’s really frustrating to us,” coach Pete Carroll said. It might also be fatal to Seattle’s playoff chances. The Seahawks enter today’s game at Chicago with a record of 6-5 and only two more chances to show they can win away from home. All five losses have come on the road, none by a margin larger than seven points, and while Seattle is more competitive than it has been at any point since 2007, the Seahawks aren’t quite a finished product.
“We’re so much closer to really being a legit team,” Carroll said. “A team to contend with. We feel like we’re really close.”
Getting close isn’t cutting it, an urgency that is only compounded by the fact that cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner may face four-game suspensions for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
”We’re in a decent enough spot,” tight end Zach Miller said. “It’s in our power to make the playoffs. If it doesn’t happen, it’s our fault.”
For the first two months, it was Seattle’s offense that wasn’t up to par on the road, the Seahawks failing to score more than 20 points in any of their first four road games. The past two losses, the defense has allowed the opponent to come back in the fourth quarter.
And now Seattle finds itself on the road in a city against a team with one of the league’s greatest defensive legacies. The Seahawks are starting a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson against a team that includes household names like linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher and has forced more turnovers than any team in the league.
“They’ve had the same guys in the system for so long that they know exactly what they’re doing,” Miller said, “and they don’t make many mistakes.”
The Bears’ defense isn’t the most complicated in the league. “They don’t have too many things in the (playbook),” Wilson said, “but what they do have, they’re great at.” The Bears are also the only team to pass for fewer yards than Seattle, but Chicago has made up for that by forcing 33 turnovers this season, most of anyone in the league.
Chicago is 8-3, leading the NFC North, and the Bears have lost only one game that quarterback Jay Cutler was able to finish.
The Bears are 5-1 at home this season, Seattle 1-5 on the road, but Seattle has been at its best against stronger opponents. Seattle is 4-1 against teams that were .500 or better at the time of the game, 2-3 against opponents who entered the game with a losing record.