SEATTLE – If the third game of the exhibition season is truly a dress rehearsal for the regular season, then consider the Seahawks ready not only for opening night, but another long-running production.
Seattle was almost flawless in blowing out the Chicago Bears 34-6 in front of 67,608 at Century Link Field, particularly while its starters – who played through the first drive of the third quarter – were on the field.
Looking particularly primed for the season was an offense that drove for touchdowns on its first four possessions, gaining 250 yards as the Seahawks took a 31-0 halftime lead.
Only the clock prevented the Seahawks from scoring touchdowns on all five first-half possessions.
Even that, though, turned into a highlight.
As time ran out on the half, Steven Hauschka booted a 59-yard field goal – a career-long kick – to send the crowd into a frenzy as the Seahawks ran into the locker room with a 31-point lead against a Chicago team that some have thought improved from the squad that went 8-8 a year ago.
Seattle displayed a varied attack throughout, with the offense showing signs that it might indeed be even better than a year ago, a season that merely finished with the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Russell Wilson looked in midseason form, completing 13 of 17 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns with a 147.7 passer rating (a perfect score is 158.3) in the first half. He finished 15 of 20 for 202 yards, taking a seat after one series of the third quarter.
Wilson was 4 of 4 passing on third downs in the first half as Seattle converted all seven third downs in the first half – three going for touchdowns.
One of Wilson’s third-down conversion passes went to Percy Harvin, a short toss that Harvin turned into a 25-yard gain on a night when his potential impact this season was on full display.
Harvin returned the opening kickoff 46 yards to set up a drive that ended in a 7-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch, who had three carries for 16 yards on the drive – his first, and likely only, carries of the exhibition season. Harvin also had three receptions for 61 yards.
Wilson continued the scoring with 7-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0, then threw a 12-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse to make it 21-0, and a 7-yarder to Christine Michael to put Seattle up 28-0 – all plays coming on third down.
The performance appeared to validate the words of Harvin, who said earlier in the week that the offense’s goal for this season was to live up to its defense. “With us having this great defense, it’s going to be very important for our offense to be able to match that,” Harvin said.
The numbers showed the offense might be up to the task. Wilson spread the ball around to eight receivers, with Kearse leading with 63 yards on four receptions.
Seattle had 17 first downs in the first half and had 85 yards rushing on 19 attempts, led by the 26 of Michael on seven attempts.
Defense and special teams also had their moments.
With Seattle up 21-0, a 59-yard punt return by Earl Thomas, the team’s starting free safety who has said he desperately wants the job of replacing Golden Tate as punt returner, led to Michael’s touchdown.
And then, after the Bears drove to within a half-yard of a touchdown, Jeremy Lane picked off a Jay Cutler pass with 15 seconds left to end the threat, with a 41-yard return setting up Hauschka’s field goal.
Tarvaris Jackson led a drive for a 38-yard Hauschka field goal that made it 34-0 in the third quarter.
Seattle is 2-1 in the preseason, which its concludes at Oakland on Thursday.