SEATTLE – A couple hours before kickoff, the Seahawks submitted a list of inactive players that would make up a pretty good nucleus for someone looking to build a football team.
Down a Pro-Bowl quarterback and middle linebacker, missing a Hall-of-Fame-caliber tackle as well as another starting linebacker, a starting cornerback and starting fullback, the Seahawks knew they had their work cut out for them against the Bears.
And after jumping ahead early, it looked like the Seahawks just might overcome their injuries, but as the game wore on, Seattle turned the ball over, missed field goals and gave up too many big plays to survive, and the Bears came back to win 25-19 in front of 67,938 at Qwest Field on Sunday.
“We knew that with the situation we’re in, our margin for error is very small,” Seahawks coach Jim Mora said. “And we made some errors at key moments in that game that really hurt us. We know that we have to kick and scratch and find points where we can find them, and we had some chances to put points up on the board and we didn’t get it done, and that came back to get us.”
After the Bears missed a 53-yard field goal attempt on the game’s opening possession, the Seahawks offense, led by backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, started its day by marching down the field for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Wallace, who was playing in place of Matt Hasselbeck who fractured a rib in last weekend’s loss, hit Julius Jones on a third-and-19 screen pass, and Jones broke a tackle and took it 39 yards for a score.
Three hours later, the Seahawks’ hopes for victory ended when Wallace couldn’t connect with Jones on fourth-and-2 at the Bears 29-yard line.
In between, the Seahawks built a 13-0 lead, watched the Bears score 17 unanswered points, then fought back to take a 19-17 lead with 5:12 left in the game.
It took Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears offense only six plays and 3 minutes, 20 seconds to answer, however, with the final blow being a short slant that Devin Hester turned into a 39-yard touchdown when cornerback Travis Fisher was taken out by safety Deon Grant, who was attempting to tackle Hester.
The Seahawks got the ball back needing to go 80 yards in 1:52, and while they moved the ball into Chicago territory, they were unable to finish the drive, and the result is a 1-2 record with a road game in Indianapolis looming.
Wallace, who finished the game 26 for 44 for 261 yards with one touchdown and one interception, got the Seahawks as far as the Bears 29-yard line with 33 seconds left. An incomplete pass intended for John Carlson set up fourt-and-2, and on that play, with a blitz coming, he floated a short pass towards Jones, who was unable to hang on after taking a hit in the back from linebacker Nick Roach.
“As a team, we didn’t really get it done,” said Jones, who finished with 98 yards on 19 carries. “We had plenty of chances to go in and take their heart, but we didn’t do that. And if you let them hang around and hang around and hang around, you’re going to get beat. And that’s what happened.”
The Seahawks would not have been in a situation where they needed a touchdown on the final drive were it not for two missed field goals by Olindo Mare. With a chance to put the Seahawks up by nine points at the end of the first half, Mare missed left from 43 yards. In the third quarter, he missed left again from 34 yards with the Seahawks trailing by a point.
“The bottom line is when you line up to kick a field goal and it’s in a reasonable distance and the snap is good and the protection is good, you have to make the field goal,” said Mora, who was clearly unhappy about the performance of his kicker.
Those misses were part of a second- and third-quarter stretch in which the game got away from the Seahawks. Leading 13-0 late in the first half, the Seahawks appeared to come up with a big turnover when Matt Forte fumbled near the Seattle goal line. That play was challenged and overturned, and two plays later, Cutler connected with tight end Greg Olsen on fourth-and-goal.
After Mare missed to end the half, the Seahawks started the second half with the ball and a chance to extend the lead. Just two plays into that possession, however, T.J. Houshmandzadeh fumbled while fighting for extra yards after a catch. Five plays later, Cutler hit Johnny Knox with a short pass that the speedy receiver turned into a 7-yard score.
Bears 25, Seahawks 19
Sea—J.Jones 39 pass from S.Wallace (Mare kick)
Sea—FG Mare 46
Sea—FG Mare 37
Chi—Olsen 1 pass from Cutler (Gould kick)
Chi—Knox 7 pass from Cutler (Gould kick)
Chi—FG Gould 37
Sea—FG Mare 39
Sea—FG Mare 46
Chi—Hester 36 pass from Cutler (Bennett pass from Cutler)
|Total Net Yards||318||346|
|Time of Possession||30:24||29:36|
RUSHING—Chicago, Forte 21-66, Peterson 2-12, Wolfe 3-8, Cutler 2-(minus 1). Seattle, J.Jones 19-98, James 4-7, Forsett 2-4, Burleson 1-2, S.Wallace 1-0, Branch 1-(minus 8).
PASSING—Chicago, Cutler 21-27-1-247. Seattle, S.Wallace 26-44-1-261.
RECEIVING—Chicago, Forte 6-40, Hester 5-76, Olsen 5-44, Bennett 4-80, Knox 1-7. Seattle, Burleson 9-109, Houshmandzadeh 4-35, J.Jones 3-38, Carlson 3-28, Branch 2-13, Obomanu 1-11, Schmitt 1-10, Butler 1-8, Owens 1-6, Morrah 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Chicago, Gould 53 (SH). Seattle, Mare 43 (WL), 34 (WL).
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