Turned out the Seahawks didn’t need their offense to carry the defense.
But what they couldn’t overcome was Seattle’s offense burying its own defense.
Despite featuring a bunch of players forced into starting roles who even hardcore fans might barely have been able to name, the defense kept the Seahawks in a game that seemed to fit the black-and-blue legacy of the home team, the Chicago Bears.
“I thought the defense played really, really well,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “Tough as nails.”
But the Seahawks couldn’t make up for an offense that managed just 80 yards through three quarters and then made one final, fatal mistake — a Russell Wilson pass intended for rookie running back Rashaad Penny split out left, picked off and returned 49 yards for a touchdown by Chicago cornerback Prince Amukamara.
“The guy just put his foot in the ground, made a good play,” Wilson said.
The pick-six was only the second of Wilson’s career in the regular season, the other coming in what was the fifth game of his career, on Oct. 7, 2012 at Carolina by Captain Munnerlyn.
“Had a running back out there and he (Amukamara) hung for it and really he just took a shot at it and he was right and he made a great play,” Carroll said. “Made a perfect play. You can’t even remember the last time Russ did that where he threw the ball and the guy stole it like that. It just happened.”
That gave the Bears the breathing room they needed to go on to a 24-17 win over the Seahawks.
Wilson then followed that up with a fumble on the ensuing possession and that was that as Seattle fell to 0-2 and into what is an already precarious state as one of just seven NFL teams to start the season by losing its first two games.
Of the 91 NFL teams to start out 0-2 since 2007, just 10 made the playoffs.
One of those was the 2015 Seahawks. But this team hardly seems primed to make the kind of run the 2015 team — which had just played in two straight Super Bowls — was able to pull off.
This team, in fact, could almost never run when it wanted or needed on Monday night, nor could it really pass.
Seattle had just 79 yards in the first half and allowed five sacks and then had just 1 yard in six plays in the third quarter.
The Seahawks came to life to start the fourth quarter, going to a no-huddle offense and moving 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-10 and, somewhat amazingly, give Seattle hope that a win was still possible.
But then came the interception by Amukamara that finally ended it.
On the interception, Wilson appeared to look only at tailback Rashaad Penny, who had lined up wide left, before throwing it. Amukamara easily stepped in front of the pass and then sidestepped Wilson at about the Seattle 10 for a back-breaking touchdown.
Until then, a gutty defense and some inconsistent play by second-year Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky helped keep Seattle in the game despite the offensive ineptitude.
Shaquill Griffin picked off Trubisky twice in the second quarter on back-to-back possessions.
On the first, Trubisky underthrew a pass in tight man coverage with Griffin making a leaping grab near the sideline.
On the second, Bradley McDougald tipped a pass and Griffin dove and just got his hands under the ball.
Each came in situations when it appeared the Bears were ready to take control of the game.
In fact, the Bears seemed poised to take control from the game’s opening seconds. But Seattle’s defense kept doing just enough to keep it interesting.
Chicago could hardly have asked for a better start when the Bears stopped the Seahawks on their first possession, then drove 96 yards for a touchdown.
The Seahawks helped jumpstart the drive with penalties on the first two plays — offsides on Quinton Jefferson and a face-mask on Griffin.
The Bears scored on a 3-yard shuttle pass from Trubisky to Trey Burton — a play on which first-time starting middle linebacker Austin Calitro, playing in place of injured Bobby Wagner, appeared to move out of position on a run fake, which left a wide space for Burton to score.
But from there, the defense stiffened — the Bears ran for just 42 yards on 14 plays in the first half and had no gain of longer than 18.
But Seattle’s offense could do nothing throughout the first half other than a last-gasp 37 yard drive on its final possession to set up a 56-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time ran out.
Wilson was sacked six times, and on most, it appeared he had time to throw but either could find no one to throw to or was simply reluctant to pull the trigger.
It was the first time since Wilson’s rookie season that he was playing a game without Doug Baldwin — who missed the game with a sprained MCL suffered last week against Denver and could be sidelined for another few games — and the receiving corps sorely missed his presence.
Veteran Brandon Marshall — making a return to one of his former homes — was the only receiver who either got open or whom Wilson seemed to feel was open, catching four of Wilson’s seven completions in the fist half for 44 yards.
Tyler Lockett, who became the primary slot receiver in place of Baldwin, had just one catch for 8 yards on two targets in the first half, and free agent signee Jaron Brown had just one catch for 10 yards.
As they had pledged to do all week, the Seahawks seemed intent on getting the running game going early, with Chris Carson getting the ball on the first three plays and gaining 9, 2 and 2 yards.
But from there, the running game basically disappeared as Carson had just three carries the rest of the half for 11 yards, while first-round pick Rashaad Penny had 2 yards on two carries.
Seattle kept up its mystifying aversion to the run in the third quarter when the Seahawks ran six plays — all passes — and gained just 1 yard.
At that point, Seattle had thrown it on 14 straight plays dating to the middle of the second quarter.
Seattle used the hurry-up — in which Penny played almost exclusively — to mount a fourth-quarter drive that ended in a Wilson 19-yard TD pass to Lockett to make it 17-10.
But just when the Seattle defense gave the offense another chance to maybe pull off an improbable win, came a play that turned it into a desultory loss and lots of questions about where the season is headed.
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