Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wrap-up: Seahawks 38, Bears 14
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks during their 38-14 victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Week 15:
What it means: The Seahawks kept themselves alive in the NFC playoff picture through a mix of big-play defense and special teams, backed by continued efficient play from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. The team has matched its victory total from last season and can finish with a winning record by beating San Francisco (home) and Arizona (road) in the final two weeks.
What I liked: Strong safety Kam Chancellor forced an early turnover. Also in the first half, free safety Earl Thomas picked off a pass deep in Seahawks territory. Defensive tackle Red Bryant scored on an interception return set up by K.J. Wright's quarterback pressure. Cornerback Brandon Browner scored on an interception return. Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown for the 10th consecutive game in which he has played. Lynch ran more effectively than the raw stats indicated. His average suffered from a 2-yard scoring run and some unfortunate early play calling in the red zone. Jon Ryan and the punt coverage team pinned the Bears deep in their own territory to give Seattle an early edge in field position. Jackson got hot early in the second half, finding Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu for long gains, setting up another Lynch TD, this one to tie the game. Jackson completed 19 of 31 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown and a 94.4 NFL passer rating.
What I didn't like: The Seahawks, by pitching the ball outside to Leon Washington instead of hammering straight ahead with Lynch, conceded the conventional running game on their first possession in the red zone. Seattle also left its backup left tackle, Paul McQuistan, alone against Bears defensive end Julius Peppers on a third-and-13 play from deep in Seattle territory. That unsurprisingly led to a sack, forced fumble and Bears touchdown to erase a 7-0 Seahawks lead. Center Max Unger, though enjoying a strong season overall, remained inconsistent with his shotgun snap placement. He was too high against St. Louis last week and too low this week, resulting in fumbled snaps both times.
What's next: The Seahawks are home against the 49ers in Week 16.