Seneca Wallace is a good enough backup quarterback that some fans confuse him for a starter. That was the case at training camp, where the calls for Wallace to start over Matt Hasselbeck were loud and clear. But Wallace has been in the league a long time and is still the shaky quarterback that mixes an occasional surprise in with a consistency of bad decision making and game altering errors.
That was the case today. Wallace looked strong early on. He worked Greg Knapp's conservative but efficient game plan to perfection, but as the game rolled on and the play calling opened up, the Bears adjusted and turned to the blitz. Wallace panicked under pressure, repeatedly, throwing an interception from his own end zone and ultimately lobbing the game away. His final pass was a reaction to gut pressure and as he rolled into the right flat, he didn't set up or consider his pass. Had it been complete, the game is over. It wasn't complete and Seattle lost close. Final score: Bears 25 - Seahawks 19.
With Wallace's struggles described, Seahawks fans should take a step back and consider how close they came, without many of their top starters and against a team that could contend for the Super Bowl. Seattle's defense was the best defense on the field and by a good margin. The Bears have had their ups and downs and they are without Brian Urlacher, but one team was facing Seneca Wallace at quarterback and Brandon Frye at left tackle, and the other was facing a Bears' offense at full strength, fronted by Jay Cutler and built around Matt Forte. The latter was held to 25.2 yards a drive.
Seattle controlled the line and stifled the Bears rushing attack. It got timely pressure and rookie Aaron Curry forced a huge turnover late. It didn't get many breaks and didn't turn any whacky turnovers into points. It limited yards and fought hard on every play. It worked with backups at starting corner and two of its starting linebackers. The Seahawks looked like a young defense coming into their own.
That, the emergence of Julius Jones, the versatile and talented passing attack and good special teams play, minus a couple missed field goals by Olindo Mare, have me thinking this team could make the playoffs. This was a crushing loss, but though it's better to be lucky than good today, luck doesn't last, and great talent, good coaching and developing talent does. Now it's time to execute and win.
Jones gave Seattle an early lead taking a reception, breaking two tackles in the open field and running 39 yards for the touchdown. He continued to produce, propping up a struggling and disorganized offense. He found holes and hit them with power, spinning out of contact and blasting through arm tackles. Jones also did his steady-best against a blitz-mad Bears defense. When the game was on the line, he broke a rush 20 yards to give the Seahawks some final hope. It wasn't enough, but if Jones is not - maybe never a star, he is a good, rounded running back that Seattle is getting strong production from for peanuts.