What a rotten fourth quarter. And how perilously close Seattle came to losing this game. Let us count the missed opportunities.
- Matt Hasselbeck stepped up and away from edge pressure and found Mike Williams over the middle to win the first and put Seattle in first and goal from the one.
- Marshawn Lynch converted on the next play. Chris Baker and Michael Robinson blocked well and Russell Okung did enough against Julius Peppers but this was mostly just Marshawn beasting his way in, bowling over Chris Harris in the process.
- Following this score the offense sputtered to three straight three and outs.
- Seattle's bag of tricks pass rush was beginning to dry out and like every quarterback, Jay Cutler shifted into another gear once pressure abated.
- He hit Johnny Knox to get out of jail. A penalty had put Chicago at its nine. With few exceptions, Knox wore out Marcus Trufant.
- Tru cut in front and tumbled ass over teakettle mid-air to intercept a pass intended for Matt Forte. Awesome play that was unfortunately ruled an incomplete pass on the field. Seattle opted not to challenge because it was close and the INT wasn't crucial. I watched it a few times frame-by-frame and it looks to me like his forearm is down in the field of play before his foot lands out of bounds.
- Raheem Brock gets an insane jump off the snap and that forces a quick and rare outlet pass by Cutler. He hits Forte streaking out of the backfield but Earl Thomas is there to stop Forte short of the first.
- Walter Thurmond jams Devin Aromashodu and slaps away a pass and forces the punt. The rookie stepped up big time last Sunday and his debut performance looks even more impressive on review.
That back-to-back series of converting for the score and stopping Chicago from driving down the field is about as good as it got for the Hawks. From here on it was holding on and not in a particularly graceful manner.
- Mike Williams slow plays his route, shifting his feet and then releasing a beat late. He curls wide open over the middle and then drops a perfect pass. BMFMW heard footsteps.
- The next pass was low. Tim Jennings held tight coverage and the combination of those two factors led to an incomplete.
Stacy Andrews loses his block on Israel Idonije and Idonije releases from the scrum to pressure a scrambling Hasselbeck. Matt holds the ball way too long. He's locked onto Forsett and that keys the Bears to rally towards Justin and make it awful hard for him to reach the first. Chris Spencer releases to lead block in an attempt that might be described as quixotic. Force just doesn't have the space to power it forward for the first. He's downed after nine. He needed ten.
The Seahawks do not and seemingly can not put the game away. Bears ball.
- Kentwan Balmer overpursues into the backfield. Will Herring caps Chester Taylor's rush after four.
- Tru keeps Devin Hester in front of him and that's no mean feat. After a little shake and bake Hester receives for seven.
- Seahawks run a delay blitz. It doesn't work. Cutler throws incomplete.
- Lawyer Milloy executes a safety blitz and Cutler overthrows Knox incomplete. Not sure if pressure forced the incomplete pass or if Cutler was just wild.
- Yet another safety blitz executed by Milloy. The Seahawks rush four. Roy Lewis -- who had a nice quarter -- corrals Earl Bennett in the left flat and stops him short of the first. The Bears punt.
Seahawks orchestrate another three and out. You probably don't want to know the details.
- Good lead-blocks by Sean Locklear and Michael Robinson are wasted as the Bears are selling out run and more than capable of consummating their intentions. Lynch nets six but in a different game state and against a different defense, he probably could have had more.
- Hasselbeck audibles into a run and Lynch runs right into the teeth of a seven-man run blitz. He loses a yard.
- And this edition of Three and Outs that Could Have Killed the Victory is ended with a short pass the leads Justin Forsett too much and falls incomplete.
Lewis and Ben Obomanu charge hard on special teams and force Hester out of catching the punt. Lewis tracks the ball and is able to down it at the one.
- Aaron Curry shadows Brandon Manumaleuna off right tackle and closes and wraps after a gain of five. Midway through coverage Curry stopped and spied Cutler but still had the presence of mind and closing speed to stop Manumaleuna. That's good hustle. Manu gets about two strictly on the fall forward. That's also good hustle.
- Seahawks rush five but achieve no pressure. Thomas catches Earl Bennett after a gain of ten. It's a good play by Thomas all-in-all.
- Another blitz achieves no pressure but luckily Seattle's only committed four to the endeavor. The pass intended for Knox falls incomplete.
- Knox burns Trufant coming back to the ball and receives for 15 in front of Tru and behind Kam Chancellor. Marcus falls attempting to follow Knox's break.
- Jordan Babineaux flies free around right end and Chris Clemons cuts inside and the two unite in a crushing embrace of Cutler. Sack.
- Milloy returns from the hotdog vendor in time to blitz but all these novel looks and pass rushers arriving from other dimensions are gradually delivering diminishing returns. Cutler misses Bennett.
- This is a bad spot. Credit Tatupu for making the bad spot believable. Credit Chicago for burning timeouts and not being able to challenge. But this is a bad spot and I am sort of grateful it didn't factor in the game's outcome. The Seahawks rush four and achieve no pressure. Cutler steps up and finds Knox curling back towards the ball. He catches it and gains control either at the first or a hair's breadth short of it. The official marks the ball where Tatupu contacts Knox, which is about a yard short.
- Cole forces right guard Edwin Williams back. That is a small success. Red Bryant mucks up the right end. That is also a small success. About everything else goes to hell in a hand basket. Balmer is knocked over and that also costs Clemons his footing. Frank Omiyale latches onto and turns Tatupu. Tatupu is a last shot hope to stuff the run. He doesn't and Taylor squirts through first a seam and then a hole and then into the open field for 24. One half of Seattle's line was collapsed and the other was doing just enough. That led to push and Bears blockers streaming into the second level. Tatupu and Milloy were both battling offensive linemen in the second level.
- Milloy gets away with pass interference. He does because he's looking towards the quarterback. That shouldn't matter in this case but I suppose it does. He hip checks Aromashodu off his route and forces the incomplete pass. I'll take it.
- Brock tips the pass away.
- And apparently Craig Terrill tips the field goal attempt. It looked like a unadulterated push to me.
Once more over the top, dear friends.
- Hammy gets the false start and it saves Chris Spencer's everlovin' ass. Spencer, the center, doesn't seem to know the snap count because everyone else takes off and he stays crouched all Florida State-like. It's good that a screw up this bad isn't allowed.
- Spencer misses a block on Brian Urlacher and Urlacher drops Lynch in the hole after a gain of one.
- Seahawks run a sweep left and it looks promising but Bears rally to the ball carrier and drop Lynch after no gain. It's exceedingly hard to run on the Bears when they sell out against the run.
- Which is what happens on third and 14. Seattle attempts another inside hand off to Force. The line generates push but Bears stream in and stop Forsett well short of the first.
Then Jon Ryan overkicks his coverage for the first time all game. Michael Robinson is the only player even close to Hester and he's stuck defending a two-way go against perhaps the greatest return man ever. Hester shakes him and then wends left and up and inexorably into the end zone. Ryan is blindsided by poetic justice about halfway through the return.
One terrible onside kick later and Seattle ends the game in victory formation. One can probably refer to this as the "lucky someone was around to administer the Heimlich" way to end a football game.