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Seahawks 23 - Bears 20

I'm tempted to skate this, but here goes.

In the spirit of Field Gulls touchy feely new image, I have an apology to issue. I am stubborn person. Not, stubborn, bigoted, but stubborn, well, maybe overconfident.

Jon Ryan may not be the world's best punter. He still outkicks his coverage on occasion, and it's sort of fitting that he allowed a potentially devastating punt return after I decided I would write this. But Jon Ryan is a good punter, with a powerful leg, enough directional ability to pin teams inside their twenties, and all in all, a true asset at a position that's worth dozens of points of field position every season.

He's good. I was wrong. It was an interesting argument, for sure, and I'm happy to concede defeat.

While we're at it, statistics clearly do not properly measure the impact of a running back like Marshawn Lynch. His numbers today, well, they suck. Even accounting for the Bears run defense, there's no way Lynch doesn't look lousy to the box score skimmers and fantasy schmucks of the world. But Lynch was beastly, and his ability to moderate loss and pound forward and pound forward and pound forward, opened space over the middle for Matt Hasselbeck. It's crazy, Matt didn't look a whole lot better, but check his line and Hasselbeck completed 25 of 40 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown, in Soldier Field, against a legitimately good Bears pass defense.

Let's get to the game balls.

Russell Okung

Julius Peppers neared the Okie Black Hole and was crushed to atoms. This wasn't a "hey anyone notice Tyler Polumbus hasn't sucked balls?" kind of left tackle performance. This was domination, contribution, a pull block that created a touchdown, a clean pocket and pristine blind side, this was Okung battling one of the best pass rushers in the NFL on the road, and winning snap after snap. I love this kid.

Jordan Babineaux, Roy Lewis .. and by that I mean, Gus Bradley.

Think it was 2007, Mike Holmgren called a pass to Maurice Morris up the left sideline and Morris caught it deep. Morris wasn't special, just good enough. The pass wasn't special, just good enough. Holmgren, the coach, as only seems possible in football, made the play. He targeted a weakness and attacked.

Seattle had 3.5 sacks by blitzing defensive backs, including a forced fumble and a safety. Blitzes were hugely disruptive. I don't know what got into Gus, but ever since San Diego, this defense has transformed. It looks, if I may invoke a hyperbolic but nevertheless reverential comparison, like Jim Johnson's zone blitz assault. It's exciting and effective, and, most of all, dominating without dominant talent.

Lawyer Milloy

Something new every week, and this week, a pass defense.


Already said but worth repeating, this guy changed the Bears defense.

Justin Forsett

Back to doing what he does best and running strong.

Olindo Mare

Mare nullified an above average Bears kick return team. It's easy to forget how controversial this signing was.

Walter Thurmond

Rookie corners are made to be burned, like oversized match heads covering a striking pad, but Thurmond wasn't too bad today pressed into emergency service, and against an offense built to target weak corners. I love this kid's potential. What he can contribute this season is gravy.

Earl Thomas

People won't remember this game, but Thomas was all over deep patterns. Jay Cutler looked more befuddled than normal, having his own personal pouty hoedown in the pocket, and it had a lot to do with nothing breaking free deep. Picks are awesome and all, and Thomas has many dozen more to grab in his Seahawks career, many Sundays to come that we will remember, but picks plus discipline is what separates Jairus Byrd from Ed Reed. Picks plus discipline is reason to be excited, and not a little.

Kentwan Balmer

Balmer showed up enough early on to convince the Bears to abandon the run, and whether his play would have held up or not, his fast start changed the game. Not a great game by Balmer by any stretch, but this kid is all tools and potential. I'll take a good game on the path towards something better.

And Matt

It didn't look pretty, and it wasn't, and for his contributions and his contributions alone, I wouldn't call this a particularly awesome game for Hasselbeck, but I'll take this kind of performance every damn Sunday.

We don't know how good the Bears truly are. I would wager, not very. Cutler is an absolute mess. Martz has possibly the worst playbook in the NFL. What can you say -- two guys ruined by early success. When I think of the Bears, I think, this a defense already battling injuries and age, this is an offense as likely to score for the opposition as themselves, and if a couple things break wrong, this is a team spiraling towards a miserable and franchise altering collapse. In other words, they are who we thought they were.

The Chicago Bears are a fringe contender and maybe less, but for the first time in a long time, Seattle didn't make a fringe contender look like the 92 Cowboys. The Seahawks traveled across the country and remembered to pack the whoop ass. Finished a game on the right side of panic.