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Seahawks win in Chicago 23-17 & improve to 7-5

Jonathan Daniel

I don't even really know where to start, honestly. It felt like the Seahawks played pretty well, but it was one of the most stressful and annoying games I've ever watched.

Seattle's offense accumulated 459 yards of offense on the first ranked defense in the NFL (by DVOA), in their place. 176 yards on the ground and 293 through the air; 71 offensive snaps and 6.5 yards per play. 5.5 yards per rush, 7.9 yards per attempt passing.

Russell Wilson just flat out didn't play like a rookie today. I wouldn't call this a hallmark offensive performance by the Seahawks young unit in this one, but late in the game they came alive, collectively. Wilson finished 23 of 37 for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns to no interceptions and quietly added 71 yards rushing on 9 attempts. He escaped pressure beautifully on several occasions and extended plays on others. The read-option became important late, and Seattle picked up several key first downs while utilizing it.

Though the offense was sluggish at times against a very good defense, Wilson played the best when it mattered, late in the game; he mounted a 12-play, 97 yard game-winning (we thought) touchdown drive late, with Seattle down 14-10, which put the Seahawks up 17-14 and seemingly in control for good. This feeling was fleeting, and Seattle was failed by the defense in what should have been the final, inconsequential 24 seconds. Richard Sherman went for a pick when he should've just batted down a desperation pass, and Brandon Marshall's 56-yard reception preserved the game for Chicago as they converted a field goal with seconds left.

In overtime, Wilson, the 24-year old rookie out of Wisconsin, led the offense on a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive and didn't even give the defense the chance to blow it for the second straight drive and second straight game.


The Seahawks' defense remains pretty concerning, and their distinct lack of a pass rush in this game stands out as the most alarming aspect. They managed only one sack on a patched together, backup-riddled version of the worst O-line in the NFL.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The Bears rushed 32 times for 132 yards, a 4.1 ypc clip, though to be honest I actually thought, on first viewing, that the rush defense played alright. Red Bryant played well, considering he was slowed up by his plantar fasciitis, and Malcolm Smith did well in relief of an injured Leroy Hill. I didn't notice many big assignment letdowns in that area, though a time or two they snuck through for a medium gain. The Bears kept at it though, and seemed to rack up their 132 yards with volume and not explosiveness.

The pass defense was a bit suspect though, and got no help from the defensive pressure schemes Gus Bradley and company rolled out. Jay Cutler hit for 233 yards on 17 of 26 yards passing, and had tons of time behind the line to let plays develop.

Brandon Marshall was the focal point of the Bears offense and in the first half, the Seahawks didn't seem to have any care or concern for making the adjustments necessary to stop him, choosing to play soft zone off coverage while keeping everything in front of them, and Marshall took advantage underneath on easy slant routes and sit down routes. Marshall went into the lockerroom at half with 7 catches for 94 yards on 9 targets; the rest of the Bears offense, combined, had 7 targets.

Now, in the 2nd half, Seattle figured things out -- take away the total defensive breakdown in the closing seconds of the 4th quarter, a 56-yard reception to Marshall that should've just been batted down, and the Hawks' defense held Marshall to two catches for 15 yards. Why these types of adjustments can't be made on the fly is a bit annoying, but a good job nonetheless.

Despite the poor defensive showing, Seattle did do some things that would have counteracted this lack of a rush and poor coverage of Marshall in the first half, in the form of special teams and defensive (should've-been) turnovers. K.J. Wright came out of a scrum with the football after Brandon Browner punched it out from Brandon Marshall, but the referees quickly signaled that it was Chicago's ball without waiting for a player to clearly gain control of the ball. Marshall jumped on it quickly but in a bang-bang play like that, the call could have gone either way. Bad luck there, and following a delay of game penalty on Wright, Chicago scored a touchdown on the next play.

The subsequent Seattle possession stalled at midfield, and down 7-0, Seattle punted. They appeared to recover the muffed punt on the Chicago 11-yard line, but again, the referees quickly awarded the ball to Chicago despite the fact that Chris Maragos (I believe) emerged with the football following a big scrum. This play seemed more suspect than the first fumble play -- how the back judge determined that Eric Weems had the football in his possession there that quickly and with players diving around for the ball is questionable at best. I don't have to tell you how big of a deal it would have been to recover a punt on the Bears' 11-yard line in that situation.


Some Notes:

I don't really know how to feel about the reversed touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards. To me, with that play being called a touchdown on the field, the onus was then placed on the referees to find indisputable evidence that it wasn't a catch. It was close, no doubt; the nose of the football may or may not have touched the ground a fraction of a second before Edwards got his hands under it, but in this case, I honestly don't think there was conclusive evidence that it was clearly not a catch. I'm not going to spend too much time lamenting it, and I'm biased blah blah blah, but that was a frustrating moment. Overall, I thought this was a very poorly officiated game, and one of the more frustrating to watch in recent memory (eventual victory notwithstanding).

The playcall to get Golden Tate the ball in the waning moments of the fourth quarter on a quick slant was a great decision, in my opinion. Tate did the Tate thing and somehow dodged, dipped, ducked, dived and dodged his way into the endzone for paydirt. Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin had really excellent games as well.

Much, much more this week, of course, but to end: Holy shit, Russell Wilson, you guys.