It was the same story for the Seahawks, just a different week. Russell Wilson and company came out of the gates rolling, scoring touchdowns on their first four drives to set the tone on their way to a 34-6 rout over the Chicago Bears on Friday night at Century Link Field.
Wilson had a phenomenal night, completing 15 of 20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, also rushing four times for 23 yards and one touchdown. Wilson also once again spread the wealth among his receivers, hitting seven different targets, something he has done well during the preseason this year.
On the ground, it was another split effort for Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, who combined for 54 yards on 14 carries. Marshawn Lynch finally saw the playing field for the first time, even if it was only for the opening series. Lynch made his mark though with one of Seattle's two rushing touchdowns to get things rolling.
Just like last week’s win over San Diego, the Seahawks (2-1) had no trouble moving the ball early, starting with Percy Harvin’s 46-yard return on the game’s opening kickoff. A 25-yard pass to Harvin set up Marshawn Lynch’s first rushing touchdown of the preseason off the zone read to give Seattle an early 7-0 lead. Lynch’s touchdown run was his third, and last of his short night of work.
As the drive chart showed, the Seahawks scored early and often, jumping out to a 28-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
On Chicago’s opening drive, the Bears (2-1) moved the ball to the Seattle 47 when on 3rd and 15, Alshon Jeffrey had Byron Maxwell beat deep, but Maxwell was able to stay just close enough to get his hands in there to break up a would-be touchdown pass, forcing the Bears to punt.
The Seahawks caught a break on their next drive when on 2nd and 19, Russell Wilson drew a personal foul against Lance Briggs when Wilson slid feet first, and Briggs came flying in towards Wilson’s helmet. The Seahawks got a free 15 yards off the penalty to give some fresh life to the drive. After being backed up to the 7-yard line due to a false start, Russell Wilson ran for another touchdown to put the Seahawks up 14-0. Last week, Wilson ran for two touchdowns against the Chargers, so it’ll be interesting to see how many touchdowns he can run for on the ground this year.
Percy Harvin helped move the ball on Seattle’s next drive with a pair of nice receptions. The first was a 23-yard reception in which Harvin was able to make a nice cut for extra yards. The second was a 13-yard catch with more fancy footwork, something we can only hope we see all season long. By the end of the drive, Harvin had three catches for 61 yards. Five plays later, Wilson zipped in a perfectly placed pass to Jermaine Kearse to increase Seattle’s lead to three touchdowns.
More than just their efficiency and converting on third downs (a perfect 6-for-6 on their first three drives), the Seahawks managed to keep Chicago’s defense on the field for long periods of time to tire them down. Seattle’s second drive went 14 plays and 89 yards in 7:17, while the third drive lasted 11 plays for 83 yards in 6:03. Being able to produce lengthy drives, resting your defense while tiring out the opposition’s, will make things very difficult on opponents trying to keep pace with Seattle if that is something the Seahawks can carry over to the regular season.
After likely saving a touchdown earlier, Byron Maxwell forced a fumble as he tackled Ashlon Jeffrey, but the call was overturned when it was ruled that Jeffery’s knee was down before the ball came out. On the ensuing play, O’Brien Schofield exploded off the line to sack Jay Cutler. Schofield has been one of my favorite guys to watch this preseason and I’m excited to see what he can do this year.
Earl Thomas made his case for the punt return job with a huge 60-yard return, only to be tripped up by the punter, Patrick O’Donnell, the only man between him and the end zone. I’m always hesitant to have big-time defensive players fielding one of the more dangerous plays in the game, but having a guy back there who can break off big returns at any moment really change how the opposition handles punts. I saw plenty of that with De’Anthony Thomas during my time at Oregon. It’s a big weapon few teams are lucky to have.
You know what happened next without me even having to tell you, even if you didn’t watch the game. A short run by Christine Michael sets up a play action rollout as Wilson found Michael wide open on the next play, and just like that, another rout was on.
The Bears did manage to finally reach the end zone, set up with an impressive 24-yard pass from Jay Cutler to Bennett, who made a leaping catch while having to turn his body. The pass was initially ruled a touchdown when Bennett crashed into the pylon, but he was ruled down at the half-yard line. Chicago opted for the extra 10 seconds rather than the run-off by using their first timeout. Two plays later, Cutler found #88 for a touchdown pass, but the score was called back, this time by an offensive pass interference against Brandon Marshall, backing them up to the 12-yard line. On the ensuing play, Jeremy Lane redeemed his near-interception from earlier, reading Cutler and jumping out in front of 19, running it back to midfield.
Steven Hauschka ended the half with a bang, drilling a 59-yard field goal, the longest of his career, to give Seattle a 31-0 lead going into the half.
Feel free to point out any mistakes you saw in the first half, because I sure as hell can’t. The only mistake I can come up with is the fact that I missed the Mariners’ miracle 9th inning comeback in Boston for the start of the game.
The Seahawks were 4-for-4 in the red zone, one of the bigger takeaways in the first half. Those extra four points can be huge in the close games, so even in a blowout, its important to see that type of efficiency from the offense.
After a clipping penalty against rookie right tackle Justin Britt, the Seahawks were faced with a 3rd and 23. Christine Michael took a screen pass for 22 yards. Hauschka came on for a 53-yard field goal. As ugly as the kick was, it just barely missed, bouncing off the left upright, thus ending Seattle’s streak of nine consecutive scoring drives.
The Seahawks displayed the "bend, don’t break" defense as Chicago managed to get the ball within field goal range, but Robbie Gould pushed a 47-yard attempt wide right as Chicago continued to be held scoreless.
Tavaris Jackson checked in with just over five minutes left in the third quarter as Russell Wilson’s brilliant dress rehearsal wrapped up. On 1st and 10 at the Chicago 39-yard line, Jackson took a deep shot at the end zone towards Paul Richardson. While the pass fell incomplete, Richardson displayed his trait we’re all so excited about, and that is his pure speed as he sprinted down the sidelines. Just because of that level of speed he has, Richardson is a guy I actually wouldn’t mind seeing return punts at some point this year. Hauschka came on for a 38-yard field goal, a mere chip shot after his 59-yarder to end the half.
Late in the third quarter, Brock Huard pointed out how tough it can be to dig yourself out of a hole when you’re getting blown out. The winning side can mix up plays with relative ease like the Seahawks were doing. The Bears on the other hand could not. 71 percent of Chicago’s plays were passes, making their offense that much easier to shut down. For what it’s worth to compare, 49 percent of Seattle’s plays were passes.
With 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Jon Ryan came on to punt for the Seahawks. Phew, for a second I thought we had just gotten rid of that position altogether. On the kick, Ricardo Lockette came in and absolutely blew up Darius Reynaud, but unfortunately it drew a 15-yard penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver. Shout out to the Seahawks Twitter account for the pop culture reference on the play.
And just in case you missed the bone-crushing hit, here it is in Vine form so that you can watch it over and over again.
The shutout was finally spoiled as Robbie Gould hit a 30-yard field goal with six minutes left in the game, finally getting the Bears on the board.
Terelle Pryor had a rough entrance to the game, throwing an interception on his second pass play of the night. He’ll have plenty of time to redeem himself next week in what should be a friendly competition between himself and Jackson against Oakland on Thursday. Chicago got the ball down to the 10-yard line on their next drive when Jimmy Clausen rushed forward on 4th down for the first down near the goal line, but the run was called back due to a holding call. The Bears settled for another field goal as the Seahawks managed to keep them out of the end zone once again.
The Seahawks have one final warmup next Thursday against the Oakland Raiders, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 pm.