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Cigar Thoughts, Game 2: Seahawks stagnate, curdle in loss to Bears

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The Chicago Bears overmatched a depleted Seahawks team on Monday night, beating them 24-17 and sending Seattle to 0-2.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks are the least watchable team in America*. Remember when we used to nit-pick 13-point wins, beg our perennially over-achieving offense to fire the coordinator, and complain about not getting enough respect from national media? This is what we get.

*non-Bills division. I’m still not convinced the Buffalo Bills are real.

Cat food rotting on moldy cardboard** would’ve been better TV than the Seahawks tonight. For a solid five years, Seattle was the most interesting city in the NFL. Young, brash bullies led fearlessly by their impossibly exuberant head coach and their impossibly square QB. They were the lead story as often as they weren't, creating All Pros as fast as those All Pros could create headlines. The Seahawks weren’t just great players, they were great entertainers. The loudest, fastest team in the league and the last boys anyone wanted to run into with their season on the line.

**while I’ve got you, check out my YouTube channel

What we watched tonight was the furthest possible thing from that reckless euphoria and it ruined a perfectly beautiful evening during the loveliest time of the year. Granted, the Seahawks team that took the field against the Bears wasn’t anywhere near full strength. The defense was missing two of its remaining three Pro Bowlers, filled out their secondary with baggers from Whole Foods, and were missing their best offensive playmaker. Only one starter from the defense that nearly won back-to-back Super Bowls played in this one. There was no question it was gonna be tough.

I did not expect it to be impotent. Seattle had 80 yards through three quarters. They allowed five sacks in the first half. Even with two late TD drives, they still only averaged 4.3 yards per play. The defense bent but then bent some more. In fact it just kept bending, never giving up any really big plays but just continuing to bend. Never ceasing to bend. Didn’t break though.

This game had less discernible flow than white folks at a wedding, so I’ll dispense with the play-by-play. What matters is that the Seahawks got thumped. They were never down by more than 14 and truly, spent the vast majority of the game only down seven. And yet at no point did it feel like they had a chance of winning. Russell Wilson, the man upon whom any hope of winning rested, looked panicked and new. The offense as a whole was remedial, with milquetoast check-downs mottled by uninspiring handoffs.

It will be easy to blame Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer, so I will. They both sucked tonight. Wilson looked rattled and Schottenheimer was unable to scheme literally anyone into open space. Now then, it is still worth pointing out how little (read: zero) separation Seattle’s receivers were generating, and also that the game’s main storyline was Chicago’s relentless pressure on Russ. Seattle had lots of inadequacies to overcome in this one to be sure, but the sheer inability to conjure up an effective counter was just miserable to watch.

Used to was Seattle could be down 20 in the 4th and I’d consider the outcome a coin flip. Tonight they were just down one score for the whole game and yet the loss seemed inevitable. There was that little creativity or execution from the offense. Yes, I know Seattle has to face an absolute suicide squad of edge rushers to start the season, but like, they should have pretty good practice at it by now.

Lots of teams struggle with Von Miller and Khalil Mack, and yeah, even when those guys don’t make the play they usually cause enough mayhem to let someone else do it. But you know what lots of teams don’t do? Give up 11 sacks in six quarters. In fact, no one does that. ‘Cept our lads.

I don’t know what the answer is. Keep in an extra guy to block? Now you’ve got six bros blocking four bros, which leaves just four bros to run routes against seven bros. And if they rush a fifth bro, it’s all over. What I do know is that this isn’t a new problem but it’s definitely our worst result. It’s just hard for me to watch so many other teams run dynamic, motion-oriented offenses with deception and staggered spacing and then flip to the Seahawks, who are still using the playbook from Madden ‘96.

At one point, their first drive of the third quarter I think, the Seahawks were pinned deep. Facing 3rd & 10 with a dwindling play clock, they burned a timeout to save a two-yard delay of game. Then they ran a screen pass that lost, wait for it... two yards. That was followed by a punt, which was in turn followed by an 18-month TD drive by the Bears to make it 17-3 and all but erase whatever flicker of hope we were all trying to manufacture. Then, later, when it looked like Seattle might actually really somehow have a chance still, they called another timeout to set up a pick-six on a stop route to a rookie running back on the far sideline.

Considering the sheer volume of injury to Seattle’s defense, I think they played pretty well overall. Shaquill Griffin had two interceptions in the second quarter, which was awesome. He had just one all last season despite playing terrifically, so it was very cool to see him wipe out consecutive drives at a time where it looked like the game might get out of hand. I was really concerned with whether the ‘Hawks would be able to force turnovers this season but five interceptions through two games has been a righteous development.

Frank Clark got his second sack of the season, Bradley McDougald played great, and Earl continued to be Earl, providing a one-man ceiling on the defense. They tackled extremely well and rallied to every ballcarrier despite being given little respite by the offense. Newly added LB Michael Kendricks had a sack on a pretty inside rush that squelched the Bears’ opening drive in the third quarter. Nice to see him capitalize after exploiting a weakness in the system.

In fact, the Seahawks only allowed five yards per pass and three yards per run. They just got first-downed to death, is all. Despite only being on the field for 64 plays, the Bears tallied 20 first downs. It was like watching eleven salted snails.

The special teams were good. Even with a disastrous 10-yard punt, Michael Dickson continued to be the greatest punter God ever saw fit to create. He had a 40-yard parachute that bolted the Bears to their own 4-yard line, and his other five punts averaged 53.1 yards. His career average is still 51.5, which is hilarious. Sebastian Janikowski hit a 56-yarder that would have been good from 66 and put both his extra points straight down the center. Woulda been nice if any of it mattered.

It took 48 minutes, but Seattle eventually put together a really nice possession. Rashaad Penny took over (anyone heard why Chris Carson didn’t get a touch in the second half?) and actually #establishedtherun. Three third down conversions on the drive included a beautiful deep ball to Tyler Lockett, followed by David Moore drawing a penalty on another deep ball, and Russell Wilson hitting Lockett again in the back right corner of the end zone.

That TD was one of those plays that reminds you just how insane the skills are at this level, and why we watch in the first place. Facing third down on the Chicago 19, Wilson dropped three steps then leaned back as he lobbed the ball towards the far right pylon. It was like watching a great shooter take a fadeaway jumper. His spiral was as pretty, and as pristinely placed as a pass could possibly be thrown. It somehow squeezed through a cereal-bowl-sized gap between the sprinting defender and the end line and into the hands of Lockett.

Tyler, for his part, somehow caught a ball that couldn’t have been visible for the last few yards. As it dropped over the cornerback’s shoulder, Lockett extended his adorable little hands and pinned the ball to his bird-like chest with the defenders arm between his. And got both feet in. It was, if you properly appreciate it, perfect football.

And no one will remember any of it because our punter drop-kicked the kickoff like some kind of harbor side circus act. The Seahawks offense is just foreplay for Michael Dickson.

No smoke rings tonight. I’m upset.

Next up is who(m)ever the fuck. It won’t matter until this team starts playing a whole lot better. Onward, upward. Please?

Jacson on Twitter | Cigar Thoughts Hub | Cigar Thoughts Facebook

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The 2018 season of Cigar Thoughts is proud to be sponsored by Fairhaven Floors and Brandon Nelson Partners.

Tonight I chewed on a Gurkha Centurian while drinking some Makers 46. A very straightforward combo with each part doing their best to make the other look good.