3 Takeaways: What held back the Seahawks’ offense in loss to Bears
The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on the season with their 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears Monday night. The game featured more struggles for a still-developing offense but also some highlights from a defense that entered the night short two Pro Bowl starters.
Here are three quick takeaways:
Offensive struggles continue
Seattle’s first game in Chicago with Russell Wilson under center was a breakout game for the then-rookie quarterback in 2012, who led the Seahawks to a 23-17 win in overtime. While it was a very different Seahawks team that touched down in the Windy City six years later, the offense was still headed by Wilson, now 29 years old and entering his seventh season with two Super Bowl appearances under his belt.
Unfortunately, Seattle’s franchise quarterback couldn’t replicate his 2012 performance – though he was sacked six times and played without the support on the ground that Marshawn Lynch provided.
At times, Wilson looked as efficient as ever. He was 8 for 8 on a 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. At other times – and, more importantly, in crucial moments – Wilson and the offense struggled.
That 99-yard touchdown drive, for instance, came in the final minute of regulation. Seattle’s only hope of a comeback ended when Chicago recovered Michael Dickson’s onside dropkick.
Seattle’s most promising chance at taking the lead were the two drives that preceded its final possession, and both ended with turnovers. Down just one score with over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Wilson and running back Rashaad Penny led the offense to midfield before a pass from Wilson was intercepted by Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara and returned for a touchdown.
Down two touchdowns, Seattle made another attempt to drive down the field. But Wilson was sacked and fumbled the ball with 4:40 remaining, and it was quickly recovered by Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd.
A few factors were at play for the sluggish offense. Seattle got off to a slow start, which Pete Carroll lamented during his postgame press conference, and had trouble early on third down conversions. The team was missing top receiver Doug Baldwin and starting right guard D.J. Fluker. Chicago’s pass rush was relentless, resulting in the six sacks of Wilson. And while the run game improved from Week 1, with just 57 yards on 19 carries it wasn’t enough to offset the pressure.
In his own postgame press conference, Wilson said failure once in a while is inevitable.
“We’re young,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be able to figure it out. You’re going to take some punches… and that’s going to pay off.”
A banged-up defense held its own
The biggest story heading into Monday night’s contest was the players who weren’t suiting up, particularly on defense. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin) joined fellow Pro Bowler K.J. Wright (knee) on the injury list last Thursday. In addition to Wagner and Wright, rookie cornerback Tre Flowers, who started last week, and safety Delano Hill were among Seattle’s inactives.
But despite being short-handed, Seattle was able to hold Chicago’s offense to 86 yards on the ground and intercept quarterback Mitch Trubisky twice (both times by cornerback Shaquill Griffin).
Defensive end Frank Clark and linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who signed with the team Thursday to help with depth issues, recorded a sack apiece.
“The defense played great,” Carroll said. “I thought they played a fantastic game throughout. … The one drive in the second half was a really well schooled up drive for (Chicago)… but other than that, the guys played great.”
Sebastian Janikowski lands in the record books
Considering the Seahawks’ struggles on special teams last season, particularly with field goal attempts, Sebastian Janikowski’s 56-yarder Monday night is worth noting.
The field goal didn’t just put Seattle on the board heading into halftime, but also put Sebastian Janikowski in the Seahawks’ record books. According to the News Tribune’s Gregg Bell, Janikowski’s 56-yard field goal ranks as the second-longest in franchise history.
It was also an improvement from last week. Against the Broncos, Janikowski was 1 for 2 on field goal attempts.