CHICAGO – It wasn’t always as ugly as fans' worst fears, but it was often enough.
The Seattle Seahawks couldn’t get their offense going until it was too late, as mistakes and a sputtering offense added up to hand them a 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football and drop them to 0-2 on the season.
The Seahawks head back to Seattle for next Sunday’s home opener looking for answers after an ugly night at Soldier Field in which they gave up five sacks and two turnovers while yet again failing to get their running game rolling.
“A very difficult night to take - with tonight, and after last week - because we ain’t used to this and we need to get rolling," coach Pete Carroll said after the game.
Russell Wilson had a tough night from the jump, as all five sacks came in the first half. He completed 22-of-36 passes for 226 yards, with two touchdowns and a crushing interception.
After spending the week talking about the importance of establishing their running game, the Seahawks made some promising moves in that direction in the first quarter, but then went most of the second and third quarters with no rush attempts. Rookie Rashaad Penny ended the night as Seattle’s leading rusher with 10 carries for 30 yards, while Chris Carson had six carries for 24 yards.
"(Carson) was a little gassed from working on special teams and helping us," Carroll said. We had some guys that were out so he had to double-dip, and really I wanted to see how we would do with Rashaad and get him some playing time and get him out there."
The Bears got on the board first, marching 96 yards down the field after Michael Dickson’s punt pinned them on their own 4-yard line. But three Seahawks penalties for 23 yards were a killer, and Mitch Trubisky capped the 10-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Trey Burton with 3:11 remaining in the first quarter.
The Seahawks got on the board at the end of the first half, as Sebastian Janikowski knocked in a 56-yard field goal with time expiring to make it 10-3.
Thanks to that and two enormous interceptions from Shaquill Griffin, the Seahawks kept themselves alive and it paid off – if only temporarily – with a fluid, out-of-nowhere drive in the fourth quarter that put them back in the fight. Seattle drove 75 yards down the field, capped by Wilson’s beautiful 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett that make it 10-17.
"The fourth quarter really showed us who we are and who we can be," Wilson said. "We’ve really just got to get a better start and try to catch that fire that we have in the fourth quarter and put it in the first, second and third. And if we can do that – which, I don’t think we’re far off by any means – I think the margin of error is really, really small. I’m normally really optimistic, you guys know that, but I really believe that."
But as quickly as he pulled them back into the game, Wilson took them right out of it again with a bad-looking pick-6 on the Seahawks’ next possession. Prince Amukamara essentially ended the game when he intercepted Wilson and ran it back 49 yards with 6:37 left in the game to make it 24-10 and deflate the Hawks for good.
"It was definitely too little, too late," Lockett said after the game. "I mean, we didn't get anything going in the first half. It sucked to be able to watch. We did so good in practice, and I don't know what happened - we've got to go back and see what happened. But it was good to get that drive, we went hurry-up, got it going, Russ called a play. We had that chemistry to where I was able to shift the guy inside, he gave me a perfect ball and I was able to catch it."
The Seahawks did get a last-minute touchdown to keep the score respectable, as Will Dissly hauled in a 2-yard reception with 14 seconds left in the game.
How ugly did it get? Seattle gained 1 on six total offensive plays in the entire third quarter. A big part of the reason the score was as close as it ended up was an outstanding game from Griffin, whose two interceptions and four tackles kept it close.
"You fight so hard and it’s hard to go like that, especially with the guys who have been working so hard through his whole week, and you want to go home with a W, but it’s tough," Griffin said.
The Seahawks, to be fair, were playing very short-handed with receiver Doug Baldwin and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright leading the list of injured players.
"We’ll see some guys come back next week," Carroll said. "I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Tre (Flowers) back, Bobby back, K.J. back, I don’t know if Doug will make it, D.J. (Fluker), all those guys have a chance to come back next week and we need them. We need that boost from those guys and the experience and leadership that they bring."
Seattle returns to action next Sunday when it plays host to the Dallas Cowboys at 1:25 p.m. on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.