Seahawks’ strong finish dooms Bears
Red Bryant’s path was clear to the end zone.
There were just 20 yards for the 323-pound defensive end to travel with the ball after an interception that highlighted a stellar defensive day for the Seattle Seahawks.
Bryant’s go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter – Seattle’s second score in a span of 50 seconds – sent the Seahawks to a 38-14 rout of the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The Seahawks made it a miserable day for Chicago backup Caleb Hanie. He threw three of his team’s four interceptions, was sacked four times and was under strong pressure much of the day.
With the game tied at 14-14, Seattle’s K.J. Wright hit Hanie as he tried to roll and he ended up throwing the ball right to Bryant.
”K.J. did a great job of getting to the quarterback and then he just threw ball up and I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time,” Bryant said. ”And I just happened to get in the end zone. It feels great. I ain’t going to lie to you.”
And all the Seahawks (7-7) were feeling pretty good after keeping their playoff hopes flickering, especially after trailing 14-7 at the half.
”Yeah, baby. The turnaround at halftime was remarkable,” coach Pete Carroll said after his team’s fifth win in six games. ”To see big Red score a touchdown, oh man, that warmed your heart.”
Brandon Browner picked off another Hanie pass in the final quarter and took it 42 yards for another TD.
Marshawn Lynch broke 1,000 yards rushing for the season and scored for the 10th straight game with two TD runs and Tarvaris Jackson also had a strong second half, completing 15 of 19 for 176 yards over the final two quarters when the Seahawks outscored the Bears 31-0.
”Our game plan every week is to get heat on the quarterback and make him make mistakes,” said the Seahawks other defensive end, Chris Clemons, who had two sacks. ”So today in the second half, we had opportunities to take advantage of that.”
Chicago (7-7) lost its fourth straight and played most of the game without wide receiver Johnny Knox, who was carted off the field after injuring his back while scrambling for a fumble early in the game.
Knox’s injury was the latest setback for the Bears over the past month. Quarterback Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and running back Matt Forte (sprained knee) have been sidelined and this week receiver/special teams player Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges and subsequently cut by the team.
”When Jay went down, I thought we were missing a key piece on our football team, but when you look back, we had some opportunities. To go on a four-game losing streak, no, that wasn’t a part of my mindset,” coach Lovie Smith said.
”We’re better than that. We’ve lost a lot injury-wise, but every team in the league will talk about injuries and the people they’ve lost.”
Next up for the Bears are the Packers, who should be in a real foul mood after suffering their first loss Sunday.
Jackson came out on the first possession of the third quarter and drove the Seahawks 80 yards. He hit a 33-yard pass to Golden Tate, who broke two tackles on the play, and then hooked up on a 43-yarder to Ben Obomanu, setting up Lynch’s 3-yard TD run to tie the game at 14-14.
After Bryant’s return, Seattle got a 33-yard field goal from Steve Hauschka and then iced the game early in the fourth on Jackson’s 2-yard TD pass to Michael Robinson. That score was set up by Leon Washington’s 36-yard punt return.
Hanie, who has struggled since Cutler was hurt Nov. 20, kept his feet moving, stepped to the side of the pocket and bought enough time before delivering a 25-yard TD pass to Kahlil Bell with just under two minutes left in the half for a 14-7 lead.
But then he made the mistake by throwing the ball right to Bryant, a play that put the Seahawks up for good.
”The guy got a little more of me than I anticipated and I forced a throw right to the defensive tackle (end),” Hanie said.
Hanie, who was replaced late in the game by Josh McCown, finished 10 of 23 for 111 yards.
Knox grabbed a pass from Hanie four minutes into the game and lost the ball when Kam Chancellor knocked it out of his hands.
As Knox made a diving attempt to retrieve the ball, he was hit hard by Seattle’s Anthony Hargrove during the scramble. Earl Thomas eventually recovered for the Seahawks at the Bears 23.
Knox remained on the ground for several minutes while he was being attended to before he was put on a stretcher and wheeled off the field with what was announced as a mid-back injury. He put his hands to his face and moved his arms while on the stretcher and got an ovation as he was taken off the field.
The Bears said the injury is not career-threatening. The surgery is scheduled for Monday.
Notes: Seahawks receiver Mike Williams suffering a broken ankle when he was tackled after a catch in the third quarter. … Bears safety Chris Conte had to leave with a foot injury while trying to make a tackle late in the first half.