Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 25-24 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lumen Field:
Coach Pete Carroll’s offensive style requires a strong running game to be effective, and running back Rashaad Penny has finally given the Seahawks that this season as he had his second excellent outing in the past three weeks. Quarterback Russell Wilson still made some bad decisions on throws and missed on others, but he also had some really good throws that went for touchdowns — and he even kept the ball on a read-option play for the first time in ages, which in theory could be helpful in future games. The utter dysfunction by the offense in the final minute, when Seattle had two timeouts and only needed to get in field-goal range, was ugly.
For a good portion of the game the Seattle defense appeared to be doing what it needed to be doing, but the cracks were visible in the form of missed tackles and allowing the Bears to convert on third down, though the latter was papered over thanks to the Seahawks making plays when Chicago went for it on fourth. However, the complete capitulation on the game-winning drive in the final three minutes — capped off by a touchdown catch by much-derided former Seahawk Jimmy Graham, no less — was inexcusable. The game-winning two-point conversion was a case of the Bears making a play rather than Seattle allowing one.
Seattle had a solid day in the return game, but the rest of the special teams struggled. Punter Michael Dickson may be a Pro Bowl alternate, but Sunday’s game suggested the Australian-via-Texas isn’t a snow dog — his worst moment came in the second quater when his short punt from his own end zone, combined with a long return, set up a short field for Chicago’s first touchdown. Kicker Jason Myers was effective with his squib kickoffs (more on that later), but you can’t miss a 39-yard field goal that would have given your team a two-score lead in the fourth quarter.
There were some good things coaching-wise, from continuing to get defensive end Carlos Dunlap more snaps — though that begs the question why the team’s most-expensive pass rusher had that mid-season dip on playing time in the first place — to choosing to go with the squib kickoffs that effectively eliminated the Chicago return game. But a series of missteps in the second half kept Chicago in it, from choosing to punt on fourth-and-4 in Bears territory, to burning a timeout on a coaches challenge that was never going to be overturned, to the inability to do anything to prevent the train derailing on both sides of the ball in the final minutes.
After the game Carroll described it as “about as disappointing a loss as we’ve had.” Considering Seattle coughed up what should have been a routine victory to a lousy offensive team forced to start its third-string quarterback, it’s hard to argue with that logic. There were mitigating factors, such as the cold, snowy conditions and the short week created when last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams had to be pushed back two days. But the only thing that prevents the result from being a complete failure is the fact it was essentially inconsequential to the 5-10 Seahawks.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer