Seahawks' sluggish start cured in 26-0 win over Bears
Even if it took the Seahawks one half to get started.
''It's not smooth yet, it's not how we want it to be, but it's a work in progress, and we know we have a lot of plays we can get and playmakers out there,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks did what was expected by rolling past the Bears 26-0 on Sunday. The two-time defending NFC champions finally got to come home to their noisy confines and for the first time this season were whole after the return of strong safety Kam Chancellor following a holdout that extended nearly eight weeks.
But it was a newcomer that made the biggest impact. Tyler Lockett was drafted because of his skill as a kick and punt returner. He showed the punt return skills in Week 1, taking a kick back 57 yards for Seattle's first touchdown of the season.
And he did it again against the Bears, this time on a kickoff return. Lockett fielded the second-half kickoff and returned it 105 yards for a TD, the longest return in franchise history. After a sleepy first half, the Seahawks were sparked by Lockett's return and dominated the final two quarters.
''I just think that we played with a sense of urgency,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said.
Chicago is 0-3 for the first time since 2003 and was shut out for the first time since 2002. The Bears avoided risk with backup Jimmy Clausen starting in place of Jay Cutler (hamstring) and Chicago's best wide receiver, Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring), also out. That meant short, safe throws and a meager offensive performance.
With sacks included, the Bears finished with 48 net yards passing, the second time since 1990 they finished with fewer than 50 net yards through the air.
Chicago punted on all 10 of its possessions. Matt Forte was held to 74 yards on 20 carries, and the Bears finished with just 37 yards in the second half.
Only one Chicago drive finished in Seattle territory, and the Bears ran just three plays on the Seahawks' half of the field.
''We just couldn't generate anything,'' Chicago coach John Fox said.
Here's what else stood out from Seattle's victory:
INJURY CONCERS: Seattle left the win with two injury concerns.
Running back Marshawn Lynch capped a strange day by leaving at halftime with a hamstring injury. Lynch finished with 14 yards on five carries and spent half of the first quarter in the locker room. Carroll said Lynch could not get loose before the game, but the hamstring was checked and ''it's nothing to be alarmed by.''
Starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane also suffered a groin injury in the first quarter and did not return.
CLAUSEN CONCERN: Clausen knows if he's the starter for a few more games the offense has to be more efficient. Clausen was 9 of 17 for 63 yards passing, and while he didn't commit any turnovers, the Bears also didn't run a play beyond the Seattle 45.
BACKUP BEAST: A revelation for the Seahawks could be backup running back Thomas Rawls. With Lynch out, Rawls carried the load in the second half, rushing for 98 of his 104 yards after halftime and averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He became the first Seattle running back other than Lynch to top 100 yards since Robert Turbin in 2012.
Rawls was an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan and had two carries prior to Sunday.
UNDER PRESSURE: The bright spot for Chicago was the pressure it was able to get on Wilson. After going without a sack for two games, the Bears sacked Wilson four times. Jarvis Jenkins and Pernell McPhee both had two.
RETURN TO SENDER: Lockett didn't have the only memorable return for the Seahawks.
In the first half, Seattle used a bit of trickery. Running the same misdirected punt return that St. Louis used against them last season for a touchdown, the Seahawks caught Chicago napping. Instead of Lockett catching the punt near the Chicago sideline, it was Richard Sherman catching it on the sideline in front of the Seattle bench and returning it 64 yards to set up Steven Hauschka's first field goal.
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