Bears Manhandle Seahawks 37-6, Stay Unbeaten

Not only has much of the football-watching nation been hesitant to believe that the Bears are for real, there were still a handful of skeptics in their home city of Chicago. But after Sunday night's limb-from-limb ripping of the Seahawks in prime time, those doubters are nowhere to be found. The Bears completely dismantled Seattle in every phase of the game in a 37-6 victory.

The Seahawks arrived at Soldier Field still wearing the title belt as defending NFC champions, but the Bears left the lakefront looking far away like the best team in the conference.

Rex Grossman threw for 232 yards, and Ricky Manning Jr. intercepted two Matt Hasselbeck passes to lead Chicago to a 37-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night before a prime time television audience.

Grossman had another strong performance, completing 17-of-31 passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions, as the Bears moved to 4-0 for the first time in 15 years. Bernard Berrian had three receptions for a career-high 108 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown catch.

The Bears also got their running game going after three ho-hum performances, with Thomas Jones rushing for 98 yards and two TDs.

To round out the complete performance, the Chicago defense shut down a potent Seahawks offense that was playing without the reigning NFL MVP, tailback Shaun Alexander.

With the Bears leading 10-3, Manning intercepted Hasselbeck twice in the second quarter to set up a field goal and touchdown.

Hasselbeck was 16-of-35 for 196 yards and did not throw a touchdown, somewhat ironic after tying a franchise record with five scoring passes the previous week in a 42-30 victory over the New York Giants. He was sacked five times, twice each by Tommie Harris and Mark Anderson.

Maurice Morris started for Alexander but was a non-factor, carrying 11 times for 35 yards.

Alexander had been bothered by a bruised bone in his left foot before it cracked during last week's win. He had hoped to still play, saying the power of prayer had healed him and even jumping around for coach Mike Holmgren in an effort to prove that he was ready to go. A second round of tests on Wednesday showed the bone was still broken, so he sat for the first time in his seven-year career.

The Seattle defense took a hit in the second quarter when safety Michael Boulware suffered a concussion while breaking up a pass intended for Chicago's John Gilmore near his own goalline.

The Bears thought they were on course to meet Seattle in the playoffs last season after winning the NFC North and earning a first-round bye, but Carolina knocked them off at Soldier Field. The Seahawks beat the Panthers the next week to advance to the Super Bowl.

Seattle opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Josh Brown on its second possession. The Bears wasted no time responding. They drove 69 yards, with Grossman completing six of seven passes for 57 yards. He hit Muhsin Muhammad for 14 yards on the first play and later found his primary target open in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown that made it 7-3 in the second quarter.

Grossman struck again on the Bears' next play from scrimmage, finding Berrian deep along the right sideline for 46 yards. That led to a 36-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, his first of three on the night.

The four-receiver set that worked so well for the Seahawks against New York was ineffective against the Bears. Hasselbeck found himself under pressure, and Chicago's defensive backs took advantage.

After a tough week off the field, Manning Jr. redeemed himself on the gridiron.

On Tuesday, he pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge stemming from an incident at a Denny's in Los Angeles. But he put aside his legal issues on Sunday.

Manning picked off a short pass intended for Deion Branch at the Chicago 25 and returned it 39 yards before Hasselbeck knocked him out of bounds at the Seattle 36-yardline. That led to a 20-yard field goal by Gould, extending the lead to 13-3.

Seattle's next possession ended when Manning intercepted Hasselbeck at the Seahawks 40. Just five plays later, it was 20-3. Jones capped the drive with a 3-yard run, the first rushing touchdown for the Bears this season.


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