MMQB: Seahawks 30, Bears 23

"The Seahawks reestablished themselves as a playoff team, improving to 5-2 in the conference and 6-4 overall. They stayed one game ahead of the Cardinals. They also got a bit of blood back after losing two games to the Bears last season - a regular-season blowout, and a squeaker in the playoffs."

Seattle Seahawks 30, Chicago Bears 23
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington

Play Of The Day:  With just under six minutes remaining in the game, Patrick Kerney blew by Bears OT Fred Miller and sacked Rex Grossman for his second of the game, this time knocking the ball loose.  Darryl Tapp scooped up the ball and snuffed out Chicago's chance at tying the game.  The Seahawks would go on to kick a field goal and expand their lead to ten points and put the game out of reach.

Handouts to the StandoutsMatt Hasselbeck is making a strong case for his return to Hawaii this winter, finishing the game 30 of 44 for 337 yards, two touchdowns and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions.  Hasselbeck was outstanding on play action passes and enjoyed success on most all of his audibles, even, surprisingly enough, on running plays.

D.J. Hackett led the team in receptions for the second straight week with 9 catches for 136 yards and touchdown, and could have had more as but he dropped a touchdown in the third quarter and failed to drag his foot on a third down catch on the sidelines that was close enough to prompt a review, although the challenge was unsuccessful.

Patrick Kerney finished the game with three sacks, one forced fumble, five tackles and a big hit on a screen to Jason McKie that led to an incompletion on what could have been a big gain.

Things That Made Me Go "Blech":  On the second play from scrimmage, Cedric Benson ran off tackle right and scampered 43 yards for a touchdown completely untouched.  Brian Russell appeared to be rooted to the ground as Benson breezed by him on his way to six.  The only good thing about the play was that it didn't start from the 1-yard line, because there no chance that anyone would have come close to tackling Benson.

As previously mentioned, D.J. Hackett dropped an easy touchdown on third down that forced the Seahawks to have to kick a field goal.  It didn't wind up costing the Seahawks, but Seattle fans are hyper-sensitive about drops after suffering through the Jackson/Stevens era, so let's hope Hackett spends some extra time this week working on his hands.

On the first play of the Seahawks second possession of the second half, the pass protection broke down leading to a sack of Matt Hasselbeck, and a forced fumble recovered by the Bears, and all of this despite holding on Chris Gray.  I'm guessing that play won't be fun to watch over and over again during the film sessions.

Offense:  Once again, the offensive game plan was centered on using the pass to set up the run and, once again, it worked well.  The Seahawks employed both the play action pass and draw plays to keep the Chicago defense off balance and generally picked apart the Bears secondary with slants and short checkdown passes. 

The Seattle receivers had a solid outing on Sunday, with all four contributing catches.  Deion Branch nabbed 4 passes for 31 yards in his first game back from injury.  Several times Bobby Engram was matched up linebackers in coverage, and each time Matt Hasselbeck hit him over the middle for a solid gain.  Nate Burleson only had one catch in the game, but it was beautiful one-handed nab for a touchdown. 

Maurice Morris turned in another solid performance in the backfield rushing 18 times for 86 yards and a touchdown while adding another 19 yards through the air.  Morris still had to contend with defensive linemen in the backfield a few more times that he should have, but, in general, the Seahawks run blocking appears to have vastly improved over the course of the last few weeks. 

One factor in the running game's turnaround has been Leonard Weaver, who was solid as a lead blocker, sealing off Pro-Bowl LB Lance Briggs on Morris' 19 yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and absolutely destroying DB Brandon McGowan on an outside run in the second half.  Weaver contributed 2 runs of his own for 11 yards and hauled in 4 passes out of the backfield for 23 yards and punished the poor defensive backs who came up to tackle him.

Defense:  The Seahawks defense finished the game with five sacks, two forced fumbles while forcing the Bears into four three and outs and twice stopping Chicago on fourth down.  There were a few "duh" moments, such as the aforementioned 43 yard Benson touchdown run, but, in general, the defense played well throughout the game.

Leroy Hill was a welcome sight in the defensive backfield, and he contributed a sack and was, as usual, a monster in stopping the run.  Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu were a bit quieter than usual, contributing just 3 tackles combined.  Tatupu, in particular, seems to get taken out of blitzing plays by blocking fullbacks, which makes me wonder why he gets called on to blitz as often as he does.

The secondary did a fine job in neutralizing the Rex Grossman deep ball, with the only breakdowns occurring while Jordan Babineaux was subbing for Kelly Jennings who was sidelined for a quarter with sprained knee. 

Special TeamsJosh Brown went 3 for 4 on field goal attempts and made a great open field tackle on All-Pro return man Devin Hester.  With Adam Viniteri's sudden meltdown over the last few weeks, Brown is the heir apparent to the NFL kicking throne. 

Ryan Plackemeier kicked away from Hester all day, dropping one just inside the five yard line, and kicking the rest either out of bounds or into the end zone.

Nate Burleson enjoyed a bit of the Hester Treatment as the Bears opted not to kick to him in the second half but only after Burleson returned a kickoff 44 yards across midfield. 

The Golden Microphone Award:  Kudos to Matt Vasgersian and J.C. Pearson who called the game for FOX today.  Vasgersian did a wonderful job calling the play-by-play (I only caught one error by Matt and he corrected himself almost immediately) and J.C. Pearson offered analysis that was not only pertinent but actually interesting.  The FOX booth crew also eschewed the usual prepackaged video introductions and puff-pieces that so often plague FOX broadcasts so that we actually saw every snap of the game.  It's a shame that these guys aren't considered the "A" team by the suits at FOX Sports, because they infinitely better than anyone else on the network.  I sincerely hope that they get "stuck" doing more Seahawks games this year.

Random Notes:  The Seahawks defense has faced five fourth down attempts over the last two games and not one of them has been successful.

The home crowd didn't like the illegal contact call against Marcus Trufant early in the second quarter but it was good call by the official.  In fact, Trufant is lucky they didn't call pass interference.

I like that Mike Holmgren continues to go for it on fourth down, even if he has to pass to get it done.  Hasselbeck's playaction rollout pass to Marcus Pollard was a thing of beauty.

Every knows that Josh Brown made a nice tackle on Devin Hester in the second half, but he also forced Hester out of bounds earlier in the game.  It's that kind of extra effort that should send Josh to Pro Bowl this year.

Summary:  The Seahawks reestablished themselves as a playoff team, improving to 5-2 in the conference and 6-4 overall. They stayed one game ahead of the Cardinals. They also got a bit of blood back after losing two games to the Bears last season - a regular-season blowout, and a squeaker in the playoffs. They might not be on the same level at the Packers and Cowboys in the NFC, but Seattle's new pass-first offense has some very interesting wrinkles, and very few obvious challengers left on the schedule.

Next Week:  On the road again in St. Louis.

Dylan is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country and firmly believes that "Live At Leeds" is the single greatest live performance since a deaf Ludwig Van Beethoven debuted his final symphony in Vienna in 1824.  You can e-mail Dylan at . Top Stories