Bears blasted by defending champion Seahawks 34-6
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter August 22, 2014 11:02PM
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 22: Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field on August 22, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Updated: August 23, 2014 1:38AM
SEATTLE — It was only a preseason game. But it was brutal.
The Bears limped home with a lot of work to do after a 34-6 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Friday night at CenturyLink Field. It was a collapse of all three phases — but the Bears’ the first-team defense was a particularly obvious red flag, allowing four touchdowns on the Seahawks’ first four possessions.
Playing without starting defensive end Jared Allen, who is nursing a bruised shoulder, the Bears were torched for 234 yards on 35 plays (6.7 yards per play) by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense, which took a 31-0 lead at halftime. But regardless of the circumstances, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has a big job on his hands with the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field two weeks away. Allen makes a difference, but it’s unlikely he makes that much of a difference.
“The good part about this is that we think we’re going to be able to make corrections,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “A lot of this is fixable, it really is. We’ll do that and see how we’re tied together in all three phases. We clearly lost the game in all three phases tonight and that’s a credit to Seattle. Coming on the road and playing in this environment is only going to help us.”
All three phases struggled, but the defense was the biggest culprit. The Seahawks’ first three drives were similar in efficiency: 61 yards on seven plays, capped by Marshawn Lynch’s seven-yard run; 89 yards on 14 plays, with Wilson scrambling for a seven-yard touchdown; and 83 yards on 11 plays, with Wilson throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse on third-and-10 for a 21-0 lead with 7:10 left in the first half.
“They moved the ball pretty good up and down the field against us,” cornerback Tim Jennings said. “We’re going to have to go back and figure some stuff out. We can do better in some areas. But right now we saw there are some things we can clean up. So we’re not going to panic just yet. That’s for you guys.”
The fourth touchdown drive — 16 yards on three plays, capped by Wilson’s seven-yard pass to Christine Michael for a 28-0 lead — followed a 59-yard punt return by Earl Thomas. Special teams didn’t distinguish themselves in this one either. Percy Harvin’s 46-yard return of the opening kickoff got the whole debacle rolling in the first place.
Even worse for the Bears’ defense was their inability to stop the Seahawks on third down. Seattle converted 8-of-8 third-downs in the first half, including pass plays of 25 and 17 yards and three touchdown plays.
“This game doesn’t count once the season begins, so for us, it’s learning,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “You get at the tape and see what happened and see the things we have to correct. We have plenty of things to correct.
“The one thing that stood out was probably third down and getting off the field on third down is very important. We got ourselves in a lot of third-down situations and couldn’t get off the field. That extended drives. That gives more defense out on the field. It’s hard to be successful when you’re constantly having 16-play drives or your constantly allowing extended drives.”
The Bears’ defense didn’t have much it could hang its hat on. Even the few plays it made were overcome either by Wilson’s playmaking or the Bears’ own doing.
After the Bears pressured Wilson to no avail on the first drive, Willie Young finally sacked Wilson for a nine-yard loss that put the Seahawks in a second-and-19 situation at their 49. But after Wilson scrambled for a four-yard gain, Lance Briggs was called for a late-hit when he tagged Wilson after he slid to the ground. Instead of a third-and-15 at the Bears 47, the Seahawks had a first down at the Bears 32.
On the Seahawks’ third possession, Bears safety Chris Conte — playing for the first time in the preseason — made a nice play to break up a touchdown pass to tight end Luke Wilson in the end zone. But on the next play, Wilson easily hit Kearse in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown that made it 21-0. Conte later left with a concussion.
It was that kind of night for the Bears. They appeared to finally score on Cutler’s two-yard pass to Dante Rosario in the final minute of the first half. But the touchdown was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty on Brandon Marshall.
On the next play, Cutler was intercepted by backup cornerback Jeremy Lane and Steven Hauschka kicked a 59-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter — a fitting conclusion to a discouraging half of football for the Bears.