CHICAGO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 23-17 overtime victory against the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. How to describe what the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback did against the Bears’ No. 3-ranked defense. Coach Pete Carroll used the work “exquisite,” and that definitely works.
Wilson completed 23 of 37 passes for 293 yards and also ran for 71 yards. But it wasn’t so much what he did as when he did it. Wilson directed a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that was capped by his 14-yard TD pass to Golden Tate with 24 seconds left in regulation. He then led a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime that ended with his 13-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice.
Wow, and double-wow. The passing yards were a season-best for Wilson, as were the rushing yards, and the 97-yard drive was the Seahawks’ longest of the year.
As good as Wilson had been in the past three games, he just seems to be getting better – and making his biggest plays at the most opportune times.
“Russell definitely doesn’t play like a rookie,” Rice said. “A lot of the wins that we’ve got are because of Russell. He’s able to get out of the pocket, scramble to make things happen. We’re glad to have him on the team.”
Added Tate, “Russell does everything perfect. I almost think he’s a perfect person, I really do.”
Wilson wasn’t exactly perfect on this day, but what he did on those last two touchdown drives was exactly what his team needed.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winning TD pass from Wilson to Rice, of course. It was a pass play the Seahawks setup with their effective use of the read-option running plays, as Rice duped cornerback Charles Tillman into thinking he was a blocker on the play.
“I came off the ball and made Tillman stop his feet, like I was going to block him,” Rice said. “As soon as he looked inside, I just beat him across the field, threw my hand up in front of me, Russ saw me, touchdown.”
But not without a little pain, and drama. Just as Rice was crossing the goal line, he took a shot to the head from safety Major Wright and lost the ball. The play was reviewed before the Seahawks had their game-winner.
Defense: The Bears were leading 7-0 and had driven from their 12-yard line to the Seahawks’ 15 early in the second quarter. On fourth-and-1, running back Michael Bush leaped over the middle of the line. But instead of getting the needed yard, he ran into middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and was stopped for no gain.
Special teams: Jon Ryan and Jeremy Lane were at it again. On the series following Wagner’s big fourth-down stop, the Seahawks were stopped. But Ryan lofted a 44-yard punt that Lane caught at the Bears’ 5-yard line.
Left guard James Carpenter reinjured the surgically repaired knee that forced him to miss the final seven games of his rookie season in the first half and did not return. He was replaced by John Moffitt, who helped the Seahawks rush for 176 yards.
“Something happened in his knee,” Carroll said. “So we protected him.”
The Seahawks also played without veteran linebacker Leroy Hill and veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant. Both were among the players named inactive, Hill because of the ankle he sprained in last week’s game against the Dolphins and Trufant because a hamstring began bothering him at the end of Thursday’s practice.
Malcolm Smith started for Hill and had two tackles. Walter Thurmond stepped in for Trufant, in his first action of the season after being activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list last month.
With 87 rushing yards, Marshawn Lynch had more yards against the Bears on Sunday than in his games at Soldier Field the past two seasons combined (85). He also scored his fourth touchdown in those three games, all Seahawk victories.
Rice (six for 99) and Tate (five for 96) just missed giving the Seahawks their first game with two 100-yard receivers since Rice (seven for 102) and Ben Obomanu (four for 107) did it against the Bengals last October.
Despite facing the Bears’ No. 3-ranked defense, the Seahawks compiled a season-high 459 yards. They also had 176 rushing yards, their fourth-highest total of the season; and 25 first downs, their second-highest total. Their three TD drives covered 94, 97 and 80 yards.
Wagner had a game-high 11 tackles, including the Seahawks’ only sack.
For the second consecutive game, Ryan’s average and net average on five punts were the same (39.6 yards). He also had three inside the 20-yard line.
With their seventh victory in their 12th game, the Seahawks have matched their win total from each of Carroll’s first two seasons.
The Bears’ Brandon Marshall had 10 catches for 165 yards, making him the fourth receiver to surpass 100 receiving yards against the Seahawks this season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The last drive in regulation, the 97-yarder in 12 plays, was just exquisite execution by the quarterback.” – coach Pete Carroll