Monday morning QB

Deon Grant

A look back and a look ahead at the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:

Anatomy of a 25-19 loss to the Bears at Qwest Field on Sunday

David Hawthorne’s opportunistic appendages: The second-year middle linebacker got his first NFL start because Lofa Tatupu was out with a strained hamstring, and all Hawthorne did was collect 16 tackles – the third-highest total in franchise history for a regular-season game. He ran down plays. He plugged gaps. He took on much-larger blockers and still made plays. Oh, and he also intercepted a pass. Not too shabby for someone who made the team last year as a rookie free agent.

Brandon Frye’s groin: It’s obviously connected to his heart, and his guts. Frye also made his first NFL start – at left tackle, because Walter Jones and Sean Locklear were out. Frye strained his groin in the first quarter, but had it taped up and finished what he started. He drew exemplary grades for his perseverance, and also did a pretty decent job against defensive end Alex Brown – who had two sacks in the Bears’ Week 2 upset of the Steelers

Nate Burleson’s big-play hands: Seneca Wallace, who was subbing for Matt Hasselbeck, threw to Burleson 12 times and he caught nine passes for 109 yards. Seven of his catches came during scoring drives. Five produced first downs, and two of those came on third downs. All this from a player who missed almost all of last season after tearing a knee ligament in the opener.

Julius Jones’ churning legs: So this is how the one-step-and-go running style is supposed to work in the new zone-blocking scheme.  Jones averaged 5.2 yards on 19 carries to finish with 98 rushing yards. He also scored the Seahawks’ only touchdown, by taking a short pass from Wallace and running through an attempted tackle on his 39-yard score. Jones ran with determination (he was stopped for negative yards only once), and he also made good decisions (he had runs of 20, 15, 16 and 14 yards).

Olindo Mare’s foot: The usually sure-footed Mare made four field goals, but he also missed two – both wide left from 43 and 34 yards. This from a kicker who missed only three field goals attempts all of last season.

The week ahead

This is beginning to play like a broken record (remember records?). But the focus of the week – other than the Colts – will remain which players might be healthy enough to actually play in Indianapolis.

The Seahawks played without eight injured starters against the Bears, and then lost two more as left guard Rob Sims strained an oblique and right cornerback Ken Lucas aggravated a groin injury.

Linebacker Leroy Hill (groin) will not play this week. Mora will update the balance of the injuries at his 2:15 p.m press conference today.

Not ideal, but real. As they did Sunday against the Bears, those players who are available will have to play as well as they can against a Colts team that presents problems on multiple fronts – from all-seeing QB Payton Manning, who threw four TD passes against the Cardinals on Sunday; to favorite targets Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, who combined for 14 receptions against the Cardinals; to spinning top of a pass- rusher Dwight Freeney, who had two sacks Sunday; to a defense that held the Cardinals to 10 points at home.


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Hawk Eyes

Here’s a Monday morning look at the coverage of the Seahawks’ 26-19 loss to the Chicago Bears at Qwest Field.

“Aaron Curry is starting to make impact plays for the Seahawks, like his strip-sack of Jay Cutler that led to a field goal and a 19-17 Seattle lead in the fourth quarter.”

  • Seattlepi.com, Greg Johns offers top quotes from the locker rooms.
  • heraldnet.com, Todd Fredrickson looks at David Hawthorne’s 16-tackle performance.

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Game at a glance

A recap of the Seahawks’ 25-19 loss to the Chicago Bears at Qwest Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Cole and Hawthorne

David Hawthorne. With apologies to Bears QB Jay Cutler, the Seahawks’ second-year linebacker definitely made the most of his first NFL start.

Stepping in for an injured Lofa Tatupu, Hawthorne finished with 16 tackles and also intercepted a pass. The only players in franchise history with more tackles in a regular-season game were Terry Beeson (18) in 1977 and Sammy Green (18) in 1978. Brian Bosworth had 17 in a playoff loss to the Houston Oilers in 1988. The last player with 16 tackles was Isaiah Kacyvenski in the 2002 season opener against the Raiders in Oakland.

You get the picture, we’re talking historic stuff here.

“He played great, I know that for sure,” rookie linebacker Aaron Curry said when asked about Hawthorne’s big day. “He was awesome out there, just being the leader that a (middle linebacker) has to be. Making the plays that he needed to make and I was excited to see him play so well.”

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The game-winner, of course. And that would be the 39-yard pass play that Cutler and wide receiver Devin Hester hooked up on with two minutes to play. It appeared the Seahawks had defended it well by blitzing Cutler and having cornerback Travis Fisher play Hester to the inside on the slant route. But Cutler threw the ball just behind Hester, who reached back to make the catch and took advantage of Fisher and strong safety Deon Grant running into one another to get into the end zone.

“He’s a threat when he gets the football, he can score at any time,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “And that’s what happened.”

Defense: The Seahawks had the lead, 13-7, and the ball to open the second half. Until, that is, Bears free safety Danieal Manning forced wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to fumble after he had taken a 5-yard pass from Seneca Wallace. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye recovered at the Seattle 42-yard line, and the Bears scored five plays later to take the lead.

“It was huge, and the defense did a great job,” Bears tight end Greg Olsen said. “Especially coming in after halftime and getting that early stripe. Our hats off to our defense for creating those turnovers.”

Special teams: The two field goals that the usually reliable Olindo Mare missed. Both were kicked toward the north end zone. Each was wide left. That’s a six-point swing in a six-point game.

“They were just bad kicks,” said Mare, who missed from 43 yards just before halftime and then from 34 yards midway through the third quarter. “I don’t know if I have ever missed two (in one game).”

Last season, he missed only three attempts all season.

PRE-GAME MOMENT

On Green Day at Qwest Field, the Seahawks came out in their new lime-green jerseys. But it wasn’t just the jerseys. They also wore pants that are darker blue and match the shoulders of the jersey.

“I liked them, man,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “Seneca (Wallace), he calls me ‘Mr. Flamboyant.’ I like bright colors and things that stand out. It was good. I like anything different. Change is good.”

IN-GAME MOMENT

Brandon Frye

Brandon Frye started at left tackle, because Sean Locklear and Walter Jones were out. Frye then strained a groin early in the game, but remained in the game because, well, the Seahawks had no other tackles active. The emergency plan was for guard Rob Sims to move outside, but he left the game in the third quarter with a strained oblique and did not return.

So Frye, making his first NFL start in his third week with the team, gutted it out – or groined it out.

“Hats off to him,” coach Jim Mora said. “He taped it up and he kept playing. He did a nice job. That’s a good football player he was going against (Bears defensive end Alex Brown). I thought he really fought hard, showed a lot of character doing that.”

POST-GAME MOMENT

Mare was near tears when talking to reporters after the game. He took the blame for the loss, and also some direct hits from Mora, who called missing two makeable field goals, “Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”

INJURY REPORT

The Seahawks started the game without eight starters – quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (rib), fullback Justin Griffith (rib), Jones (knee) and Locklear (ankle), linebacker Leroy Hill (groin) and Tatupu (hamstring) and cornerbacks Marcus Trufant (back) and Josh Wilson (ankle).

During the game, they lost Sims (oblique) and cornerback Ken Lucas (aggravated groin injury).

Sims will have additional tests to determine how long he might be sidelined.

But center Chris Spencer played for the first time since tearing a thigh muscle in the second preseason game; wide receiver Deion Branch (hamstring) also played for the first time during the regular season; and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf) returned after missing last week’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“As gloomy as I feel, I will say this to you: The sky is not falling. We are about to get some really good football players back playing football for us. We just have to weather the storm, and the way you do that is to hang in there together.” – Mora


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Fourth quarter

Seneca Wallace

The Seahawks cut the Bears lead to 17-16 on the third play of the final quarter as Olindo Mare kicked a 39-yard field goal. The kick capped a 13-play, 59-yard drive the featured three big pass plays on second downs – Seneca Wallace to Nate Burleson for 13 yards, to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for 13 yards and to Houshmandzadeh again for 14 yards on a play where the Seahawks wide receiver went up and took the ball away from Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.

The defense and special teams combined to allow the Seahawks to regain the lead with 5:12 to play. Mare kicked a 46-yarder to make it 19-17, but rookie linebacker Aaron Curry swiped the ball off the hand of Jay Cutler for a fumble-forcing sack that gave the Seahawks the ball when defensive lineman Cory Redding recovered the fumble at the Bears 39.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as Cutler passed to Devin Hester for a 36-yard TD with 1:52 to play. Hester made a reaching grab of the pass and then ran up the middle of the field for the score. The Bears stretched the lead to 25-19 as Cutler passed to Earl Bennett for the two-point conversion.

Cutler was 3 of 3 for 48 yards on the six-play, 71-yard drive.

The Seahawks had one last chance to win it, as Wallace moved them from their own 20 to the Bears 29. But his fourth-down pass was high to Jones.


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Third quarter

Nate Burleson

The Bears took the lead on their first possession of the second half, with more than just a little help from the Seahawks.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh fumbled a pass from Seneca Wallace on the second play of the half and Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye recovered at the Seattle 42. Jay Cutler then hooked up with running back Matt Forte for a 22-yard pass play to the Seattle 13. On third-amd-4, Johnny Knox took a pass from Cutler and reached to touch the pylon for a 7-yard TD. The Seahawks challenged the ruling on the field, but it was upheld after review.

The Seahawks missed a chance to regain the lead with 8:08 left in the quarter when Mare missed – wide left – on a 34-yard field goal attempt. The drive to the Chicago 16 was aided by two facemask penalties against the Bears and Wallace’s 24-yard pass to Nate Burleson.

Mansfield Wrotto took over at left guard during the drive, as Rob Sims had to go to the locker room with an injury to his left side.

The Bears got on the board again, and quickly, as linebacker Lance Briggs picked off Wallace’s ill-advised pass at the Seattle 14. The defense did it job, including a third-down sack by defensive end Patrick Kerney that caused Cutler to fumble. But tackle Chris Williams recovered for the Bears and Robbie Gould kicked a 37-yard field goal.


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Second quarter

Seahaws defense

The Seahawks held a 13-7 lead at halftime, as the Bears defense finally stopped the Seahawks after they had scored on their first three possessions and the Bears offense finally found the end zone – with less than two minutes remaining.

But the Seahawks also got on the board first in the second quarter, as Mare kicked a 37-yard field goal.

The Bears provided good field position – their own 47 – as Brad Maynard got off an 11-yard punt. Wallace then passed 20 yards to Burleson to the Bears 27 on third-and-10, and Burleson made a heads-up play in the end zone by ripping the ball from the grasp of Bears cornerback Zackary Brown to prevent an interception. That, after another Wallace-to-Burleson completion for 7 yards, put Mare in position to kick the Seahawks lead to 13-0.

Chicago finally forced a three-and-out, as linebacker Lance Briggs sacked Wallace on third down, and Cutler moved the Bears to the Seattle 1. The officials ruled that Matt Forte had fumbled at the 1, but overturned the play after a review because Forte was down by contact before the ball came out. Two plays later, on fourth-and-1, Cutler passed to tight end Greg Olsen for the TD that cut the Seahawks lead to 13-7 with 1:56 left in the half.

The Seahawks had a chance to up their lead just before intermission, but Mare was wide left on the 43-yard field goal attempt with 9 seconds left. The Seahawks got prime field position as Ben Obomanu returned the Bears’ kickoff 45 yards and then Wallace passed to tight end John Carlson (11 yards) and wide receiver  Deion Branch (7, his first reception of the season) before Julius Jones broke a 14-yard run.

David Hawthorne who was subbing for injured linebacker Lofa Tatupu led the Seahawks defensive effort with 11 tackles and an interception in the first half.


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First quarter

Julius Jones

The Seahawks came out in their new green jerseys and quickly took a 10-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.

The game started ominously for the Seahawks, as the Bears’ Johnny Knox took Olindo Mare’s kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 53 yards. Mare had to make the tackle, and grabbed Knox’s face mask in the process – tacking another 15 yards onto the return and giving the Bears a first down at the Seahawks’ 40-yard line.

But the defense held and Bears kicker Robbie Gould was well short on a 53-yard field goal attempt, so the Seahawks took over on their 43.

Instead, it was the Seahawks who scored first, as Julius Jones caught a pass from Seneca Wallace on third-and-19 pass and took it to the end zone – after running through an attempted tackle by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.

The Bears drove to the Seahawks’ 17 on their next possession, but middle linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted a Jay Cutler pass that went off Knox. Wallace then engineered an 11-play drive to Mare’s 46-yard field goal. Wallace passed to Ben Obomanu for 11 yards on third-and-8 and then for 16 yards to Nate Burleson on third-and-4.


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No Lofa or Walt

Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (hamstring) and tackle Walter Jones (knee) will not play today against the Bears.

They are among the Seahawks inactive players. The others:

  • CB Josh Wilson (ankle)
  • FB Justin Griffith (knee)
  • LB Leroy Hill (groin)
  • OT Sean Locklear (ankle)
  • DE Michael Bennett
  • QB Matt Hasselbeck

David Hawthorne will start for Tatupu, with Brandon Frye getting his first NFL start because Jones and Locklear are out. Kelly Jennings takes over at left cornerback for Wilson. Owen Schmitt gets the start at fullback for Griffith. Seneca Wallace will start at QB.

But, Chris Spencer will start at center – his first action since tearing a thigh muscle in the second preseason game – and DT Brandon Mebane returns to the lineup after sitting out last week with a calf injury.

Inactive for the Bears:

  • WR Juaquin Iglesias
  • WR Devin Aromashodu
  • CB DeAngelo Smith
  • CB D.J. Moore
  • LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
  • OG Lance Louis
  • DT Matt Toeaina
  • TE Desmond Clark

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Countdown to kickoff

Greetings from Qwest Field, where the Seahawks will indeed breakout a new look today. It goes beyond the lime-green jersey – or perhaps below is a better choice. The players also will be wearing darker blue pants, which match the shoulders of the new-look jersey.

The more pertinent question for this game: How many players are healthy enough to wear them?

Coach Jim Mora said Friday that he was at 44, and looking for the 45th. Everyone laughed, but he wasn’t kidding. That’s also why he was adamant all week about asking the 12th Man to come ready to help out his injury-ravaged team.

We’ll be back later with the inactives, but LB Leroy Hill, OT Sean Locklear and CB Josh Wilson already have been ruled out. It’s also unlikely that QB Matt Hasselbeck, MLB Lofa Tatupu and OT Walter Jones will play.


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Injury updates

Matt Hasselbeck

Jim Mora began his mid-week news conference with a lengthy rundown on an equally lengthy injury report, and a comment that shows the Seahawks coach isn’t letting the situation get him down.

“I thought what we could do is get the injury stuff out of the way and then if we have any time left for questions we can get to that,” Mora said.

Here are Mora’s updates on the injured players:

LT Sean Locklear: Out, with a high ankle sprain. He’ll be replaced by Walter Jones or Brandon Frye.

CB Josh Wilson: Out, with a high ankle sprain. He’ll be replaced by Kelly Jennings.

QB Matt Hasselbeck: Mora is not ruling out that he could play Sunday against the Bears, even if he can’t practice all week because of a fractured rib.

LT Walter Jones: He will practice today, and share reps with Brandon Frye, who filled in against the 49ers after Locklear went out.

C Chris Spencer: He’ll also practice, and also share reps – with Steve Vallos.

WR Deion Branch: He will practice and, if all goes well, play against the Bears.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh: He won’t practice today to rest his sore back, but he is expected to play Sunday.

FB Justin Griffith: He won’t practice today because of his sprained knee, but should be able to play.

LB Leroy Hill: He had surgery Friday on his torn groin and remains on schedule to return Nov. 1.

MLB Lofa Tatupu: Mora isn’t sure that he will play because the team does not want to risk increasing the damage to his strained hamstring.

DT Brandon Mebane:
He won’t practice today, but is feeling better after sitting out the 49ers game with a strained calf.

CB Travis Fisher: He is back and could take over as the nickel back.


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