Seahawks suffer season-ending 35-24 loss to Chicago Bears
The Bears scored 21 points in the first half as the Seahawks offense couldn't get going. Chicago will play host to Green Bay on Sunday for a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Seattle Times staff reporter
CHICAGO — Snow flurries and dropped passes. Missed chances and broken dreams. That was the story in Seattle's 35-24 loss at Chicago in the NFC divisional playoffs, and the fact that these Seahawks were never supposed to get this far didn't make this defeat go down any easier.
"We don't take just getting to this point as a consolation prize," safety Lawyer Milloy said. "I'm sure people want to hand that out to us right now, but we prepared to beat this team. It didn't happen. It sucks just like if we were the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and lost. It stings that much more."
Seattle entered the game as the ultimate underdog, the first NFL team in 28 years to reach the playoffs with a losing record. But Cinderella stubbed a toe on Chicago's frozen field and wound up unceremoniously bounced from the NFL's postseason party.
A victory would have earned Seattle the right to play host to Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, but the defeat turned out to be one sour chaser for the upset over New Orleans last weekend.
"Nobody likes this feeling," linebacker David Hawthorne said. "To be so close and have it all snatched away in a game where you feel like you didn't execute 100 percent."
Not even close.
Seattle's first eight possessions produced eight punts. The Seahawks trailed 28-0 before they got the ball inside the Bears' 40. Their running game — like their playoff run — hit an abrupt dead end in Chicago. Seattle finished with 34 yards rushing, fewer than all but one regular-season game.
"We let this one get away from us," safety Jordan Babineaux said. "And the Bears are not that much better of a football team than what the stats and the score say."
You could point to the 21 points the Seahawks scored in the fourth quarter as evidence they never quit. You could focus on the potential interception Babineaux dropped in the first quarter and wonder what might have been. You could even look at the numerous passes that bounced off the hands of Seattle's receivers and speculate at how this game could have turned out differently.
But this game really wasn't that close. Bears tight end Greg Olsen outgained Seattle's entire team in the first half, 113 yards to 96. Quarterback Jay Cutler not only outrushed Seattle's entire team, he scored twice.
Matt Hasselbeck performed well, passing for 258 yards and he was never intercepted, but Seattle's receivers were frustrated by the Bears' aggressive coverage.
"They challenged us, played real physical," Hasselbeck said. "Real grabby."
Seattle's top receiver, Mike Williams, caught four passes — two for touchdowns — but gained only 15 yards. In the first three quarters, Seattle didn't have a completion longer than 14 yards.
The Seahawks were beaten and they were battered. Tight end John Carlson and cornerback Marcus Trufant both suffered concussions and were taken to a hospital, and Seattle played portions of the game without a tight end at all because Cameron Morrah was fighting turf toe. Fullback Michael Robinson injured his ribs, Justin Forsett hurt his ankle, and Marshawn Lynch was limited to four carries by an injured shoulder.
In the end, it was all too much to overcome for Seattle, which was trying to win three games in a row for the first time all season.
"I would have loved to have got this game because so many people thought, 'You just couldn't do this,' " Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "And these guys believed they could. And it would have been a great statement to make."
Instead, the season ends with a question of just what to make of this Seahawks season, from the 4-2 start to the regular season to the 2-7 death spiral that spanned November and December before this Lazarus-like run that had the Seahawks feeling destined for greatness.
"It seemed like the stars were lining up," Milloy said. "All we had to go do was finish our business and then we'd be at home hosting an NFC Championship."
Instead, the Seahawks returned to Seattle on Sunday night, their plane loaded with disappointment.
"We didn't get it done," Milloy said. "The Bears were a better team than us today."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org