Three things we learned from Seattle's stirring comeback
Over the last three seasons, Chicago was 22-1 when it led after three quarters.
Make that 22-2 as the Seahawks scored touchdowns on their final two possessions to claim a comeback win that was the pretty strong demonstration of the resiliency it takes to claim a playoff spot after all.
That was just one of the things we learned from Sunday's game, though.
Three things we learned
1. Russell Wilson's preseason success wasn't a mirage, but an omen.
For the past five games, Seattle's rookie quarterback has played exactly like he did in August when he surprisingly won the Seahawks' starting job. Sunday's game - in which he attempted a season-high 37 passes and rushed for 71 yards -- stands as proof of Wilson's progress. He has caught up to the speed of a regular-season game and the complexity of the defenses, and the game is starting to slow down for him. He is able to not only see what opponents are trying to do, but he's capable of counter-punching to the point he left the entire city of Chicago scratching its collective head about what a rookie did to the vaunted Bears defense.
"They've been beaten by a kid quarterbacking one of the NFL's worst road teams. No, not beaten, pansted. Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson ran a college-like read option that pantsed Lovie Smith's defense."
-- Steve Rosenbloom, The Chicago Tribune
2. Seattle showed it's capable of overcoming adversity.
It wasn't just this week's scrutiny over potential suspensions to cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. It was more than just the constant questions about Seattle's enduring inability to win on the road. In the first half, Chicago fumbled twice, and twice a Seattle player emerged from the pile with the football only to have the officials award possession to the Bears. The Seahawks also had a touchdown catch overturned by a replay review in addition to several dubious penalties. After all that, Seattle had the starch to come back and score touchdowns on its final two possessions to win the game.
3. Seattle can play up to a higher level of competition.
The Seahawks are now 4-1 when facing an opponent who enters the game with a winning record, which might be the most remarkable fact about this team. It's the kind of thing that makes you think Seattle can not only reach the playoffs, but make some noise if it gets there if it has found a way to win on the road.
Three things we're still trying to figure out.
1. How the Seahawks allowed that 56-yard completion to Brandon Marshall?
Yes, Jay Cutler has an incredible arm. Yes, Marshall is a heck of a receiver. But allowing those two to play three-flies-up in the final minute was downright irresponsible by Seattle's defense, which had played pretty darn well up until that point. The Bears had the ball on their own 14 with 20 seconds left. Here are three words to keep in mind the next time the Seahawks have an opponent in that situation: Knock, it, down.
2. Why is Seattle's defense better on third-and-short than third-and-long?
It's the single most inexplicable thing about a defense considering the talent in the secondary with an incredible free safety in Earl Thomas and two cornerbacks playing at a Pro Bowl level in Sherman and Browner. On Sunday in Chicago, the Bears faced five third-down plays in which they need 10 yards or more for the first down. They converted three of them, which is enough to make you indict the whole defense until you see that Seattle stopped Chicago on three of the four third-down plays in which the Bears needed 3 yards or fewer for the first down, not to mention the fourth-down play in which Chicago needed half a yard and got nothing.
3. Where did Seattle's pass rush go?
Seattle was held to a single sack for a second consecutive week. Rookie Bruce Irvin has a total of one tackle over the previous two games, and it was an assist. Chris Clemons - who had seven sacks in the first six games of the year -- has one sack in the previous six games. If you're wondering why Seattle has a total of one takeaway in its past two games, that lack of pass pressure has a lot to do with it.