Kam Chancellor was back after his 54-day holdout, and so were the Seahawks, looking like themselves for the first time this season in a 26-0 victory over the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field.
When the Seahawks gathered around strong safety Kam Chancellor before pregame warmups — the first time they had met on the field as a team Sunday before the game against the Chicago Bears — he didn’t really say anything special.
“Nothing different than what we always say,’’ cornerback Richard Sherman said. “It’s a hype speech. A bunch of ‘Arrrghhhh.’ A bunch of rah-rah-rah to get you hyped. But guys felt what he had to say.’’
That was business as usual, though, which was sort of the point.
Chancellor was back after his 54-day holdout, and so were the Seahawks, looking like themselves for the first time this season in a 26-0 victory over the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field.
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There was the defense recording its first shutout since Dec. 15, 2013 against the New York Giants, allowing just one first down in the second half against a Chicago team forced to go with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback to replace the injured Jay Cutler. Chicago punted after each of its 10 drives, which has to be some sort of record.
There was a special-teams unit that has proved in every game to be more dynamic than it was a year ago, breaking the game open with Tyler Lockett’s 105-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
And there was an offense that got off to its traditional slow start before getting jump-started with a drive using the no-huddle right before halftime. That led to a dominating second half when the Seahawks gained 246 of their 371 yards, and 121 of their season-high 159 on the ground.
“It’s just great to kick the season off in the right direction,’’ said linebacker K.J. Wright, who like most of the rest of Seattle apparently preferred to forget the first two games of the season, both defeats.
The offense turned to a few new faces — tight end Jimmy Graham and tailback Thomas Rawls — to get it done, which spoke to the fact the Seahawks are evolving on that side of the ball.
“It’s not smooth yet,’’ coach Pete Carroll said of the offense. “It’s not how we want it to be. It’s a work in progress, and we know we have a lot of plays we can get and playmakers out there.’’
For once, though, the main non-quarterback playmaker on offense wasn’t Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch, bothered all week by a calf injury, missed the first two series. Carroll said, “He had a hard time getting loose today.’’
Lynch then sat out the second half because of a hamstring injury. Carroll said: “There is nothing to be alarmed about.’’
Still, the injuries seem to be piling up for Lynch, who at 29 is the age when tailbacks often begin to decline. It’s too early to conclude that. But it’s not too early to wonder if the Seahawks’ days of counting on Lynch to carry them game in and game out might be closer to the end than the beginning.
The obvious silver lining in that scenario was the play of Graham and Rawls.
Graham, after a week of controversy regarding how the team has used him, had a season-high seven catches for 83 yards and scored Seattle’s offensive touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Russell Wilson in the third quarter.
“It’s real exciting that that (the impact Graham can make on the offense) really showed up,’’ Carroll said.
Rawls, an undrafted rookie, had 104 yards on 16 carries.
It was the promise Rawls showed in the preseason that helped compel the team to trade Christine Michael to Dallas. Still, Carroll said you never really know for sure what you have in a young player until he shows it in a game.
“Really didn’t get a good feel in the preseason,’’ Carroll said. “But today it was really evident he could be a factor and help us out.’’
The team knew that about Lockett, who already appears to strike fear in opponents and has almost single-handedly revived a special-teams unit that a year ago proved a disappointment.
“I think as long as our special teams keeps playing like that we will always give ourselves a chance,’’ said Sherman, who chipped in with a 64-yard punt return on a trick play in the first quarter that set up a field goal.
And then there was the again Chancellor-infused defense.
Chancellor echoed the theme of the day, saying “It felt normal being back out there playing with my brothers.’’
He received a hearty ovation during pregame introductions.
“I wasn’t worried. I know we have loyal fans,’’ Chancellor said.
He played regularly throughout, on the field for 36 of 46 snaps, saying later he could have played another game if needed.
A Seattle defense that came in allowing 6.0 yards per play compared with 4.6 last season allowed just 3.2 to the Bears.
“Guys played fast, he played fast,’’ Sherman said of having Chancellor back. “I think guys were in better position. I think he gave a spark of energy. I think it was more disciplined, sound football today.”
And if there had been too much talk about business such as Chancellor’s contract until now, the Seahawks hope they are simply again back to business as usual.
|Charting the offense|
|The Seahawks’ offense has been OK in all three games but showed marked improvement in Week 3 against the Bears. Ten different players caught at least one pass against Chicago.|
|Game||Avg. yds per rush||Avg. yards per reception||Total yards|
|at St. Louis||3.9||7.8||343|
|at Green Bay||4.8||10.8||324|