The one ominous note was a hamstring injury that sidelined running back Marshawn Lynch in the second half, limiting him to five carries for the game.
For roughly 22 minutes Sunday, you were free to wonder if the real Seahawks were ever showing up this season.
Consider that with just 8:26 left in the first half, the Chicago Bears had outgained the Seahawks 95-33. But from that point on, the Seahawks outgained the Bears 338-51 en route to a 26-0 win in the regular-season home opener in front of a CenturyLink-record crowd of 69,002.
“It took us a while,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
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But they eventually got it done with a quick finishing kick that meant much happier grades for a Seattle team (1-2) finally looking like itself.
It was a somewhat different-looking offense for the Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch, battling both a balky back and calf, missing the first two series while getting loose. He then sat out the second half because of a sore hamstring. His five carries were the fewest he has had in a regular-season game since being traded to the Seahawks in October 2010.
That meant an offense revolving instead around tight end Jimmy Graham and undrafted rookie tailback Thomas Rawls, as well as the escapability and playmaking of Russell Wilson.
Wilson was sacked four times by a Chicago defense that didn’t have any in the first two games. Protection remains an issue for a young offensive line, though Wilson a time or two looked like he could have gotten rid of the ball quicker.
The Wilson-Graham connection was in full force throughout, which the Seahawks hope is an indication of things to come. Wilson went to Graham on the first offensive play of the game, and the tight end finished with seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Rawls, meanwhile, became the first Seattle tailback other than Lynch to go over 100 yards since Robert Turbin did it against Arizona in 2012, finishing with 104 yards on 16 carries. Rawls got more than a few after contact and helped Seattle average 5.5 yards per carry compared with the 4.3 of the first two games of the season.
It’s worth recalling, though, that the Bears ranked 30th in the NFL in defense last year and came in allowing the most points in the NFL in the first two games. Tougher tests for the Seattle offense await.
The Seahawks knew the Bears, playing without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, would try to run, run and run it again. And for a little while the Bears had some success, with 75 yards on their first 17 attempts. The Bears, though,would get just 23 more on 10 carries the rest of the way in never moving past the Seattle 45-yard-line.
Bears backup QB Jimmy Clausen, now 1-11 as an NFL starter, couldn’t do anything through the air with just one pass all day that went longer than 10 yards.
Certainly, though, you can also chalk up some of the defensive dominance to the Seahawks again having strong safety Kam Chancellor running things in the back end.
“It’s just continuity with Kam,’’ cornerback Richard Sherman said. “A lot of things don’t need to be said, especially at home. It’s more continuity and savvy and chemistry with us. When you haven’t played with guys sometimes you have to verbally communicate and get those points across and if you miss those consistently you are messed up. I think some of that came back today.’’
Special teams were pretty much the difference in this one early, as a trick punt return set up Seattle’s first score and Tyler Lockett’s kickoff return helped break the game open.
Lockett was sprung down the sideline on a good block by Ricardo Lockette (among others) and then went basically untouched for a 105-yard kickoff return to start the second half, the longest return in Seattle history.
The Seahawks effectively pulled off some trickery early, using the same play the St. Louis Rams did against them last year to set up Sherman for a 64-yard punt return. On the play, the Seahawks faked as if they were setting up Lockett for a return to the right side of the field, but the ball went to Sherman on the left.
He got to the Chicago 19-yard line to set up Steven Hauschka’s 31-yard field goal to open the scoring. That was the first of four field goals for Hauschka, who is 8 for 8 this season.