Sure, the Seahawks won Sunday, but remember they beat the lowly Bears. There’s still a lot to fix and plenty for fans to worry about.
The memories — they’re all coming back to you.
You remember what it’s like to see the Seahawks win, something you hadn’t experienced in more than nine months. You remember what it’s like to watch the Legion of Boom at full strength, something you feared may never occur again. You remember what it’s like for Seattle’s defense to dominate, its offense to drive, and its special teams to dazzle.
But before you open that brand-new box of Cubans, there’s one other thing you should remember: This all happened against the Bears.
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Not to go fun police on everyone, but the Seahawks’ 26-0 win over Chicago on Sunday had a significance rating of meh. Such a rout may have played big in Jacksonville or Tampa, but not here in the Emerald City.
BEARS AT SEAHAWKS »
All that was proved in Seattle’s’ home opener is that it would run the table in the Pac-12 or SEC. Sure, you can say that the Hawks (1-2) ended their losing streak — but you still can’t say they’ve beaten anyone.
As of now, the Bears’ 46 points scored are behind only the 49ers’ 45 for the fewest in the NFL. The 105 points they’ve given up, meanwhile, are 12 more than any other team in the league. Chicago was also forced to start quarterback Jimmy Clausen — who has notched just one career NFL victory — in place of injured Jay Cutler.
In other words, the Seahawks’ success on either side of the ball really comes down to how you interpret the inkblots.
If you want to, you could say that the return of strong safety Kam Chancellor has catapulted this defense back into football’s top tier. You could look at Clausen’s 21.9 total quarterback rating, his team’s 146 net yards, and the fact that the Bears never passed Seattle’s 45-yard line, and declare this D impenetrable.
Yeah, you could do that. But you could also admit that, before last week, you didn’t even know Jimmy Clausen was still in the league.
The truth is, Aaron Rodgers — one of the two best quarterbacks in the game — carved the Seahawks up for 249 yards passing one week earlier in Green Bay. And Nick Foles — a somewhat-better-than-average NFL quarterback — dropped 297 yards on Seattle en route to a 34-31 win the week before that.
Is it possible that the Hawks do, in fact, have a vastly improved defense with Chancellor suiting up? Absolutely. But in reality, Clausen offers no more evidence of that than a groundhog does weather patterns.
Having said that, posting a shutout in the NFL should spawn praise no matter the opponent. The same is true of going four quarters without a turnover, which the Hawks did Sunday.
Still, despite Seattle hanging 26 points on the scoreboard, did you really walk away from that game confident in the team’s offense?
Before kickoff — and granted, we’re only three weeks in — Chicago had yet to tally a quarterback sack this season. By game’s end, the Bears had sacked Russell Wilson four times, putting him in a tie for tops in the league with 12.
And had it not been for a 105-yard kickoff return by Tyler Lockett — not to mention a trick play on a first-quarter punt that led to a field goal — the Hawks would have been limited to 16 points. And when you’re lined up against Chicago, 16 points is an appetizer at best.
Some fans will point to tight end Jimmy Graham’s seven catches for 83 yards Sunday and shout “See, they figured out how to use him!” And they might be right.
Others will note how third-string running back Thomas Rawls racked up 104 yards on 16 carries and shout “We found the future!” And, well, you never know.
But you have to think that most fans are more concerned with the fact that 29-year-old Marshawn Lynch, who has suffered calf and hamstring injuries this year, has just 128 rushing yards through three games. Those 12s aren’t thinking about the bang-up job Lynch’s backup is doing — they’re thinking about the banged-up condition of their aging star.
Now, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll emphasized last week, his team is just a couple of plays away from being 3-0 with two fantastic road wins. And with Graham in the lineup, and Chancellor back on the field, it’s possible that this group has never been more talented offensively or defensively.
But it’s also possible that Beast Mode is breaking down, that the O-line is plateauing, and that the defense is a looooong way from secure.
The Seahawks’ next game is Monday night against the Lions, who, at 0-3, are one of the most disappointing teams in the league. Even so, barring injuries, Detroit will be a far more legitimate test than the Bears.
Fans got a whiff of those good memories at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. But if Seattle can’t make it two in a row — this could be a season to forget.