Assessing how our guesses of how Monday's game might turn out, and passing on a few observations along the way.
We take a close look at what Bob Condotta thought would be the keys to the Seahawks-Bears game, versus what actually ended up happening.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
WHAT I SAID: Seattle RT Germain Ifedi vs. Chicago defensive end Khalil Mack.
WHAT HAPPENED: Mack had a nice night with five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, and the way the Seattle offense played for most of the night nobody won their individual matchups. But it sorta felt like this could have gone worse for Seattle than it did — maybe that’s because Mack set such a high bar with his performance against Green Bay or maybe just that the offense had so many other issues that one matchup didn’t necessarily stand out that much above the rest. If nothing else, it can’t get harder from here for Ifedi even if DeMarcus Lawrence will present another tough challenge Sunday.
WHAT I ALSO COULD HAVE SAID: Seattle running game vs. the Bears’ front seven.
The Seahawks went into the game saying they wanted to get the run going more than the previous week against Denver. It didn’t happen as the Bears allowed just 3.4 yards per carry and the frustrated Seahawks went 14 straight plays from the second quarter until the beginning of the fourth quarter without attempting a run.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
WHAT I SAID: Seattle linebackers Mychal Kendricks/Austin Calitro and Shaquem Griffin.
WHAT HAPPENED: Seattle got better play than it might have had a right to expect from Calitro — who was making his first start in what was only his second NFL game — and Kendricks, who signed with the Seahawks on Thursday. The two keyed a run defense that allowed the Bears just 3.2 yards per carry and other than one early run kept the scrambling of Mitchell Trubisky in check (Chicago’s tailbacks had just 43 yards on 18 carries). Griffin, though, didn’t see the field at all after his struggles in the opener against Denver. Kendricks played 54 of 66 snaps while the Seahawks covered the other 12 snaps with a three-safety look in which Tedric Thompson played free safety and Bradley McDougald essentially played weakside linebacker with Earl Thomas basicaly working as a slot corner.
WHAT I ALSO COULD HAVE SAID: RB Chris Carson.
The thought was Carson was going to start and then have a chance to take the ball and run with it. It looked like that might happen early when Carson got the ball on the first three plays of the game, with runs of 9, 2 and 2 yards. But then he curiously got just three more carries the rest of the game — and none after the 11:51 mark of the second quarter. Coach Pete Carroll said later that Carson was “a little gassed from working on special teams and helping us.’’ But Carson played just two snaps on special teams and 19 on offense — he had played 25 offensive snaps and six special teams snaps the previous week against Denver, making Carroll’s explanation also seem a little curious on the face of it.
COACHING DECISION TO WATCH
WHAT I SAID: How committed does Seattle stay to the run?
WHAT HAPPENED: Yep, we’re spending a lot of time discussing the running game. But when a team spends its first-round pick on a running back and then most of the offseason talking about wanting to recommit to the run, it’s a hard topic to ignore. The Seahawks had just 16 runs, and 14 by tailbacks, in 55 plays at Denver and both Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer then said that wasn’t nearly enough. As noted, Seattle made an effort early — the first three plays were runs as were five of the first 10, netting Seattle 19 yards. But then the run mostly just disappeared with the Seahawks finishing with 22 runs on 64 plays, a pass-run ratio of 65 percent that wasn’t much off the 70 percent of the Denver game. Obviously, the Seahawks might be doing it more if they were doing it better — Seattle’s average of 3.6 yards per carry is 27th in the NFL and worse than the 4.0 of last season.
WHAT I SAID: Seattle’s brilliance on Prime Time under Carroll. The Seahawks are 22-4-1 in Prime Time under Carroll and is 7-1 on Monday night.
WHAT HAPPENED: The brilliance and the magic was lacking in Chicago as the Seahawks fell behind early and never led.
WHAT I COULD ALSO HAVE SAID: Michael Dickson’s punting.
The Seahawks had a net punting average of 57.5 in the opener in altitude in Denver, which some called one of the best punting performances in NFL history. You figured a return to sea level would mute those numbers some and indeed, Dickson averaged 45.1 yards per punt — with the 10-yard shank in the second quarter obviously bringing the number way down — and a net of 36.9 that was below the 38.8 Seattle had last season.
WILD CARD PLAYER WHO COULD SURPRISE
WHAT I SAID: Receiver David Moore.
WHAT HAPPENED: Moore didn’t have a pass thrown his way in 20 snaps, 30 percent of all the snaps on offense. So yeah, I misread that one. With Doug Baldwin out I thought maybe Moore — who is basically the fourth receiver for now — might get a few passes thrown his way and make a play or two, as he did in the preseason. But Moore has had just one target and no catches so far this season, and while I don’t want to say yet that the preseason is the preseason and always needs to be kept in perspective when it comes to Moore, this was a game screaming for someone off the radar offensively to come through. Instead, with Seattle stuck at just 80 yards through the first three quarters, there was nothing to really get excited about offensively.
WHAT I COULD ALSO HAVE SAID: MLB Austin Calitro.
Calitro had to play extensively against Denver at a position he had not really worked at much during camp — weakside linebacker, moving there after the injury to Wright to work behind Shaquem Griffin. Back at the MLB spot where he worked all of the preseason, Calitro looked far more comfortable and finished with a game-high-tying eight tackles.
WHAT I SAID: Third-down conversions — Seattle was 2-12 against Denver in week one.
WHAT HAPPENED: The Seahawks were 2-10 through three quarters against Chicago before finishing 5-13. The latter number seems okay — the Bears were just 5-12. Obviously, the first number is not. Seattle’s total for the season of 7-25 is fourth-worst in the NFL ahead of only Arizona, Dallas and Buffalo. If there’s any silver lining there, Dallas and Arizona are the next two teams on Seattle’s schedule.
WHAT I COULD ALSO HAVE SAID: 22
The number of Seattle rush attempts. Okay, so we are really belaboring this point. But a team that said it wanted to get back to the run and is without its number one receiver has 38 rush attempts for the season — only three teams in the NFL have fewer, Arizona, Detroit and New Orleans, who are a combined 1-5.
WHAT I SAID: Chicago 24, Seahawks 16.
WHAT HAPPENED: Chicago 24, Seahawks 17.
Okay, so sometimes you get a feel about a game and get it right. What I have to admit, though, is I sort of thought the game would evolve a little differently than it did, that the Bears would get 24 points by gaining 400 or something yards against a beat-up Seattle defense while the offense would have some issues with the Bears’ defense but might make a few big plays along the way. Instead, the Seattle defense overcame the injuries to turn in a vastly-improved performance from week one, allowing just 271 yards, while it was the unlikely sight of a Wilson pick six — just the second of his career in the regular season — that turned the tide for good.