The Seahawks continued a season-long theme of struggling to finish close games, losing a 10-point second-half lead on their way to a 25-24 loss to the Chicago Bears. Here are five rapid reactions to the loss, which drops the Seahawks’ record to 5-10 and officially eliminates them from playoff contention:
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1. Once again, the Seahawks couldn’t finish.
In what has been a reoccurring theme for the Seahawks this season, they were in a game late, but whether it was miscues on offense or an inability to get stops on defense, they were unable to close out a winnable game.
The Seahawks led by 10 late in the third quarter after Russell Wilson hit Gerald Everett for a 24-yard touchdown, but after the Bears drove for a field goal, the Seahawks responded with a drive that could have extended the lead back to 10, but after Wilson was sacked on third-down, Jason Myers missed a 39-yard field goal.
The Seahawks still led by 7 when the Bears took over with 2:56 left needing to go 80 yards, and they were able to do so quickly, scoring on a six-play drive that was capped by a Jimmy Graham touchdown, then a 2-point conversion to give the Bears the lead.
The Seahawks got the ball left with 1:01 left, but the drive didn’t get far, in part due to a pair of penalties, one hold and one false start. And the end result was yet another one-score loss in a season full of them for the Seahawks.
2. A defense that has been so good this season couldn’t get the stops it needed.
While a lot has gone wrong for the Seahawks this year, they’ve been a very good defensive team for most of the season, and came into the game ranked fourth in scoring defense. But after holding nine straight opponents to 23 or fewer points, including five to fewer than 20, the Seahawks saw that streak end against a Bears team down to its third-string quarterback, and for much of the game its third-string left tackle.
The Bears were particularly good on third-down, going 7 for 14, including several conversions of third-and-8 or longer, a big reason why they had a huge advantage in time of possession (38:25 to 21:35). The Seahawks were also unable to record a takeaway against a Chicago offense that had committed 10 turnovers in its past three games.
3. Rashaad Penny had another big game.
It’s been a tough four years for Rashaad Penny, a former first-round pick whose career has been marred by injuries. But in what, depending on what happens this offseason, could be his final few games as a Seahawk, Penny is putting together an awfully impressive finish to the season. Since taking over the starting role with Chris Carson and then later Alex Collins dealing with injuries, Penny rushed for a career-best 137 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Texans two weeks ago, then on Sunday he had another big game with 135 yards and a score on 17 carries.
Just as significant as the yardage for Penny is the fact that it was his fourth consecutive game with 10 or more carries, and third straight start without any apparent injury issue. For a player who has struggled to stay healthy, stacking healthy games to close the season is big for Penny heading into free agency.
4. Carlos Dunlap II and Rasheem Green are finishing the season strong.
Aside from an impressive first season from Darrell Taylor, it has been a quiet season for Seattle’s pass rush, but over the past few weeks both Carlos Dunlap II and Rasheem Green have been putting together some strong games to close out the season.
Dunlap, who had just 1.5 sacks through Week 14, had three last week against the Rams, then added two more against the Bears on Sunday, one of which caused a fumble, though the Bears were able to recover.
Green also added two sacks, giving him 3.5 in the past three games.
5. Bobby Wagner made history.
With a tackle late in the third quarter, linebacker Bobby Wagner put his name in the Seahawks record books yet again. Or more accurately, he replaced his own name. Wagner’s 10th tackle of the game Sunday was the 168th of the season, breaking the single-season record of 167 he set in 2016.