BY Art Thiel 12:13AM 08/23/2014

Thiel: O-line together, Seahawks tear apart Bears

Explosive plays and a more stout line inspires the thought that the Seahawks offense can carry the team. Should the defense want a Sunday off, which seems unlikely.

Russell Wilson was in full command against a respectable Bears defense. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

We are all adults here, mostly. We know it’s exhibition season. Yet . . . the Seahawks scored on all four first-half possessions the past week against the Chargers, and scored on all five first-half possessions Friday night at the Clink against the Bears. That added up to 55-0.

Either the rest of the NFL is falling back, or the Seahawks are running away.

The third-fake-game dress rehearsal suggested, at 34-6, that the Seahawks are ready to skip the set-up acts and go directly to the third act. In particular, the offense’s diversity seemed to baffle the Bears defense, often finding itself way more than a step late.

“I thought our offense tonight was exceptional,” QB Russell Wilson said. “We put it together tonight. Being explosive is what we want to do. We can throw so many exciting players out there. Makes it kinda tough to beat us.”

The explosive plays were entertaining but, in the big picture, were secondary to the evening’s prime accomplishment. The unglamorous, weakest link came out strong — LT Russell Okung, LG James Carpenter, C Max Unger, RG J.R. Sweezy and rookie RT Jason Britt were healthy and together for the first time this preseason. It showed what was possible.

Against a Bears defense purported to be respectable, the line helped deliver seven third downs on seven attempts in the half. They weren’t perfect in pass protection — Britt was beaten for a sack of Wilson, and escaped other sacks as only he can — but the impression was of a group more capable of asserting itself.

The second possession of the evening was a beauty of 89 yards in 11 plays. After RB Marshawn Lynch in the first drive had three carries and 16 yards, including a seven-yard score, he retired for the night and turned over the rush to backups Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

Turbin had three carries, Michael two and Wilson was 3 for 5 in the air, all completions for at least 16 yards. On third and goal at the Chicago 7, the Bears forgot to keep an eye on Wilson. He strolled out of the pocket into the end zone without a defender in his zip code. The drive even overcame Wilson’s lone sack, a nine-yard loss when DE Willie Young beat Britt.

“I had a learning experience out there,” said Britt. “It’s good it’s happening now. I’m feeling more comfortable each week.”

The progress of Britt and his linemates was crucial in making the offense grow as effective as the defense, which had to carry more than its share last season. Nearly all on offense have responded in the past two games.

“I’m thrilled with what we saw, both last week and this week,” Carroll said. “The first week, I don’t know what that was. Tonight we did just what we wanted. A lot of really fun things happened tonight.”

Among them was a 46-yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin — “it was almost like the Super Bowl, almost,” Wilson said — a 60-yard punt return by Earl Thomas — “everything I touch turns to gold,” he said, grinning — and a 41-yard return by SS Jeremy Lane of an interception that thwarted the Bears’ best shot at a touchdown.

That set up perhaps the most over-the-top moment of the evening. With 15 seconds left in the first half and ahead 28-0, the Seahawks eschewed the taking of a knee, picked up 16 yards on two plays and had Steven Hauschka slam a career-long 59-yard field goal as time expired.

If Jim Harbaugh had been on the other sideline, he may have been moved to inquire, “What’s your deal?”

It’s part of the Seahawks’ ethos: Leave no doubt.

Another part of Carroll’s fun was seeing Harvin’s lightning shock the shape out of the Bears defense. He caught three passes for 61 yards and sent yips throughout the Chicago side every time he lined up.

“He is,” said Unger, “a helluva weapon.”

In fact, the difference in team speed was palpable on nearly every play.

“We got a lot of it,” said Harvin. “That’s the one thing with this team. They scout it. They brought so much talent. We know as long as we come out here and do what we’re supposed to do, we just let Russell sit back there and pick his poison.”

Another matter the Seahawks have established in the past two games is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a Super Bowl hangover.

“It’s a lot of distractions out there,but we’re not letting that get in our way,” Thomas said. “We’re playing beautiful football right now. From the first group to the second group, guys are just coming into their own.

“The way we are in practice, we’re bringing that same person to the game.”

With a line healthier and receivers faster, it’s possible to see an offense that can indulge the defense an off-game or two. That wasn’t imaginable last season, but suddenly is a reasonable goal for an unreasonably good team.

 


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YourThoughts

  • Big

    Team speed the best in the NFL. Well coached players = the best players on the field. A QB who plays within the system and when necessary makes good things happen on the fly. Fun first half to watch.

    • art thiel

      Seems so easy, doesn’t it?

      • Bayview Herb

        Ask me in January.

  • Jaimie Drew

    Chicago throws a swing pass to Brandon Marshall and 4 Seahawks are right on him for a 1 yard gain! Their defense is so fast to the ball! It’s great to watch. Russell looks like he is having fun and he’s one hell of a QB! This is very encouraging! Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      The team speed is remarkable. All opponents seems collectively slower.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Our offensive guys have fun watching the defense and vice versa. It sets up their collective success.
        Team speed on both sides of the ball = brilliant wins like this one. I bet As Bennett was lapsing into sleep last night i Bet he mumbled thank you big fella for swaying me from taking that extra cash from Chicago. Im not A bear , thank god! He is one of my favorite players so i am thrilled too.This has the makings of being the most enjoyable to watch Seahawk season in history.

      • Bayview Herb

        Not only faster, but meaner, too.

  • R D

    I keep thinking these other teams must just be bad teams because we look great, but from everything I read they are decent teams. Seahawks are very, very fun to watch and barring any major injuries should have another great year. I do wish that the schedulers had done a better job regarding the 49ers games. All of the the division games should be spaced out so you play them at the beginning and the end of the year and not both at the end of the year a week apart.

    • art thiel

      The schedule is the toughest thing the Seahawks will have to overcome. Super Bowl hangover? Nah.

      • Bayview Herb

        I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that the Seahawks will not only repeat, but dominate and decimate.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Its not going to be this way every game this season with the brutal schedule Seattle has but it really did give you that warm feeling of dominance we enjoyed watching them in the Super Bowl…with Pete singing my guys are better than your guys on the sideline.
    This one gives you hope they can come close to matching a marvelous 13~3 season and gaining that crucial home field advantage in the play offs. The post game show is always so fun to listen to and the guys were just gushing about all things offensive(and some defensive love too) which is prudent when our team has scored at will not to mention you held what is suppose to be a good Bears team to two field goals.
    To borrow a Peteism….We knocked the snot outta them.

    • art thiel

      If they pull off home field again in the playoffs, it will be a magnum feat, given the schedule. But it looks increasingly as if they managed to upgrade the roster despite the predations of free agency, age and injury.

  • RadioGuy

    As a Green Bay fan, I have to admit I’ll be pulling for the Packers in Game 1 (I hate it when my boys play the Hawks because they’re my number 2 team…there is no number 3), but hope Seattle goes 15-and-0 the rest of the way. A little optimistic, maybe, but these guys looked VERY good last night. A Super Bowl repeat is very realistic. Who’s going to beat them?

    • art thiel

      Probably someone in the NFC West, although it seems increasingly less likely it will be the Niners. Keep in mind that the division rivals know Carroll and Wilson well enough to counterpunch.

    • Bayview Herb

      Yur in the wrong stadium my friend, but I’ll reciprocate and root for the packers the rest of the way, unless of course we cross paths with them again.

      • RadioGuy

        I’ll be watching this one from home, Herb, but I’ve got a ticket to see the Bears at Lambeau in November. Go Hawks (after Thursday)!

  • T.O. (the good one)

    Sorry I don’t like the Packer’s chances against Seattle. And since the Niners are out along with Arizona (lost their defense this week) as well as the Rams (lost their offense this week} I don’t see any more competitors. Maybe the Broncos. Probably not.