Tarvaris Jackson's second-half turnaround powers Seahawks victory
For the past six weeks, Seattle has relied upon the run, while Jackson has been the bus driver whose job is just to keep the whole operation on the road. That changed in the third quarter Sunday.
Seattle Times NFL reporter
CHICAGO — Somebody turned off the lights on Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
That's not a commentary on the Bears' defense, nor is it a criticism of the Seahawks' first-half offensive performance Sunday. It's what actually happened as Jackson stood at the podium for his postgame interview — the lights clicked off mid-question.
"Say it again," Jackson said immediately after the lights came on. "I got kind of distracted."
It was fitting postscript to Seattle's 38-14 victory, given the Seahawks' distinct lack of electricity on offense in the first half, and the fact Jackson was ready once the lights came on in the second half.
Of all the turnarounds Seattle made Sunday, Jackson's might have been the most important. In the first half, Seattle's quarterback was as forgettable as the rest of the offense. He completed 4 of 12 passes for 51 yards. He completed only one pass of more than 15 yards. And he held on to the ball too long in his own end zone, leading to a fumble and Chicago's first touchdown.
The Bears were leaving only one safety deep, determined not to let Marshawn Lynch run over them, basically betting that Jackson wouldn't beat them.
In the second half, he did. He completed 15 of 19 passes and threw for a touchdown. Jackson, who was not intercepted for the third consecutive game, threw for 176 yards after halftime, rendering Lynch's 42 total rushing yards into a statistical footnote.
"He is throwing the ball really well," coach Pete Carroll said of Jackson. "He's completing almost everything we're calling."
That's not to say he's perfect. He is prone to holding the ball too long in the pocket, a tendency that cost Seattle seven points in the first half. The Seahawks had the ball on their own 1 and faced third down, and left tackle Paul McQuistan had a one-on-one matchup against the Bears' Julius Peppers.
Jackson waited too long, hoping for a receiver to come free, allowing Peppers to reach him and force a fumble. Israel Idonije recovered for the score.
"I've got to do a better job of getting the ball out," Jackson said. "I felt like I was protected, and I wanted to try to make a play. In that situation, just got to be smart and try to get it out."
For the past six weeks, Seattle has relied upon the run, while Jackson has been the bus driver whose job is just to keep the whole operation on the road.
That changed in the third quarter Sunday. With the Bears playing a more aggressive coverage scheme, the Seahawks looked to push the ball downfield more aggressively.
After not completing a single pass of more than 30 yards in any of his past three games, Jackson had two such completions among Seattle's first four plays of the second half. The first was a 33-yard gain to Golden Tate on third down, followed immediately by a 43-yard pass to Ben Obomanu against man-to-man coverage.
"We opened it up a little bit more," Jackson said.
Just like that, the lights came back on for Seattle's offense.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.
About Danny O'Neil
Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog.
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