CHICAGO — Darrell Jackson put his best foot forward despite a sore toe that hurt before he took his first steps in Sunday's game.
After the Seahawks' 27-24 loss to the Bears, it wasn't just his foot that hurt, but the lost opportunity to advance to the NFC Championship Game.
"We should have won the game easily, I think," Jackson said. "Some calls went against us, some calls we didn't get. We shot ourselves in the foot sometimes."
Jackson caught four passes in the first half; the rest of the team had five. Jackson had 49 yards receiving in the first half; the rest of the team had 43.
"I don't think their secondary can handle our wide receivers," Jackson said. "We're a better team than them, I think, but they made a lot of good plays out there. Rex [Grossman] didn't turn the ball over too much. It just didn't go our way."
Jackson didn't catch a pass in the second half, but he was able to finish the game after having to pull himself out of last week's victory over Dallas.
Hand it to Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, he wouldn't let on if a first-half hit from Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson aggravated the injury to his non-throwing hand.
"I got the wind knocked out of me," Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck was in obvious pain after the play and several teammates appealed for a personal-foul penalty. It appeared Johnson, a former Washington Husky, was trying to run downfield and not aiming to run into Hasselbeck, but he knocked the Seahawks quarterback over. Hasselbeck remained on the ground and punched the grass with his throwing hand.
Hasselbeck suffered an injury to his left hand during the team's victory over Green Bay, which was Hasselbeck's first game back from a knee injury.
Seattle's secondary, which held up so well in the playoff victory over Dallas, showed some flaws Sunday.
Start with the Bears' first play from scrimmage in the second quarter when Grossman threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian. Rookie cornerback Kelly Jennings was in coverage, but the key to the play was Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who ran a crossing route underneath. Grossman said he saw Seattle's free safety, Ken Hamlin, slow down in anticipation the ball was coming to Muhammad.
"He settled his feet just a little bit," Grossman said. "And that's all Bernard needs to get by."
The other critical play was the 30-yard completion from Grossman to Rashied Davis in overtime.
Difference of opinion
Julian Peterson heard the reaction on the field.
He just wished the Seahawks would have had an opportunity to get a second look after the ball came loose from running back Cedric Benson in overtime.
"We had three [officials] say, 'White ball,' " and one guy say, 'He's down,' " Peterson said. "We should have at least been able to challenge that or something."
That wasn't the only complaint the Seahawks had. Peterson cited a first-half hit by Leroy Hill on Grossman in which Grossman's arm was coming forward and the ball came loose.
"He straight-up fumbled," Peterson said. "They called it incomplete. I didn't understand that."
Shaun Alexander was asked if he was going to convince his fullback to return for his 14th season.
"I've been doing it for two years," Alexander said. "I'm a good debater."
Mack Strong hasn't yet decided if this season will be his last. Asked which way he was leaning in the locker room, Strong said, "As for right now, I want to come back. That's been my intention. But at the same time, I'm getting to the point where I've got to evaluate every year. I've got to start thinking about my body and my future.
"I'm 35. I've got to start thinking about, 'Hey, how many more years can I do this?' "
When the Seahawks lost Strong twice to stingers during the game, the call went to tight end Will Heller to be the team's blocking fullback.
Heller caught three passes for 20 yards, tying his game high this season. He'd been used at fullback during the season, but not for an extended period.
A farewell to Robbie
The official statistics packet listed Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck under the "Did Not Play" heading.
And so marked the end of Tobeck's playing days, as he confirmed his plans to retire following the game. After 13 NFL seasons, a Pro Bowl and more one-liners than perhaps anyone else in the Seahawks' locker room, Tobeck is moving into the insurance-brokering business full time. He paused to reflect on his career while standing outside the visitors' locker room at Soldier Field.
"I was 50-50 last year on whether I was going to retire or not," Tobeck said. "I still had a little bit of a fire in my belly. I probably made it [his decision] at some point in the offseason. As the season has gone on, it just more and more told me it's time for me to step away."
Wistrom gone wild
Grant Wistrom recorded 11 tackles in five December games. He made up for lost stats on Sunday, tallying seven tackles — six solo — a quarterback hurry and a sack.
"He played his best game this year," Seahawks defensive end Bryce Fisher said of Wistrom. "He played his ass off. He doesn't play a whole lot in the nickel, and he still made a bunch of plays. He's meant a lot to me the last few years."
Better than Hester
The Bears' Devin Hester may be the one going to the Pro Bowl, but the Seahawks' Nate Burleson was the better return specialist on Sunday.
Burleson averaged 27.7 yards on six kickoff returns, including one for 41 yards. Hester gained five yards on three punt returns and 53 yards on three kickoff returns as the Seahawks tried to kick away from him.
Hester also bobbled three returns and was fortunate enough to recover each one. He had a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown nullified by penalty.
Burleson also scored a touchdown on his only catch of the day, a 16-yarder.
• WR D.J. Hackett's sprained ankle didn't allow him to play Sunday.
|Seahawks on the playoff road:|
|The Seahawks won their first playoff game away from home, but haven't won another. The Seahawks' playoff history outside of Seattle:|
|Dec. 31, 1983
||Miami, AFC divisional game
||Seahawks 27, Dolphins 20|
|Jan. 8, 1984
||Los Angeles, AFC Championship
||Raiders 30, Seahawks 14|
|Dec. 29, 1984
||Miami, AFC divisional game
||Dolphins 31, Seahawks 10|
|Jan. 3, 1988
||Houston, AFC wild-card game
||Oilers 23, Seahawks 20 (OT)|
|Dec. 31, 1988
||Cincinnati, AFC divisional game
||Bengals 21, Seahawks 13|
|Jan. 4, 2004
||Green Bay, NFC wild-card game
||Packers 33, Seahawks 27 (OT)|
|Feb. 5, 2006
||Detroit, Super Bowl
||Steelers 21, Seahawks 10|
||Chicago, NFC divisional game
||Bears 27, Seahawks 24 (OT)|