Reversal of fortune for Seahawks
It had been weeks, months, since the Seahawks had fallen behind in the first quarter of a game and come back to win. Week 1 of this season...
Seattle Times staff reporter
It had been weeks, months, since the Seahawks had fallen behind in the first quarter of a game and come back to win.
Week 1 of this season, to be exact. In the opener, Seattle fell behind by six points after one quarter and rallied to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the Seahawks hadn't shown the ability to rally from a proverbial punch to the gut.
Until Sunday at Qwest Field.
In the first 6 minutes and 5 seconds, the Chicago Bears had scored the only 10 points of the contest. The Seahawks, though, instead of coming up short at the end, fought back and hung on for a satisfying 30-23 victory.
"You hate getting down, but when we do, we feel like we have enough horses that we can go and come back," said tight end Marcus Pollard, who caught a critical 20-yard pass on fourth-and-one early in the third quarter that led to a Seahawks touchdown. "Sometimes you need to get hit in the mouth to toughen up, and maybe the shot we took against New Orleans made us tougher ... where we can come back and handle situations like this."
Here's a refresher course from previous games:
Week 2: 3-0 first-quarter deficit at Arizona leads to 23-20 defeat.
Week 6: 7-0 first-quarter deficit at home against New Orleans leads to 28-17 loss.
And in Week 5, the Seahawks trailed 7-0 at halftime at Pittsburgh and never could score, losing 21-0.
But this time, the Seahawks (6-4) answered their opponents' opening statement and quickly shrugged off adversity.
Chicago led 7-0 on the second play from scrimmage when Cedric Benson burst for a 43-yard run. The Seahawks took the ball down the field with their first possession, only to have kicker Josh Brown miss a field-goal attempt wide left.
Benson rushed for 20 more yards on the Bears' second possession, the key play in a drive that led to the first of three field goals by Robbie Gould. After that, the Seahawks got going.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who played in discomfort much of the day because of back problems, zipped a pass to wide receiver D.J. Hackett on third-and-nine for 18 yards to Chicago's 36-yard line. The completion came out of the shotgun, a formation largely shunned by the Seahawks in the past but now one of their most effective tools on offense.
Four plays later, Hasselbeck found Hackett again for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
The Seattle defense also settled down. It forced three-and-outs twice in the second quarter, and then an unnecessary roughness penalty on a punt return helped Seattle set up a touchdown for a 14-10 lead. Running back Maurice Morris scooted 19 yards for his second touchdown in as many games.
The Bears (4-6) reclaimed the lead, 17-14, with 1:16 left in the first half, but the Seahawks got down the field for a tying field goal with 17 seconds left.
That set the stage for an exciting second half, as did Nate Burleson's 44-yard kick return to start the third quarter. But the Seahawks couldn't gain 1 yard on second and third downs on their first possession of the quarter.
Just before the fourth-down pass to Pollard, Hasselbeck told a fuming coach Mike Holmgren that the Seahawks could get the first down. Memories of the Seahawks' failure on fourth down at Cleveland that cost them that game came back, but Hasselbeck was able to assure his coach.
"I'm emotional at times on the sideline," Holmgren said. "I was having awful thoughts. And Matt came over and said, 'We don't want to punt this. We can do this.' He kind of brought me back to the world of the living."
Four plays later, on third-and-goal at the Bears 4, Hasselbeck avoided pressure and somehow got off a pass in Burleson's direction. Burleson made a difficult catch, absorbing a hit before the ball got to him but making the play. The Seahawks led 24-17.
The Bears were later stymied on a fourth-and-one after recovering a Hasselbeck fumble. Seahawks linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill stuffed Benson for no gain at the Seattle 25.
That play proved to be pivotal as both teams exchanged field goals and the score was 27-20 Seattle with 12:10 to play.
Then the Seahawks' pass rush turned up the pressure on Bears quarterback Rex Grossman. Darryl Tapp dropped Grossman for a 10-yard loss on third down. On the next Chicago possession, Patrick Kerney chased down Grossman and forced a fumble, which Tapp recovered.
The Seahawks got a field goal out of that, and hung on for the victory when safety Brian Russell batted an onside kick out of bounds with 13 seconds remaining.
"We just tried to stick to the game plan," Hasselbeck said when asked about the early deficit. "Get completions, move the chains, and guys made the plays that needed to be made when they had opportunities."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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