The Seattle Seahawks picked up a much needed -- and somewhat unexpected -- road win Sunday against the Chicago Bears. The win moved Seattle to 3-2 on the season and kept them in a tie for first in the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals -- just like everyone predicted before the season.
This week, the Seahawks return to the friendly confines of Qwest Field for a divisional matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona (3-2) had the week off last week and come into Seattle well-rested in a game to determine NFC West supremacy.
The biggest revelation last week was the emergence of a capable run-game, thanks in no small part to Marshawn "Beastmode" Lynch. The former Buffalo Bills running back came over in a trade during the bye week and made an impact. Lynch powered his was to 44 yards on 17 carries against the Bears and opened the running game for Justin Forsett. The Seattle Times' Danny O'Neil looked at how the combination of Forsett and Lynch made a difference for the Seahawks.
He thrived to start the game, gaining 24 yards on his first five carries, and then toughed out the final three periods, making the most he could out of what little opportunities were there. His hard-driving physical style was like a boxer's jab, persistent and forceful, which Seattle used to set up a quick hook, and in this case that was Justin Forsett, who found room running out of three-receiver sets and gained a season-high 67 yards.
Lynch's stats may not have been eye-popping, but he clearly made believers out of many Seahawk fans. A quick look at Twitter on Sunday revealed a plethora of #beastmode hash-tags in use.
The Seattle PI's Greg Johns also loved the thunder and lightning combination in the Seahawks backfield, noting that the Seahawks did plenty of damage against the NFL's third-ranked rush defense.
Seahawks fans had to love the Cal combo of Lynch and Justin Forsett, who carried 10 times for 67 yards. Forsett (AKA Junior Beast Mode) was the lightning to Lynch's thunder, a promising development for the future given the Bears brought in the NFL's third-ranked rush defense.
Even though the box score didn't show it, Field Gulls John Morgan says Lynch had a great game, helping both the Seahawks run game and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Even accounting for the Bears run defense, there's no way Lynch doesn't look lousy to the box score skimmers and fantasy schmucks of the world. But Lynch was beastly, and his ability to moderate loss and pound forward and pound forward and pound forward, opened space over the middle for Matt Hasselbeck. It's crazy, Matt didn't look a whole lot better, but check his line and Hasselbeck completed 25 of 40 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown, in Soldier Field, against a legitimately good Bears pass defense.
The Seahawks offensive line also saw an immediate boost from the return of rookie left tackle Russell Okung. The fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft was able to play the whole game and dominated Julius Peppers in the process. Field Gulls' John Morgan is officially in love.
Julius Peppers neared the Okie Black Hole and was crushed to atoms. This wasn't a "hey anyone notice Tyler Polumbus hasn't sucked balls?" kind of left tackle performance. This was domination, contribution, a pull block that created a touchdown, a clean pocket and pristine blind side, this was Okung battling one of the best pass rushers in the NFL on the road, and winning snap after snap. I love this kid.
The biggest mistake against the Bears came in the fourth quarter, when Seahawks punter Jon Ryan kicked to ever-dangerous Devin Hester late in the game. Hester immediately made him pay, taking the punt and racing 89 yards for the score. Ryan was injured in the process after Chicago's Earl Bennett laid a huge hit on him during the return, leaving the punting duties in flux this week (via The Seattle Times).
As for Ryan, there were no fractures detected after he was the recipient of a huge hit from Earl Bennett on Devin Hester's 89-yard punt return for a touchdown.
"We think Jon's going to be all right," Carroll said. "The docs thought he was going to be able to make it for the week. He's pretty banged up."
And how bout that Seahawks defense? Sacks, pressure all day, stout against the run and even a safety. O'Neil also looked at how the defense got so much pressure on Jay Cutler and the Bears.
That was one of six sacks Seattle had Sunday, its most in any game since September 2008. The temptation is to say the Seahawks threw the kitchen sink at Cutler. But that's not quite accurate, since it would imply that Seattle tossed an array of heavy implements at him. Truly, it was a steady dose of blitzing defensive backs.
Can the Seahawks build off their win over the Bears? We'll find out this weekend as they take on the Arizona Cardinals at 1:15 p.m. on Fox.