The takeaway for the Seattle Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll in his team’s 38-14 win over Chicago was not the impressive win on the road, but the way they got it – scoring 31 unanswered points in the second half, with folks at Soldiers Field streaming for the exits early in the fourth quarter.
“It is a big deal,” Carroll said. “We’ve played these guys now three times, and to get them twice and really get them well two times – we’ve beat them pretty good the two times here – that’s really exciting. Unfortunately that darn snow game ain’t going away. We missed that one.
“But it is important. We put this to rest. It’s not a big deal going to the middle of the country and playing a football game at 12 o’clock. It’s been a problem for a lot of teams.”
Still, at 7-7 with two games left against NFC West division opponents San Francisco at home and Arizona on the road, Carroll said he’ll keep his players in check.
“We’re going to be humble about it,” Carroll said. “The last thing we’re going to do is be cocky about it. But it’s just exciting to see these guys latch on to the ability to play late in the season and late in games and finish football games.”
Carroll announced that receiver Mike Williams suffered a broken ankle in the second half, meaning he’s done for the remainder of the season. Linebacker Malcolm Smith suffered a head injury and did not return. And receiver Golden Tate suffered an abdominal injury early in the second half but returned.
With Williams out, the Seahawks only have five healthy receivers on the active roster.
Lynch top 1,000 yards: Carroll did not know that running back Marshawn Lynch surpassed 1,000 yards today. Lynch finished with 42 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns. He has 1,011 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year.
Lynch also broke a franchise record for touchdowns in consecutive games previously held by Shaun Alexander by scoring a touchdown in his 10th straight game.
“It is significant,” Carroll said. “It’s for everybody. It’s not just for Marshawn. It’s for the offensive line. It’s for the offensive staff. It’s just a marker that we all live by that we love to have on our side.
“I think more special than that is the fact he’s scored so many games in a row, and he holds that record with the club. That’s the consistency of a really good football player, and a committed team to him as well.”
Browner sets franchise record, too: Brandon Browner also made some history. Seattle’s first-year cornerback notched his six interception of the year and returned his second for a score in the second half, a 42-yard return for a scored to complete the scoring. Browner set a franchise record for return yardage in a single season 220 yards, passing Dave Brown, who finished with 179 interception return yards in 1984.
The Seahawks finished with four interceptions and a forced fumble on the day, converting those turnovers into 21 points. And none were more impressive than defensive tackle Red Bryant, who corralled his second career interception in the second half when linebacker K.J. Wright pressured Chicago quarterback Calebe Hanie into a bad throw, rumbling 20 yards for his first career touchdown.
“Got me a little “Prime Time” in,” Bryant said. “I didn’t get the walk like him, but just being a kid watching Deion Sanders do it and getting the opportunity to get a touchdown – that’s a fat kid’s dream right there.”
Halftime adjustment: The Seahawks made two key adjustments that helped them win the game in the second half.
The first was on defense. Seattle did a better job of containing Hanie and not allowing him to scramble and distort the defense once he dropped back to pass.
“They just zoned us out,” Hanie said. “They played eight in the box and zone us out the whole first half it seemed like. We moved the ball well. We didn’t really get any sacks until the end of the first half on a ball that I was just eating it.
“We ran the clock out from there. At the end of the game, it wasn’t that big of an issue. I was running around, but it was more of coverage.”
Offensively, Carroll said one of the adjustments his team made at halftime was to get the ball more on the perimeter in the passing game.
Part of the reason for Seattle’s struggles offensively in the first half is they were backed up most of the time. In the second half the Seahawks were more aggressive in pushing the ball down field. The result was Tarvaris Jackson finishing 15 of 19 for 176 yards and a touchdown in the second half. It could have been even more if Jackson could have connected with a wide-open Ben Obomanu on a seam route for score in the final quarter.
After playing awful in the first half, including a fumble that resulted in a Chicago score, Jackson played much better in the second half.
“He’s throwing the ball really well,” Carroll said. “I just wish he hit the darn seam route to put the topper on it. It was a great call by Darrell (Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) to get the guy open, and he got a little excited.”
Johnny Knox update: Chicago Bears receiver Johnny Knox suffered a scary injury at the beginning of the game.
After Knox caught a pass over he middle for 17 yards on Chicago's second drive of the game, Seattle safety Kam Chancellor stripped the ball and Earl Thomas came up with the recovery.
While still on the ground, defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove ran into Knox, who was stretched out awkwardly trying to recover the fumble. Knox suffered a back injury and remained on the field for several minutes.
Chicago team doctors strapped Knox in on a back brace and he was carted off the field.
Chicago head coach Lovie Smith said that Knox has total movement throughout all of his body and use of all of his extremities. Knox suffered a lower back injury and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, where he remained overnight.