Monday, October 18, 2010

SEAHAWKS: Team goes "beast mode" in win over Bears

Beast mode. That's what Marshawn Lynch calls himself when he is running like a beast.

He and Justin Forsett epitomized the nickname as the Seahawks beat the Chicago Bears 24-21 at Soldier Field. This win was the team's first road win that was not against an NFC West opponent since 2007. But the Seahawks showed something that was much more valuable than anything a week 6 win could ever be.

The Seahawks finally have an identity.

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Mike Williams had 10 receptions. Matt Hasselbeck didn't throw an interception. Russell Okung looked like the next Walter Jones. Almost everything that could have gone right went right, which eventually resulted in a win.

The Bears didn't convert one third down the entire game, a testament to the 4-man rush that consistently got pressure on Jay Cutler. The Seahawks run defense was so good, Chicago only attempted 14 runs. The Bears threw in the running towel early and went straight to the pass, which was disastrous for Chicago because the Seahawks blitzed Cutler consistently knowing it would be pass. The Hawks sacked Cutler six times, and usually got those sacks at key moments, such as when Cutler was standing in his own end zone and got taken down from behind by Roy Lewis resulting in a safety.

On offense, it was the Marshawn Lynch/Justin Forsett show. The two former College teammates rushed for a combined 111 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch routinely was was the first and second down back, while Forsett was brought in on passing downs/third down. Lynch was the power, while Forsett was the flash and elusiveness. The Seahawks dominated the running game, which is the best way to win on the road and silence the crowd.

The passing game was just as good. Instead of doing any long bomb, throw caution to the wind plays, the Seahawks kept it simple. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates instead dialed up lots of slants, curls, and your typical West Coast offensive plays. It really brought back the memories of the Mike Holmgren era when the Hawks would slowly but surely go down the field in route for a touchdown.

But the thing that stood out to me is this. After the Bears won the coin toss, went down the field, scored a touchdown, and went up on the Seahawks 7-0, I was worried. Seattle last year in this situation on the road would have given up and probably have gone 3 and out.

Not these Seahawks.

Seattle drove down the field with authority, mixed the pass and the run masterfully, and scored on a Deon Butler 22 yard touchdown reception. Marshawn Lynch was determined, Matt Hasselbeck was accurate, and Mike Williams was playing like Randy Moss. That first drive set the tone of the game.

The Seahawks officially have an identity. They showed today on offense they want to be a running, physical football team with a little speed and finesse mixed. On defense they want to be a run stifling, bend but don't break unit. The Seahawks didn't know what they were last year.

They do now.

Reach Nathan Parsons at