Red Bryant and the Seattle defense made it a tough second half on the Chicago Bears and helped the Seahawks pull away to a convincing 38-14 win Sunday.
Bryant returned an interception 20 yards for the go-ahead TD in the third quarter – one of four picks by the Seattle – and the Seahawks kept their faint playoff hopes alive.
Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie was hit hard on the play by K.J. Wright and threw the ball right into Bryant’s arms as Seattle (7-7) scored two touchdowns in a 50-second span early in the third quarter to take control.
Brandon Browner returned another interception 42 yards for a TD in the final quarter as the Seahawks outscored Chicago 31-0 in the second half. Seattle had four sacks and also a fumble recovery.
Marshawn Lynch added two touchdown runs for Seattle. Tarvaris Jackson finished 19 of 31 for 227 yards after going 4 of 12 for 51 yards in the first half.
Chicago (7-7) lost its fourth straight and played most of the game without wide receiver Johnny Knox, who was carted off the field after injuring his back while scrambling for a fumble early in the game.
Knox’s injury was the latest setback for the Bears over the last month. Quarterback Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and running back Matt Forte (sprained knee) have been sidelined and this week receiver/special teams player Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges and subsequently cut by the team.
Jackson came out on the first possession of the third quarter and drove the Seahawks 80 yards. He hit a 33-yard pass to Golden Tate, who broke two tackles on the play, and then hooked up on a 43-yarder to Ben Obomanu, setting up Lynch’s 3-yard TD run to tie the game at 14-14.
Seattle got a 33-yard field goal from Steve Hauschka and then iced the game early in the fourth on Jackson’s 2-yard TD pass to Michael Robinson, a score set up by Leon Washington’s 36-yard punt return.
Hanie, who has struggled mightily since Cutler was hurt Nov. 20, kept his feet moving, stepped to the side of the pocket and bought enough time before delivering a 25-yard TD pass to Kahlil Bell with just under two minutes left in the half for a 14-7 lead.
Knox grabbed a pass from Hanie four minutes into the game and lost the ball when Kam Chancellor knocked it out of his hands. As Knox made a diving attempt to retrieve the ball, he was hit hard by Seattle’s Anthony Hargrove during the scramble. Earl Thomas eventually recovered for the Seahawks at the Bears 23.
Knox remained on the ground for several minutes while he was being attended to before he was put on a stretcher and wheeled off the field with what was announced as a mid-back injury. He put his hands to his face and moved his arms while on the stretcher and got an ovation as he was taken off the field.
Jackson then passed to Cameron Morrah for 21 yards to the Bears 1 and from there Chicago’s defense dug in, throwing Washington and Lynch for losses. Lynch caught a short pass on third down and Hauschka came in and kicked a 22-yard field goal.
But the Bears’ Corey Graham was called for a leverage penalty on the play for hopping on the back of a teammate to try and block the field goal attempt, and the penalty gave the Seahawks a first-and-goal from the 2. Lynch then scored on first down- his 10th straight game with a TD – and Seattle had a 7-0 lead.
Later in the opening quarter, Jackson tried to throw from his own end zone but the relentless Julius Peppers hit his arm, the ball popped loose and Israel Idonije recovered for a Chicago touchdown. The play was reviewed and upheld and the Bears had tied the game.