The Chicago Bears got the fast start they'd been missing all year. It still wasn't enough to overcome what Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did on the opposing side with the ball. Or running back Maurice Morris. Or wideout D.J. Hackett.
The Chicago Bears got the fast start they'd been missing all year.
Running back Cedric Benson ran like he's been expected to but hadn't been.
Quarterback Rex Grossman was on target most of the day without throwing an interception.
The Bears receivers made plays all day -- diving, one-handed, in traffic.
It still wasn't enough to overcome what Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did on the opposing side with the ball. Or running back Maurice Morris. Or wideout D.J. Hackett.
The Seahawks posted a 30-23 victory Sunday at Qwest Field in a game both desperately needed. Both teams played well, one just a bit better than the other in a matchup that originally was scheduled to be a prime-time night game that would have been good TV after all.
Seattle remains in the NFC West lead at 6-4; Chicago fell back in the wild-card pack at 4-6, twice as many losses as it had all of last year in a regular season that culminated in a trip to the Super Bowl.
The differences Sunday were subtle but telling. Chicago failed on a key fourth-and-1 run; Seattle converted on its own fourth-and-1 with a 20-yard rollout completion on the way to the go-ahead touchdown.
Chicago couldn't take advantage of the one fumble it recovered. Seattle turned the Bears' only fumble, by Grossman, into its final field goal and a 10-point lead.
"Disappointing loss," head coach Lovie Smith said. "We weren't able to hold the lead. We made some critical mistakes. Penalties (four false starts among six total) you know really hurt us. We talk a lot about takeaways. We weren't able to get enough today."
The Bears had hoped to build on momentum from last week's road trip and come-from-behind 17-6 win at Oakland. They also were trying to post their first back-to-back victories of the season.
Cornerback Charles Tillman acknowledged that 23 points by the offense normally would result in a win. That would have been the case the previous three weeks, but not against a quarterback who threw for 337 yards, two touchdowns and had a 106.0 passer rating.
"Just a little frustrating," Tillman said of the defense regressing for a day.
As for Hasselbeck, Tillman said what makes him "really good" is not just his arm.
"He's able to scramble and make a juke, so it is definitely frustrating when you are covering," he said. "But that is Matt Hasselbeck and that is what makes him good."
The first half ended 17-17 despite Chicago leading 10-0 after barely more than six minutes elapsed. Benson raced 43 yards for the first score 55 seconds into the game before Robbie Gould added a 31-yard field goal.
Hasselbeck hit Hackett from 19 yards out and Morris ran 19 yards to give Seattle its first lead at 14-10. Adrian Peterson ran 5 yards to put Chicago on top 17-14 before Josh Brown's 40-yard field goal finished the first half.
Hasselbeck bought time to find Nate Burleson on a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter for a 24-17 advantage. Gould hit a 47-yarder before Brown added 23- and 46-yard field goals. Gould's 48-yarder with 13 seconds left concluded the scoring, with the ensuing onside kick legally rolling out of bounds off a Seattle player.
"Offensively, I thought we did some good things," Smith said. "Defensively, we allowed too many passing yards."
Benson had 89 yards but only 11 carries. Grossman was 24-of-37 for 266 yards and an 86.1 passer rating. Bernard Berrian (9 catches, 72 yards) and Muhsin Muhammad (3 for 71) helped sustain drives.
But the Bears had difficulties defending Morris (87 yards on 18 carries) and Hackett (9 catches, 136 yards). Former Bear Bobby Engram added eight receptions for 84 yards.
"It was a tough loss," Grossman said. "We got an early lead on them and made a lot of good plays. But we didn't score enough points in the second half. For whatever reason, we didn't finish our drives in the second half and that came back to bite us."
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.