What was that clicking sound? The Seahawks, in all three phases

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Coming off a 41-14 victory over the Chargers in their preseason home opener, the Seahawks picked up where they left off on Friday night by handing the Bears a 34-6 loss at CenturyLink Field.

Where to begin with just how impressive the Seahawks’ performance was on Friday night?

At the beginning, of course, as Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff against the Chicago Bears 46 yards to get the Seahawks headed in a dominating direction in the final home game of the preseason – and also the final extended stint for the starters before the Sept. 4 regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

“To watch Percy Harvin start off the game the right way, that’s what you want. That’s what you have him for, just to be able to make plays like that,” quarterback Russell Wilson said with a smile. “It looked like the Super Bowl all over again, almost.”

The last time Harvin returned a kickoff, he went for 87 yards and a touchdown to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 26. Friday night’s return wasn’t as long, and the stakes not as high, but it was a portent of what is to come during the regular season.

“Everybody is focused right now, in all phases,” Harvin said. “Guys are taking their jobs tremendously serious right now – in the meeting room, on the practice field. Guys are competing so hard that when it comes to the games it’s been easy.”

The Seahawks still have to play their preseason finale on Thursday night against the Raiders in Oakland, but what they did against the Bears at CenturyLink on Friday night was a statement even louder than the one they made in last week’s 41-14 romp over the San Diego Chargers.

“I thought the way we played tonight was exceptional,” Wilson said after another impressive outing when he completed 15 of 20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 23 yards and another score. “I thought on the offensive side of the ball we really clicked – the timing, the rhythm. I thought we were great on third down, great in the red zone. We’re really starting to put things together.

“Defensively, watching those guys go out there and play against a very, very good offense and stop them the way they did, that was pretty exciting.”

And this was a three-phase free-for-all.

The No. 1 offense scored on each of its five first-half possessions, and just missed making it six for six when Steven Hauschka’s 53-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright on the first series of the second half. The Wilson-led unit scored on each of its five red-zone possessions and overall the offense converted 10 of 14 third-down situations.

The No. 1 defense shutout the Bears, as their field goals came late in the fourth quarter. Nickel back Jeremy Lane intercepted a pass at the Seahawks’ 2-yard line and returned it 41 yards to setup Hauschka’s 59-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

In addition to Harvin’s kickoff return and Hauschka’s 59-yarder, the special teams also contributed a 59-yard punt return by All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas to the avalanche of big plays.

“They’re as ready as I can get them right now,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked if the starters where regular-season ready. “We did just what we wanted.”

Just as they did against the Chargers last Friday night. In their two home preseason games, the Seahawks outscored one team that barely got into the playoffs last season (the Chargers) and one team that was barely denied a postseason berth (the Bears) by a combined score of 75-20.

“We’re playing beautiful football,” Thomas said. “We know we’re not going to play next week that much. But at the same time, by human nature, you’ve still got to prepare like you’re going to play. Everything is coming together right on time. It’s just fun to be around.”

So it was as fun as it looked? “A lot of really fun things happened tonight,” Carroll said. “We’re just trying to keep marching forward here.”

The Seahawks’ four touchdowns came from four different players – Marshawn Lynch, who had a 7-yard run for the first score, and his first three carries of the preseason; Wilson, who also scored on a 7-yard run in the first quarter; wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who caught a 12-yard pass from Wilson in the second quarter; and running back Christine Michael, who caught a 7-yarder from Wilson in the second quarter.

The returns by Harvin, Thomas and Lane setup scores. The defense held the Bears to three conversions in 11 third-down situations.

“They are a good team,” Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff said. “They have a great quarterback with great poise and speed. He’s aware of the rush, with his eyes always downfield. It was a great job by him. It was a great test for us to play him.”

A test the Seahawks passed, and the Bears did not.