The home opener. It just doesn't have the same ring as opening day. Especially when your team is sitting at 0-2 coming into the game. Fortunately for the Seahawks, the visiting Chicago Bears were also winless, and in a much worse way than the hometown eleven.
Even though the Seahawks had yet to win a game, I entered the stadium fully prepared for the Seahawks to dominate. It was slow to develop, but dominate they eventually did. They were in both of their first two games and actually had the lead in the 4th quarter in both. Rather than being winless, they also could have been 2-0.
But that wasn't the case. The other teams made the plays in the first two games rather than the Seahawks. Making the plays when they count has been the hallmark of this team the past few years. It just didn't happen in the first two games this year.
I was eagerly anticipating seeing the Legion of Boom back in action. When they introduced the defense, the ovation for Kam Chancellor was thunderous.
The game went predictably for the defense. The Bears' ineptitude on offense was easily visible, with backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen basically being contained by his own coaching staff. It was as if they didn't trust him to throw the ball. Attempting only 17 passes (22 drop-backs) despite trailing the entire game is very indicative of the reluctance of the Bears' coaching staff to trust Clausen to control the game.
While the Bears ran the ball semi-effectively in the first half, their complete lack of any passing attack doomed their offense to an incredible statistic: 10 possessions on the day, 10 punts. The Bears only ran three plays in Seahawks' territory the entire game. That, my friends, is defensive domination. And while it is impressive, I still take it with a grain of salt given the opponent.
Marshawn Lynch was questionable, and as it turns out, was still in the locker room at kickoff. Rookie Thomas Rawls started, and gave way when the Beast returned. Lynch eventually was removed from the game, allowing Rawls to shine. The rookie ran for 104 yards on 16 carries, and looked good doing it. Aside from dropping a pass while wide open in the flat, Rawls impressed on every level. It is apparent why Rawls was kept on the roster.
The team's first score was the result of a "fake punt return" on which Tyler Lockett feigned chasing the ball towards the left sideline, drawing the Bears' coverage team that direction, while Richard Sherman actually fielded the punt and returned it 64 yards. The return set up Steven Hauschka's first-quarter field goal, staking the Hawks to an early 3-0 lead.
The offense as a whole struggled early, managing only 51 yards and one first down before the two minute warning at the half. That's when everything changed. The offense moved down the field quickly, traveling 77 yards over the final 2:37 of the half, resulting in Hauschka's second field goal to make it 6-0 at the half.
At halftime, the Seahawks' celebrated their 40th year of existence with the return of a number of alumni of the blue and green. It was a nice treat to see so many of our favorites from yesteryear present for the opener. As the players were introduced alphabetically, I especially enjoyed the W's, seeing four great Seahawks running backs in succession: Curt Warner, Chris Warren, Ricky Watters, and John L. Williams. Seeing Dave Krieg sandwiched between our three Hall-of-Famers (Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy, and Steve Largent) was nice, too.
Fans that weren't back in their seats for the start of the second half may wish to reconsider their halftime breaks on the concourse. Another rookie, Tyler Lockett, returned the second half kickoff a franchise-record 105 yards for a touchdown, cruising untouched the entire way. It was the rookie's second return touchdown on the year, the other coming on a punt in the first week of the season.
That play totally swung the momentum in the second half. The Bears' offense never mustered more than 14 yards on any drive in the second half, while the Seahawks' offense started clicking.
Russell Wilson connected with newly-acquired tight end Jimmy Graham on a 30-yard pass over the middle for the Seahawks' second touchdown of the day. That play capped a quick 7-play, 85-yard drive that effectively ended the contest midway through the third quarter.
The Seahawks defense continued holding the Bears to three-and-outs, and the offense continued driving the ball on their following two possessions, each resulting in field goals.
While Chancellor's return didn't bring the "Boom" back to the Legion thereof, the defense was stifling. I look forward to more of the same the rest of the season while I cheer this team on towards their third consecutive NFC Championship. And hopefully their second Super Bowl victory.
The all-time record attendance of 69,002 12s packed CenturyLink field during the home opener versus the Chicago Bears.