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Seahawks' season ends in loss to Bears
Snow flurries and a fired up Bears team proved too much for Seattle, as Chicago controlled the game through most of three quarters, and held on for a 35-24 NFC semifinal playoff win at Soldier Field.
The NFC North champs scored on their first possession, led by the steady arm of quarterback Jay Cutler, making his professional post-season debut. The Bears offensive line protected Cutler all afternoon, leading to a 28-0 margin in the 3rd quarter.
Seattle's offense sputtered through the first half, hurt by dropped receptions, and the Bears defensive line. Trailing 28-3, the Seahawks made something of a comeback in the 4th quarter, but were never close to challenging for the lead.
Sportspress Northwest's Steve Rudman reports:
Seattle’s offense did little against the Bears until it was way too late. The Seahawks, who had averaged 131 rushing yards per game in their previous two victories, managed just 26 yards in the first half as their leading runner turned out to be wide receiver Golden Tate, who ran once for 13 yards.
Seattle suffered two serious injuries to key players. Tight end John Carlson was taken off the field in the first half after suffering a head injury following a catch. In the second half, cornerback Marcus Trufant took a knee to the neck and head area, and was also carried off the field.
Chicago's Cutler passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Hasselbeck threw for three touchdowns and 258 yards, completing 26 of 46 passes.
The Seattle Times reports the end of the Seahawks' up and down season sputtered to an end:
It was a rather inglorious conclusion to Seattle's unexpected postseason run, and just a little unexpected. While Seattle was the largest underdog in the playoffs for a second consecutive weekend, the Bears were the one playoff team that Seattle beat during the regular season, winning in Chicago 23-20 on Oct. 17.
After the game, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the end was disappointing, but the team had learned a lot this season. "The finish of this season is a statement of where we've come."
Chicago will meet Green Bay for the NFC championship and a Super Bowl berth.
Sports with Art Thiel