Seahawks welcome Bears over likelihood of meaningless play

SEATTLE – – Realization of what has become of the season seemed to sink into the ever-optimistic Pete Carroll.

Barring a confluence of unexpected results over the next three weeks, it looks almost certain the Seattle Seahawks won’t go to the playoffs for just the third time in Carroll’s tenure.

“We’ll get over the issues and get back into the game and focus on the things that give us a chance, training well, studying hard, caring and loving this game,” Carroll said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get every drop of it out as we get here.”

This part of what appears to be meaningless games for Seattle begins on Sunday with the hosting of the Chicago Bears. It’s the conclusion of a brutally short week for the Seahawks (5-9) after their postponed loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Tuesday night and limited recovery time before facing the Bears.

But it’s also the week in which reality may set in for the Seahawks. Seattle is not officially eliminated from the playoffs, but could be as soon as kickoff on Sunday. The loss to the Rams ended a realistic path to the playoffs for a franchise whose minimum expectation is to reach the playoffs.

Only once since the arrival of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner in 2012 have the Seahawks played a meaningless regular season game that had no playoff implications.

“You’re looking for ways to improve towards the end and trying to figure out how to end the season the right way,” Wagner said.

The Bears (4-10) are in the same position to play the last few weeks without any stakes. Chicago being in that position was probably expected, unlike the downfall of the Seahawks which is among the league’s most unexpected results.

But as Seattle’s future struggles, the past few weeks are a chance for Chicago to learn more about its rookie quarterback and the growth Justin Fields can show over the past three. matches.

“When you’re on the pitch, every rep he gets will help him become a great quarterback and it won’t happen overnight this year, next year it will take a little while and he will continue to grow each year, ”said Chicago coach Matt Nagy. “But in the end it’s gonna be great because it’s gonna be really good.”

The past few weeks have seen flashes of what the Bears hope will be the future with Fields, mixed with the mistakes that amplify when a young quarterback is on a struggling team.

Fields sprained his ankle in the loss to Minnesota and said he intends to play against Seattle. If the ankle turns out to be more of a nuisance than Fields anticipated, the Bears have received a boost with Andy Dalton’s return to the reserve / COVID-19 roster this week.

“Right now I’m supposed to play, but it’s really day to day,” Fields said.

EARLY PREPARATION

As the Seahawks saw their game against the Rams postponed by two days, it allowed the coaching staff to start preparing for the Bears. Seattle had virtual meetings on Wednesday, but Carroll said the coaching staff already had the game plan in place for Chicago. He said the team wasted no time preparing for that point of view.

“The groundwork for things has put us back in a normal position when it comes to planning,” Carroll said.

HELLO MR QUINN

Chicago defensive end Robert Quinn has been a familiar thorn for the Seahawks for many seasons. In 12 career games against the Seahawks, Quinn has recorded 14 sacks, 38 total tackles, 21 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles.

Quinn is second in the NFL this season with 16 sacks and has had two in each of the last two games. He needs three in the last three games to tie his career high of 19 set in 2013.

DEFENSIVE LOCKING

The Seahawks continue to show every week that their defense is worthy of being considered among the best units in the league. Some of the numbers still lean sharply the other way – namely total yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed – but Seattle ranks very well in several key defensive categories.

The Seahawks are seventh in third defense, tied for fourth in defense in the red zone, and improved to fourth in the league in defensive scoring, allowing 20.1 points per game. Seattle held nine straight opponents 23 points or less.

FAMILY FACES

The game against Chicago means a return to Seattle for a handful of players who have been key players during their tenure with the Seahawks.

Most notable is tight end Jimmy Graham, who has played 43 games in three seasons with Seattle and recorded 170 receptions and 18 touchdowns.

“Jimmy was awesome. I loved coaching him,” Carroll said. “It was really fun playing with him. Huge expectations, it was always fun to deal with.”

Two others who played a big role in Seattle and are now with the Bears are right tackle Germain Ifedi and linebacker Bruce Irvin. Both were first-round picks for the Seahawks. Ifedi started 60 games in four seasons with Seattle, while Irvin also played his first four seasons (2012-15) and the 2020 season with the Seahawks.

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