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Updated Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Seahawks defense in fourth quarter still a major concern

By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

CHICAGO — The Seahawks improved their run defense Sunday.

Their finishing touch could still use some work, though.

Seattle held the Bears to 17 points, eight below their season average. Three of those points, though, came as a result of the final 20 seconds as Chicago had the ball on its own 14 and Jay Cutler threw a 56-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on the first play to put Chicago in position to kick a field goal on the final play of the second half.

"It never should have happened," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

So how did it?

"We were in Cover Two," said cornerback Richard Sherman, who was outjumped by Marshall on the play. "He just found the hole and sat down."

Well, it was a little more complicated than that, starting with Cutler's ability to scramble away from Seattle's pass rush.

"Jason Jones had a got great shot at him," Carroll said. "He (Cutler) juked him and chucked the football."

Sherman was in coverage on the play, and safety Earl Thomas was near it, too, but Marshall outjumped everyone for the catch.

"It shouldn't have happened," Carroll said. "We had plenty of time. We had everybody back there. We had all that we wanted. That's a great play by them. That's two great football players beating you right there."

The Bears ran one more play after that long completion before bringing on Robbie Gould for the 46-yard field goal to force overtime on the last play of regulation.

The Bears finished with 132 yards rushing, but that total was a little misleading. Cutler gained 27 yards on his four scrambles. Ten of the 28 carries by Chicago running backs resulted in gains of 2 yards or fewer.

"All in all, we played really solid," Carroll said. "We were really aggressive."

The Seahawks also were vulnerable again at the end.

It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks defense lost a lead in the fourth quarter. Seattle led 16-13 with nine minutes left in the opener at Arizona only to have the Cardinals drive 80 yards for the winning touchdown.

Detroit and Miami each came back from fourth-quarter deficits to beat Seattle in the Seahawks' previous two road games.

In Chicago, though, Seattle's offense and quarterback Russell Wilson — along with the fact backup quarterback Matt Flynn won the coin toss — gave the Seahawks a victory despite the defense giving up that late lead.

"We had our stops, but we've got to finish better," Thomas said. "Hats go off to Russell and the offense, and all the players that were in on the key plays that ended in the result we had today."


DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Chicago's Earl Bennett (80) gets upended by three Seahawks, but still got into the end zone to open the scoring.




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