By Curtis Crabtree
SEATTLE — Playing without Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears were shutout for the first time since 2002 in a 26-0 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.
Jimmy Clausen managed just 63 yards on 9-of-17 passing in place of Cutler as the Seahawks defense — playing with Kam Chancellor for the first time this season — shut down the Bears attack.
It was the first time the Bears have been shutout since a 15-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Dec. 29, 2002. Henry Burris and Cory Sauter were the quarterbacks that day for the Bears.
Special teams issues also hurt the Bears for a second straight week. After David Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown last week for Arizona, Tyler Lockett returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a Seahawks’ record 105-yard touchdown to give Seattle a 13-0 lead.
Seattle also caught the Bears napping on a punt return as Lockett acted as a decoy and drew the coverage to one side of the field as Richard Sherman fielded the punt and returned it 64 yards to the Bears 19-yard line.
The Bears committed heavily to the running game with Clausen under center as the Bears managed to hang with Seattle through the first half. Matt Forte had 64 yards on 15 carries before halftime as the Bears held possession for 18 minutes.
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Meanwhile, the defense was keeping Seattle’s offense from getting moving. Marshawn Lynch did not start the game and was held to just five carries before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the remainder of the afternoon. The Seahawks were 0-for-6 on third downs in the half as they struggled to sustain drives against the Bears.
The Bears entered the game with no sacks yet on the season through two games but managed to sack Russell Wilson four times on the day. Jarvis Jenkins and Pernell McPhee each sacked Wilson twice.
Will Sutton was lost for the game due to a biceps injury in the third quarter, and the Bears couldn’t keep the lid on Seattle any longer. After holding the Seahawks to just 125 yards in the first half, Seattle out-gained the Bears, 162-24, in the third quarter and began to pull away.
After two Steven Hauschka field goals give Seattle a 6-0 lead at the break, Lockett’s kick return broke the game open.
Wilson connected with Jimmy Graham for a 30-yard touchdown to cap a seven-play, 85-yard drive to give Seattle a 20-0 lead. Hauschka booted two more field goals for Seattle to finish with four on the day.
Forte was the lone offensive bright spot on the day, finishing with 74 yards on 20 carries.