SEATTLE – After a discouraging performance a week earlier in a 48-23 loss to the Cardinals, the Bears defense showed marked improvement Sunday against the Seahawks.
The same unit that allowed five touchdowns to Arizona last weekend at Soldier Field permitted only one TD in a 26-0 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
One of only two NFL teams without a sack entering Week 3, the Bears recorded four Sunday against quarterback Russell Wilson—two each by defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.
"A lot had been made of us not having a sack in two games," said coach John Fox. "Russell is not an easy guy to sack. I think we made headway in some phases of our defense. But we still have a long way to go."
Jenkins recorded his sacks on back-to-back first-quarter possessions. The second came on third-and-four after Richard Sherman's 64-yard punt return to the Chicago 19 and forced Seattle to settle for Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal.
The two sacks less than seven minutes apart matched Jenkins' career sack total in 46 previous NFL games. He signed with the Bears in March after spending his four seasons with the Redskins.
"We were always this close to getting sacks," Jenkins said. "The thing about it was finishing. We knew [Wilson] likes to scramble a lot. We just stayed in our rushing lanes, kept our eyes on the quarterback and got it done today. But there's still a lot of improvement to do."
McPhee sacked Wilson on back-to-back plays in the third quarter and nearly made it three snaps in a row when he hit Wilson as the quarterback completed a 13-yard pass on third-and-25.
"The front played really well," said cornerback Alan Ball. "They got pressure. Russell was back there moving around a lot. He didn't have a good chance to set his feet most of the time."
The Bears defense kept the Seahawks out of the end zone late in the first half, forcing three straight Wilson incompletions from the 3. Ball broke up one of the passes intended for tight end Jimmy Graham on a fade in the left corner of the end zone.
"This week we did a good job with coach just getting into the film and knowing just what they were going to do," Ball said. "Anytime they split Graham out with anybody pretty much that he's bigger than you know they're going to take a shot. It's something we worked on, something we kind of knew was coming. They put us in the right defense to play it."
The Bears defense limited the Seahawks to just six points and 125 total yards in the first half. But the unit didn't perform as well in the second half as rookie Thomas Rawls rushed for 98 of his game-high 104 yards on 15 carries over the final two quarters.
"There's ways to improve," Jenkins said. "We did pretty well against the run in the first half, and in the second half they started to get the run going a little bit. We've got to play stout all four quarters if this defense is going to be good.
"We've got a lot of work to do as a defensive line. We're not satisfied. The only thing right now is that we shouldn't be hanging our heads and we've got to go back to work Monday."
Seattle's only offensive touchdown of the game came late in the third quarter when Wilson completed a 30-yard pass to Graham, who beat safety Brock Vereen across the middle.
"He separated," Vereen said. "My job is to not let him score and I didn't do my job."