After their 20-0 third-quarter lead turned into a 24-23 loss last Sunday night in Green Bay, the Bears vowed to finish what they started Monday night at Soldier Field.
Although there were a few nervous moments, the Bears ultimately accomplished that goal, holding off a late rally by the Seahawks to win their home opener 24-17.
Unlike a week earlier against the Packers, the defense sealed the game with a decisive interception after Seattle had climbed to within 17-10 early in the fourth quarter.
The key play was made by veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, who intercepted a Russell Wilson pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Bears' lead to 24-10 with 6:37 remaining in the final period.
"Our theme this game was to play all four quarters and finish," Amukamara said. "I'm so glad that this was a team win and we got that bad taste out of our mouth last week."
The Bears defense dominated for three quarters, holding the Seahawks to three points, five first downs and 80 total yards on 34 plays. But Seattle generated 14 points, 12 first downs and 196 yards in the fourth period. Wilson's 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Dissly cut the deficit to 24-17 with :14 to play, but rookie Anthony Miller recovered the subsequent onside kick to clinch the victory.
"That was a good team win for us," Matt Nagy said after recording his first victory as Bears coach. "For our defense to be able to come out and be as dominant as they were, that's what we like to see. That was our challenge to them specifically, along with the rest of the team, was to play four quarters. I think you felt that. I know I did."
The Bears defense, which recorded six sacks of Wilson, stepped up when needed most. After Mitchell Trubisky threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter, the defense responded with a pair of three-and-outs. The second series was capped by a Khalil Mack third-down strip sack that forced a Seattle punt.
"I thought it was pretty neat that after sudden-change with two interceptions, we got two three-and-outs by the defense," Nagy said. "That's awesome. There's not a lot of teams in the NFL that have that mentality of where our defense is playing right now.
"For the most part, our defense is playing fast, they're flying around. They helped the offense out. There's going to be times where the offense is going to help the defense out. In the end, the only thing that matters is that 'W.' That's it."
After Seattle had closed the gap to 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, the defense generated takeaways on back-to-back possessions. Danny Trevathan followed Amukamara's pick-six by forcing a fumble on a sack of Wilson that Leonard Floyd recovered at the Seahawks' 41.
The Bears scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead for the second straight week as Trubisky flipped a shovel pass to tight end Trey Burton for a 3-yard score.
Trubisky completed 6 of 7 passes for 50 yards to five different receivers and had a nifty 17-yard scramble on third-and-six on the impressive 10-play, 96-yard drive.
But just like a week earlier in Green Bay, the Bears offense struggled after scoring a touchdown on its first drive. The unit managed only a field goal on six possessions in the second and third quarters, enabling the Seahawks to remain within striking distance.
"Our offense, very similar to last week, I thought there were some times that we got in some ruts," Nagy said. "But we can pick that up and get a little better."
Trubisky completed 25 of 34 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and an 83.0 passer rating in the game. He ended the offense's drought with a 10-yard TD pass to Miller early in the fourth quarter, giving the Bears a 17-3 lead.
Wilson connected on 22 of 36 passes for 226 yards with two TDs, one interception and an 86.1 rating. He was sacked six times for the second straight game.
The pressure the Bears generated on the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback from start to finish helped them rebound from their loss in Green Bay. It also evened their record at 1-1 heading into Sunday's contest against the Cardinals in Arizona.
"They reacted really well to a tough loss, one that stung for so many reasons," Nagy said. "But we were able to, as a group, put it aside. The message to them before the game was, 'It's time to stop barking and it's time to start biting. The talk is cheap. Let's go out and let's produce and let's play and let's finish.'
"Last week I told you we knew it was there to reach for. We could grab it. I felt like our team got better today and now we need to use this as a building block for next week."