Bears defense knocks it out of the park to drive win over Seahawks


Shortly after the Seattle Seahawks scored their first touchdown Monday night, which slashed the Bears’ advantage to only a touchdown in the fourth quarter, safety Eddie Jackson went to cornerback Prince Amukamara on the sideline with an idea:

If and when someone gets a pick-six, we should do a baseball celebration because “that was going to be the game-winner, the home run out of the park," Jackson explained. Got it, Amukamara said. Four plays later, Amukamara jumped a quick throw to the near sideline intended for running back Rashaad Penny. 

“Next thing you know he caught a pick-six and didn’t even do it,” Jackson laughed. “It’s crazy, right?”

Amukamara said he thought Jackson meant when Jackson himself had a pick-six, he’d do the baseball celebration. He didn’t think it applied to him. Even if Amukamara intended to do it, though, he was enveloped by a gaggle of teammates upon crossing into the south end zone at Soldier Field. Aaron Lynch was the first to arrive, then Eddie Goldman and Roquan Smith jumped on the cornerback. Khalil Mack came in and gave Amukamara a celebratory shove. 

Finally, Jackson got to Amukamara, but he was already sprinting back toward the Bears sideline. Oh well. Maybe next time. Amukamara did set a goal for 10 interceptions this year. The pick-six set the Bears on track for a 24-17 win, their first of the Matt Nagy era (Amukamara gave Nagy the game ball after the win). 

That Jackson was thinking about a touchdown celebration instead of a “here we go again” mindset at that juncture in the game was telling, though. The Bears had suffocated the Seahawks all game, with only one of their opponent’s drives crossing their 40-yard line. But just like in Week 1’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, the star quarterback on the other side made a picture-perfect throw for a touchdown to beat cornerback Kyle Fuller, which drew the Seahawks within seven points with over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Instead of folding, a Bears defense that was unflinchingly motivated by last Sunday night stuck to the mantra they’d pounded all week: Finish. Finish. Finish. 

“I didn’t know who was going to do it, but I knew we got a bunch of playmakers and I figured at some point one of us was going to get loose to make a play,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. 

So even though Amukamara hadn’t had an interception since Sept. 24, 2015, that he made the play was hardly surprising to anyone on the Bears’ sideline. This was a defense that wasn’t going to let complacency creep in, and instead felt all game like it would come up with a big play when it needed to. 

“It happened in practice all this week, especially on the defensive side of the ball, we were running to every ball,” Jackson said. “Even if it’s a five-yard play, run to the ball. We kept emphasizing finish, finish. That’s been the topic of the week, that’s going to be the topic for the season. We need to continue to finish, because we know what we’re capable of. We played a great half last week and obviously came up short and had to learn from that and we knew what we needed to work on, which was finishing so we went out there and did that.”

Before the need to finish — which included a Danny Trevathan sack-strip of Wilson — the Bears’ defense had complete control of this game for the first three quarters. The Seahawks managed a measly 80 yards on their first 34 plays, good for an average of 2.4 yards per play. Wilson was sacked five times by five different players (Mack, Trevathan, Jackson, Lynch, Goldman) while defensive coordinator Vic Fangio dialed up a number of other successful pressures from players up and down the depth chart. Mack terrorized Seahawks right tackle Germain Ifedi and forced another fumble. 

This was a true team effort, the kind this defense collectively believed it was capable of but didn’t show for four quarters in Week 1. It was the sort of game that erased most, if not all, the doubts raised in that loss to the Packers. And showed a national audience just how good this group can be, even if the Seahawks looked like a charred husk of the Super Bowl contenders they were only a few years ago. 

That this performance came on a night during which the Bears welcomed back Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher to honor No. 54 wasn’t lost on anyone in the locker room, either. 

“You’re talking about as a defensive guy, wanting to put a stamp on it,” Mack said, “you want to go out and make him proud and finish the night off with a win for him, especially.”

And Trevathan pumped his first when he was told after the game that Urlacher said he’s been impressed with the Bears’ defense. 

“Keep watching,” Trevathan said. “We’re just getting started.” 

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