One burst of speed from rookie Tyler Lockett ignited Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks after a sleepy start against Chicago.
Lockett returned the second-half kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, Wilson and Graham connected on a 30-yard TD in the third quarter, and the Seahawks routed the undermanned Bears 26-0 on Sunday.
Seattle led just 6-0 at halftime after an offensive performance that led to a cascade of boos. Lockett started a huge second half when he went untouched on a perfectly executed return, the longest in franchise history. Later in the quarter, Wilson found Graham across the middle for his second touchdown catch of the season.
Steven Hauschka added four field goals and the Seahawks started the process of erasing an 0-2 start.
Chicago (0-3) was shut out for the first time since 2002 and the fourth time since 1990. Jimmy Clausen started at quarterback in place of Jay Cutler and was 9 of 17 for 63 yards. Chicago punted on all 10 of its possessions. Matt Forte was held to 74 yards on 20 carries and the Bears finished with just 37 yards in the second half.
Not all went well for Seattle. Starting running back Marshawn Lynch capped a strange day by leaving at halftime with a hamstring injury. Lynch finished with 14 yards on five carries and spent half of the first quarter in the locker room before coming to the Seahawks bench. Lynch was questionable entering the game with a calf injury.
Starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane also suffered a groin injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Lynch’s replacement became undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls, who flashed by rushing for 104 yards, 98 in the second half.
Seattle’s offensive line had a forgettable first half. Wilson was sacked twice by a Chicago defense that had zero entering the game. Seattle punted three times and failed on all six third-down attempts.
That changed in the third quarter. Wilson was 5 of 5 for 110 yards in the quarter and Seattle outgained Chicago 162-24. Seattle finally converted a third-down when Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for 22 yards midway through the period and the Seahawks capped the drive with Graham’s first touchdown at home. Wilson was protected long enough to find Graham coming open across the middle, watching the big tight end step away from Brock Vereen for the TD.
Wilson finished 20 of 30 for 235 yards, while Graham had seven catches for 83 yards a week after getting just one catch.
Even before Lockett’s return, Seattle used a bit of trickery on special teams. Running the same misdirected punt return that St. Louis used against them last season for a touchdown, the Seahawks caught Chicago napping. Instead of Lockett catching the punt near the Chicago sideline, it was Richard Sherman catching it on the sideline in front of the Seattle bench and returning it 64 yards to set up Hauschka’s first field goal.