SEATTLE (AP)—Shaun Alexander knew it was his turn. All day long, he waited to break a big play against Chicago’s stubborn run defense.
So he bounced around left end, skipped over a diving linebacker and broke into open field before putting a nasty shimmy on Bears safety Mike Brown at the 5 to clear a path to the end zone.
“I knew if I straightened the safety up, I’d have two ways to go,” Alexander said. “He was coming pretty fast, so I just made a little run at him. I took a step for the sideline, then I put the brakes on. He missed me.”
Alexander gained 101 yards on 21 attempts, scoring twice. And check out the Seahawks (5-1), who are off to the best start in franchise history.
“Everyone in the locker room can feel good about that,” coach Mike Holmgren said. “Without picking apart too much about how we got there, that’s OK. Five-and-one is pretty good.”
The Seahawks already have squeaked out one-point victories over NFC West rivals St. Louis and San Francisco. The Bears (1-5) lost for the 17th time in 20 games, but they didn’t go quietly.
Alexander’s gains of 9 and 14 yards were huge on a seven-play, 72-yard drive that seemed jeopardized after a 10-yard penalty for illegal hands to the face by tackle Walter Jones put the ball on the Bears 40.
“I was trying to hook him and I got my arm up a little on his face,” Jones explained. “They had to call it. It was close. You just have to get back into the huddle and try something else.”
Seattle then got a break when Bears rookie Charles Tillman was called for pass interference for coming over Koren Robinson’s back on an incomplete pass. On the next play, Alexander broke into open field and scored.
Tillman was angry in the locker room. He told reporters he didn’t want to get fined for blasting the game officials, then he let them have it.
“It was a late call,” Tillman said. “I took about three full steps and walked away, and then he threw the flag. What’s up with that? I don’t know. It was a dumb call, a bad call, a horrible call.”
Stanley Pritchett’s 1-yard dive with 4:12 remaining pulled the Bears to 17-15. Chicago tied it with a 2-point conversion. Chandler rolled right but found no one, so he tucked the ball and slipped across the goal line.
“It was just kind of sandlot, chicken-with-your-head-cut-off running,” Chandler said. “I was looking for anything that was open. Everyone was on the right side of the field and I just tried to make it in.”
That drive started after what was potentially a crucial Seattle mistake.
The Seahawks led 17-9 early in the fourth quarter and were driving when Robinson fumbled after catching a 9-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Tillman was credited with the strip, and Bobby Gray recovered for the Bears.
“Are we still in the developmental stages? Certainly,” Holmgren said, listing a slew of other mistakes by his team. “But we are 5-1.”
Chandler made the 145th start of his 16-year career for Chicago because Kordell Stewart was out with a swollen leg. The Bears also played without running back Anthony Thomas, out with a sprained foot.
It was a homecoming for Chandler, who grew up in Everett, Wash., and played in college at the University of Washington. One week after his 38th birthday, he completed 19 of 34 passes for 149 yards with two interceptions.
Hasselbeck, who won for the ninth time in 12 starts, went 19-of-27 for 215 yards. He threw for one TD with one interception.
The Seahawks led 14-6 at the break, but the advantage could have been bigger.
Josh Brown was wide right on a 50-yard field goal on Seattle’s first possession, and Hasselbeck had a pass intercepted by Chicago’s Brown when it bounced off Bobby Engram’s facemask just before the break.
Three plays later, Hasselbeck threw a timing pass to Engram in the rightcorner of the end zone.
Seahawks CB Ken Lucas, slowed by a sprained foot, was inactive. Shawn Springs, coming back from a broken shoulder blade, started for the first time this season. … Seattle TE Ryan Hannam didn’t return after spraining his knee in the first quarter. He will have additional tests Monday. … The Bears lost TE Desmond Clark (toe) and RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) in the fourth quarter.