Marshawn Lynch did not appear on the Seattle Seahawks’ sideline until midway through the first quarter, and he could not remain healthy enough to stay in the entire game. But his teammates stepped up, helping ease the creeping fears caused by an 0-2 start for the two-time defending N.F.C. champions.
After Seattle looked lost in the first half, three newcomers, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett and Thomas Rawls, took over, easily guiding Seattle to a 26-0 victory over the Chicago Bears.
The win may have come with a cost, however, as Lynch left the game in the third quarter with an injured hamstring and did not return. His status going forward was not announced.
Lynch was questionable coming into the game with an injured calf and did not enter the game until there was 3:09 remaining in the first quarter. He seemed limited, carrying the ball 5 times for 14 yards in the first half. His longest carry went for 8 yards. It helped contribute to an anemic offensive attack by Seattle.
Lockett changed things in a hurry when he took the opening kickoff of the second half 105 yards for a touchdown, setting a Seattle record for longest kick return. A third-round pick this year out of Oklahoma, Lockett seemed to change the entire tone of the game when he easily streaked into the end zone.
Potentially bigger news for concerned Seahawks fans was Russell Wilson finally connecting with Graham, who had struggled to find much of a role in the team’s offense after an offseason trade. A three-time Pro Bowler, Graham scored 51 touchdowns in five seasons for the New Orleans Saints. It was assumed he would step up to be Wilson’s primary target on offense, but in the first two games he had just 7 catches for 62 yards.
Graham finally looked like himself Sunday with 7 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
The other big news for Seattle was the return of Kam Chancellor, who was activated for the game after holding out for the first two weeks of the season in hopes of getting a better contract. The All-Pro safety, whose absence was considered one of the biggest factors in the team’s slow start, had just one tackle in the game, but the Seahawks benefited from his leadership.
The enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by Lynch’s injury. Luckily for Seattle, Rawls, an undrafted free agent in his first year out of Central Michigan, was ready to step up. He carried the ball 16 times for 104 yards. If Lynch is forced to miss time with his various injuries, Seattle seems well-positioned to remain competitive with Rawls and the veteran Fred Jackson, who the team signed shortly before the season started.