Bears rout Seahawks, reach 4-0 for first time since '91

CHICAGO (AP) -- Lance Briggs couldn't hide his emotions. He
smiled, he broke into a rap and even showed off his dance moves as
he got dressed after the Chicago Bears showed how serious they are
about contending for the NFC title.

The Bears linebacker had reason to be giddy. Chicago just
finished dominating the defending conference champion Seattle

Rex Grossman threw for 232 yards and Ricky Manning Jr.
intercepted two of Matt Hasselbeck's passes to lead Chicago to a
37-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

"Thirty seven-six just shows what we're capable of, but we're a
lot better than that," Grossman said. "They're a lot better than
they played tonight and we realize that. ... We realize we may face
them down the road at some point, and we're glad we got the win."

Grossman had another solid performance, completing 17 of 31
passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Bears
improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1991.

Bernard Berrian had three receptions for a career-high 108 yards
and a touchdown.

The Bears also got their running game going after three sluggish
performances, with Thomas Jones rushing for 98 yards and two

And the league's fourth-ranked defense shut down a Seahawks team
that was missing injured running back Shaun Alexander.

"We definitely sent a message," Briggs said. "We're out to
send a message every week. Every week, we gain another believer."

With the Bears leading 10-3, Manning intercepted Hasselbeck
twice in the second quarter to set up a field goal and touchdown.

Hasselbeck was 16-of-35 for 196 yards and did not throw a
touchdown, a week after tying a franchise record with five scoring
passes in a 42-30 victory over the New York Giants. He was sacked
five times -- including twice each by Tommie Harris and Mark

"There is really no need for that," Hasselbeck said. "I've
got to be smarter. We have to stick to our gameplan and handle that
stuff better. We didn't communicate well and didn't execute well."

Maurice Morris started for Alexander and carried 11 times for 35

The league MVP, Alexander had been bothered by a bruised bone in
his left foot before it cracked during last week's win over the
Giants. Still, he hoped to play, saying the power of prayer had
healed him and even jumping around for coach Mike Holmgren. A
second round of tests on Wednesday showed the bone was still
broken, so he sat for the first time since being drafted in 2000,
and Morris made the fifth start of his career.

The Seattle defense took a hit in the second quarter, when
safety Michael Boulware suffered a concussion while breaking up a
pass intended for Chicago's John Gilmore at the Seattle 1.

"I always think Shaun Alexander would have made a difference,"
Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "He's the MVP of the league.
This is the most pressure I think Matt has felt in awhile."

Sunday's game was the ninth between the two teams and their
first in three years.

The Bears thought they were on course to meet Seattle in the
playoffs last season, when they earned a first-round bye, but
Carolina knocked them off at Soldier Field. The Seahawks beat the
Panthers the next week to advance to the Super Bowl.

Seattle opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Josh
Brown on its second possession, and the Bears wasted no time
responding. They drove 69 yards, with Grossman completing six of
seven passes for 57 yards. He hit Muhsin Muhammad for 14 yards on
the first play and found Muhammad cutting toward the middle of the
end zone for a 9-yard touchdown that made it 7-3 with 2:27 left in
the quarter.

Grossman struck again on the Bears' next play from scrimmage,
finding Berrian deep along the right sideline for 46 yards. That
led to a 36-yard field goal by Robbie Gould -- the first of three
for him.

The four-receiver set that worked so well for the Seahawks
against New York seemed to play into the Bears' strength, leaving
Hasselbeck under pressure all night.

"If you need time, it's going to be hard to find with our
defensive line," Briggs said. "You like that rhyme?"

Briggs smiled and danced -- after the Bears stepped all over the

The pressure created opportunities for the defensive backs --
most notably, Manning.

On Tuesday, he pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge
stemming from an incident at a restaurant in Los Angeles. But he
put aside his legal issues on Sunday.

Manning picked off a short pass intended for Deion Branch at the
Chicago 25 and returned it 39 yards before Hasselbeck knocked him
out of bounds at the Seahawks 36 about 5 minutes into the second
quarter. That led to a 20-yard field goal by Gould that made it

Seattle's next possession ended when Manning intercepted
Hasselbeck at the Seahawks 40 and five plays later, it was 20-3.
Jones capped the drive with a 3-yard run -- the Bears' first rushing
touchdown this season.

"This game is big," Briggs said. "Big. Big. This is the way
we've got to play at home."

Game notes
Holmgren said Boulware should be ready to play next week.
... Berrian has caught three passes of 40 or more yards this


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