Hasselbeck, who had engineered the upset of the New Orleans Saints in the first round with four touchdown passes, completed 26 of 46 passes for 258 yards, 165 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter, after the game was out of reach. He threw all three of his TD passes in the fourth.
"We started slow, we looked slow. Maybe it was the conditions, maybe just a combination of all those things," Hasselbeck said. "I think we really believed we were going to win, as improbable and unlikely as it may have seemed to a lot of people. ... We just couldn't overcome some of the things that happened."
The Seahawks couldn't muster the same relentless pressure they'd put on Jay Cutler when they sacked him six times in a 23-20 victory in Chicago three months ago. Their receivers had problems hanging onto Hasselbeck's passes. And two players were carted off the field with head injuries: tight end John Carlson in the first quarter and defensive back Marcus Trufant in the third.
The game was delayed for about five minutes as Carlson was attended to on the sideline, and he was able to move his legs before he was carted off, not to return. It was a chilling circumstance for a team that had hoped to keep it close.
"We just weren't able to make plays we needed to make," Hasselbeck said. "They challenged us, they came up and played real physical, real grabby, holding a lot, but doing it in a way they weren't getting called for flags.
"They did what they had to do, and we didn't answer. We didn't make those plays. Too bad, would love another chance at it. We had a lot of opportunities for second chances this season. It's disappointing."
The running game that could have opened up play action suffered greatly without the two tight ends.
"We were scrambling," Carroll said. "We didn't get to try some things without those guys. They (the Bears) are very difficult to run against, anyway."
"You get two guys carted off, and you realize what's important," said Seattle safety Lawyer Milloy, who was burned on Greg Olsen's early 58-yard TD catch.
After Olsen went around Lofa Tatupu and eluded a tackle by Trufant for a 33-yard gain later in the first quarter, the Seahawks had a chance to turn the game around when Cutler threw the ball right to Seattle defensive back Jordan Babineaux on the goal line.
But with a clear field in front of him, Babineaux dropped the ball, and the Bears went on to take a two-touchdown lead.
"We were going to have to get all of those to have a chance," Carroll said. "We didn't get enough of those."
"I don't know if people realize how close we were to doing something special," Hasselbeck said. "We had everything set. We didn't deserve it, but it was right there for us, and we didn't take advantage."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press