- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - The latest challenge for Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks is overcoming statistical history.

Since the current format of the playoffs took effect in 1990, only 24 teams have started the season 0-2 and still made the postseason. That’s the position Carroll’s crew finds itself in after road losses to St. Louis and Green Bay.

So there may not be a better elixir for Seattle’s early woes than a visit from the undermanned Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Seattle’s home opener will already be amped thanks in part to the return of Kam Chancellor, likely to make his season debut after ending a holdout that stretched nearly eight weeks. Then mix in the anxiety of a team with Super Bowl aspirations knowing it can’t afford to start 0-3.

“We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of things to clean up and we’ve got to get really sharp and we have no more time … we’ve got to get at it right now,” Carroll said.



There has been a troubling trend for Seattle (0-2) with its inability to hold leads in the fourth quarter. Including the Super Bowl loss to New England, the Seahawks have held fourth-quarter leads in each of their last three games and lost. It counters one of the hallmarks of Carroll’s program, of being at their best late in games and late in seasons.

“That’s always been the battle cry about finishing and to do right longer than the other guys. We’ve made enough little errors, not in position here or there like we have been earlier in the game or like we need to be,” Carroll said. “So it’s really just a focus on the details as we finish the game out.”

Chicago (0-2) is trying to avoid an 0-3 start for the first time since 2003, when the Bears went 1-5. If facing Seattle wasn’t difficult enough, it’s likely quarterback Jay Cutler (hamstring) won’t play, leaving Jimmy Clausen to manage against an angry Seahawks defense.

“He has a chip on his shoulder, and I think he wants to play well, and we want to play well for him,” Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett said. “So I think it’s just us doing our jobs and taking what we get.”

Here’s what else to watch as the Bears and Seahawks meet in Seattle for the first time since 2009:

STOP THE SLOP: Part of the reason for Seattle’s 0-2 start is carelessness with penalties and giving up too many big plays on defense. The Seahawks have already been flagged 13 times in two games, including key offside penalties on Michael Bennett, and a pass interference call against Richard Sherman in the loss to Green Bay.

At the same time, opponents are finding success in the passing game downfield. Seattle has allowed 11 passes of 20 or more yards in two games. It allowed 32 in 16 games last season.

“You just tackle better. A lot of them have come from missed tackles, letting them run for more yards. And communicating better. Simple,” Sherman said.

CHICAGO’S FORTE: If the Bears are going to challenge Seattle, then Matt Forte must have a big game. Forte rushed for 141 yards in Week 1 against Green Bay, but was limited to 61 yards last week by Arizona. He’s also had nine catches out of the backfield. Seattle’s run defense hasn’t been up to its previous standard yet, allowing 127 yards rushing to Green Bay with Eddie Lacy missing most of the game.

WHERE’S JIMMY?: The arrival of Jimmy Graham was supposed to bring a unique dynamic to Seattle’s offense that was previously absent. And for one game, it did with six catches and a touchdown in the opener against St. Louis. The overreaction came after he was targeted just two times - with one catch - against Green Bay. Expect the Seahawks to be aggressive in getting Graham opportunities against Chicago’s defense that has allowed seven touchdowns passing.

BRING SOME PRESSURE: The Bears have struggled to get off the field on third downs, allowing 58 percent conversions. A majority of that rate has come from the lack of pressure on quarterbacks. The Bears are one of two teams - along with Oakland - yet to get a sack.

“Pass defense is a combination of coverage and rush. I think after two weeks, not 12 weeks, we’re kind of where we are,” Chicago coach John Fox said. “There’s a lot of areas on our football team we need to improve at.”

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