CHICAGO -- It was right there in Jordan Babineaux's hands -- the ball, and a chance to again live up to the nickname that is his legacy as a Seahawk of "Big Play Babs."
But this time, the man who has played in more Seahawks postseason games than anyone other than Matt Hasselbeck let it slip away.
And his drop of a potential interception at the Chicago goal line late in the first quarter typified the day for a Seattle defense that was run through and passed over as the Bears took a 35-24 win in an NFC divisional playoff game here Sunday.
"He (Bears quarterback Jay Cutler) threw it right to me, to be honest with you," said Babineaux, a safety for the Seahawks. "I think it's a different ballgame if I make that play. I really do."
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Instead, four plays after Babineaux's drop of a quick pass intended for Johnny Knox -- one that he might have been able to return a long distance -- the Bears scored to go ahead 14-0, and the contest was never really in doubt again.
The ball came at Babineaux hurriedly, leaving him little time to react. But he said there was no excuse, that's the kind of play that has to be made to win a playoff game.
"It was pretty quick, but still, I don't give a damn," he said. "I expect me to make those plays. For sure that would have changed the start of the game because they went down and scored again. When you are taking points off the board (it changes the game) and not only that but to have a chance to take the confidence away from the quarterback and make him start questioning exactly what they are doing, you've got to take advantage of it, man, you've got to do that. Personally, I didn't do that."
He was hardly alone, however, as the Seattle defense didn't come close to matching the effort that resulted in a 23-20 win over the Bears here in October.
In that game, the Bears were 0 for 12 on third down.
Sunday, the Bears were 10 for 18, turning the tables on their first attempt when Cutler hit tight end Greg Olsen on a 58-yard TD on a third-and-two on Chicago's initial possession.
The Bears had no trouble finding the tight ends all day as Olsen (three catches for 113 yards) and Kellen Davis (two for 42) combined for five catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Added linebacker Will Herring: "He (Cutler) just found the soft spot in the zone, and a couple of times we were in man and he found him a couple of times."
Seattle also couldn't stop the running of Cutler, who scored two TDs, one on a 6-yard quarterback draw on third-and-five. Another time, he evaded the rush to gain 21 yards on a third-and-eight.
"That can't happen," Babineaux said. "You play solid coverage for a nice little time frame and turn around and look and the damn quarterback is taking off for 15-20 yards. That's ego crushing right there, you know? It hurts."
Cutler finished with 43 yards rushing on eight carries.
"He got out on pressure, and he did a nice job down by the goal line," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "The quarterback-draw play was a nice call by them. We know that he can run well. He has pretty good speed, and he has a knack for it, and unfortunately he got out and got away from us."
As did the game, which left Babineaux forced to think about what might have been.
"We really had a great approach coming into the game and for whatever reason when you don't execute you just really question everything," Babineaux said. "I don't think we did enough to help ourselves through the game."