CHICAGO, DEC. 20 -- The Chicago Bears shocked Walter Payton by retiring his jersey this afternoon in a pregame thank you at Soldier Field before 62,518. But it turned into a somber goodbye party when the Seattle Seahawks unceremoniously dumped the Bears, 34-21.

Payton's best performance of the season, in his 95th and final regular season game here, was wasted because the Bears committed five turnovers -- four by starting quarterback Mike Tomczak.

"All the things that went on in the pregame ceremony take a back seat now," a subdued Payton said afterward. "Without a win, it doesn't do justice to it, and I feel bad about that. Individual acomplishments don't stand up when you lose. What I did {79 yards rushing, two touchdowns} wasn't enough."

Playing for the second straight game in place of injured Jim McMahon, Tomczak threw two interceptions and fumbled twice. As a result, the Bears have lost two in a row for the first time since December 1984. They lost to San Francisco, 41-0, last Monday night.

Payton said afterward that he was able to contain his emotion because the Bears (10-4) figured to play at least one playoff game here. That, however, can change if the Bears lose in Los Angeles against the Raiders next week while the Redskins (10-3) and either New Orleans (11-3) or San Francisco (12-2) win.

Payton carried 17 times for 79 yards and would easily have turned in his first 100-yard performance of the season if Chicago hadn't kept falling behind. When Payton scored his second touchdown on a five-yard run early in the fourth quarter, it got the Bears within 27-21.

The Bears' defense held, and Chicago began marching downfield again. Tomczak could have made everyone forget about his three previous errors by hitting Willie Gault, 10 yards beyond any Seattle defender, for a touchdown.

Instead, Tomczak underthrew the ball miserably, allowing Seattle safety Eugene Robinson to intercept it. The Chicago defense appeared to simply give up on the next series, and gave the Seahawks 55 yards -- all on the ground -- in eight plays, including Curt Warner's four-yard touchdown with 2:22 left to end the scoring.

"They hadn't run the ball worth a nickel all game until then," Chicago Coach Mike Ditka said, "And, of course, they ran it down our throats."

The afternoon began with a ceremony to honor Payton, who in his 13th season has run his rushing total past 16,500 yards. The theme song for the last several years has been "Nobody Does It Better." And perhaps nobody ever will, which is why the Bears retired his No. 34. And that's no small concession by the Bears, who still have not retired the jerseys belonging to Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers.

"You appreciate the support," Payton said. "I appreciate what they've been to me. But the bottom line is always winning, and beating yourself is more frustrating than someone else beating you."

The Bears experienced the latter in San Francisco, but killed themselves today. A 3-0 Chicago lead on Kevin Butler's 39-yard field goal was taken off the board when Al Harris was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for leg whipping.

Seattle, meanwhile, was capitalizing on every Bears blunder and covering up every one of its own. The Seahawks, who stayed in contention for the AFC West title, committed four fumbles and recovered every one.

The Bears did tie the game just before halftime when Tomczak (21 of 36 for 298 yards) threw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Emery Moorehead. But their problems began on the first possession of the second half when Neal Anderson, Payton's heir, sprained a knee ligament that may keep him out of action for two weeks.

On the play, Seattle linebacker Brian Bosworth deftly stripped the ball from Anderson's hands, and ran 38 yards to the 1 before Curt Warner went over the top to make it 14-7.

Chicago came back by riding Payton's back, 14 yards on one carry, nine the next, and finally three yards into the end zone to finish an 87-yard drive that tied the game with five minutes left in the third quarter.

But on the very next play, Dave Krieg (17 of 26, 214 yards, two touchdowns) threw a screen pass to fullback John L. Williams -- Neal Anderson's backfield mate at the University of Florida -- and he went 75 yards for the touchdown and a 21-14 lead.

Tomczak blew a handoff to Payton, which led to Norm Johnson's 45-yard field goal against the wind and 24-14. And Tomczak fumbled on the next possession, leading to a 29-yard Johnson field goal to make it 27-14.

"The mistakes," said Ditka, without blaming anyone specifically, "are alarming."

Ditka worried openly that the Bears have lost most or all of the ability to intimidate teams, saying, "I don't know that we scare anybody right now. As a matter of fact, we're playing a little afraid . . . "

But Payton, who has played on good teams and bad, refused to panic. "Am I worried about this team? No," Payton said. "We'll be ready {for the playoffs}. I know we will. This is still a good team."

Seattle 0 7 20 7 34 Chicago 0 7 7 7 21

Second Quarter

S -- Turner 12 pass from Krieg (Johnson kick), 6:51

C -- Moorehead 3 pass from Tomczak (Butler kick), 14:08 Third Quarter

S -- Warner 1 run (Johnson kick), 3:50

C -- Payton 3 run (Butler kick), 9:18

S -- Williams 75 pass from Krieg (Johnson kick), 9:46

S -- FG Johnson 45, 11:59

S -- FG Johnson 29, 13:52 Fourth Quarter

C -- Payton 5 run (Butler kick), 2:53

S -- Warner 4 run (Johnson kick), 12:50

A -- 62,518

Seahawks Bears First downs 16 31 Rushes-yards 29-116 37-159 Passing yards 184 278 Return yards 92 11 Passing 17-26-0 21-36-2 Sacked-yards lost 3-30 3-20 Punts-average 6-39 2-34 Fumbles-lost 4-0 3-3 Penalties-yards 7-81 7-56 Time of possession 26:29

RUSHING -- Seattle: Warner 17-75, Williams 5-26, Krieg 7-15. Chicago: Payton 17-79, Tomczak 8-24, Thomas 5-

PASSING -- Seattle: Krieg 17-26-0, 214 yards. Chicago: Tomczak 21-36-2, 298.

RECEIVING -- Seattle: Williams 8-117, Butler 5-49, Largent 3-36, Turner 1-12. Chicago: McKinnon 4-55, Gentr

MISSED FIELD GOALS -- Chicago: Butler 53.