By Evan Thompson The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said before the game that he wanted to see Terrelle Pryor improve his decision making and throwing accuracy.
After going 1-for-4 for 10 yards, Pryor will need another game to show the Seahawks he can do that.
But Seattle’s No. 3 quarterback acquired in an offseason trade from Oakland did remind the Seahawks about the kind of speed he possesses, when he scampered for a 44-yard run in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ 41-14 win against the San Diego Chargers on Friday night at CenturyLink Field.
The athleticism he showed on that run, after a juke step froze multiple Chargers near the line of scrimmage, is why he was the Raiders’ starting quarterback for parts of three seasons into 2013. Seattle then got him for a seventh-round draft choice.
“I kind of felt like I wasn’t in a rhythm,” Pryor said. “Sometimes it’s like that. You just have to go make a play for the team.”
Pryor played the third quarter and for the first drive of the fourth — plus an abbreviated drive in the final half-minute of the first half. He might have led Seattle to its fifth score in five drives before halftime if reserve tight end Cooper Helfet had been able to hold on to Pryor’s dart at the sidelines near the Chargers 30-yard line.
Pryor showed improvement Bevell sought from last week on that play, scrambling to his left away from pressure and, instead of taking off running, keeping his head upfield. He waited for Helfet to break free and then set his feet for a perfect throw that won’t show up in the box score.
Tarvaris Jackson, last season’s No. 2 quarterback who played two drives last week in Denver, did not play Friday. But Bevell and coach Pete Carroll know what they have in the veteran.
Lynch makes a cameo
Marshawn Lynch, in his first start this preseason, was the opposite of newsworthy. In fact, he was about as quiet as can be.
Lynch was in for two plays against the San Diego Chargers in the Seahawks’ second preseason game on Friday night at CenturyLink Field. Then he exited to the sidelines, donned a ball cap, and briefly fiddled around on the bench with what appeared to be a team-issued tablet device.
Lynch reported to camp a week late after a short contract holdout then joined a dozen other veterans who didn’t make the trip to Denver for Seattle’s first exhibition game.
The focus quickly shifted to the backup running back competition between Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.
Turbin, who had four carries for just five yards against Denver, thrashed the Chargers’ defense with 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown — in just the first half. His longest carry, a 47-yard cutback to the left sideline, came in the first quarter.
Michael fumbled what would have been a nine-yard carry in the first quarter, but the Seahawks recovered the ball to retain possession on their opening scoring drive. It was his second fumble in eight carries. He finished Friday’s game with eight carries for 45 yards, but coach Pete Carroll has little patience for fumbles by his running backs — especially ones fighting for places on the roster.
Fill-in Jeron Johnson shines again
If Kam Chancellor wasn’t enough of a threat at strong safety, back-up Jeron Johnson showed the potential to be almost as dangerous.
Johnson, a fourth-year safety from Boise State, started on Friday night in place of Chancellor. At one point, Johnson blitzed from the left of San Diego running back Danny Woodhead and lifted him off his feet for a 3-yard loss.
The play ended the first quarter and drew a familiar roar from Seahawks’ fans. It was Johnson’s only tackle of the night. It was also one of the few times through two exhibition games that Seattle’s mostly base defense has blitzed.
— Fifteen Seahawks sat out of the game, but injured starters Chancellor, Okung and Unger were in uniform and participated in pregame warmups.
— Starting defensive end Michael Bennett was among those sitting out. That opened up ample opportunities for his backups. O’Brien Schofield, battling Benson Mayowa for a job as situational pass rusher, was especially active with three quarterback hits on San Diego second-string quarterback Kellen Clemens in the first half.
Another backup defensive lineman, Greg Scruggs, sacked Clemens in the second quarter. Mayowa and Jordan Hill later teamed up for a sack in the third quarter.
— It was 41-14 into the fourth quarter. And the Seahawks’ lead could have been even larger.
Tharold Simon intercepted a Chargers pass and ran it 103 yards for what would have been a touchdown in the third quarter. But officials called an illegal-contact foul on the second-year cornerback from LSU — even though replays showed little, if any, contact by Simon on San Diego’s receiver.
Still, coaches will take note of Simon’s play and explosive return down the left sideline. It was timely, coming after he got himself ejected last week in Denver for slapping the facemask of a Bronco following a Denver touchdown.
— Undrafted linebacker Brock Coyle from Montana, starting again in place of Bobby Wagner (hamstring), had one tackle and six assists through two-and-a-half quarters. Fellow rookie linebacker Kevin-Pierre Louis had three tackles and two assists.
— The first responders of the Oso mudslide plus those at this summer’s wildfires across much of Eastern Washington raised the 12th Man Flag prior the game. Volunteers for those causes accepted donations outside the stadium prior to the game.