By John Boyle Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Quarterback Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks’ starters were dominant, and while the backups were slightly less impressive — a very impressive Terrelle Pryor run notwithstanding — they were good enough to allow the Seahawks to cruise to a 41-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Friday night.
The CenturyLink Field crowd, announced as 67,615, wasn’t quite as raucous as it was for Seattle’s last home game — an NFC Championship game thriller against San Francisco — but it was very impressive for Week 2 of the preseason.
With Wilson and the rest of the starting offense — minus center Max Unger and left tackle Russell Okung — the Seahawks scored on each of their first four possessions to build a 24-0 lead. Wilson completed 11 of 13 attempts for 121 yards, good for a 105.4 passer rating, and those numbers don’t show how many times he eluded pressure to keep plays alive. Wilson also rushed for 31 yards on four carries, including a pair of touchdown runs.
Seattle’s starting defense was equally impressive — though the Chargers did pull starting quarterback Philip Rivers after one possession — allowing just 42 yards and three first downs on three possessions.
The Chargers put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive on Seattle’s backups to end the first half, which is hardly an ideal result considering Carroll singled out his backup defense a day earlier as something that needs to improve. Those backups allowed a Chargers touchdown in the third quarter as well, though that came a play after a somewhat dubious illegal contact call negated a 105-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tharold Simon.
The Seahawks answered that touchdown with one of the more impressive displays of athleticism seen this preseason when quarterback Terrelle Pryor scored on a 44-yard run. Chargers safety Darrell Stuckey should have been in position to end the play after a modest gain, but he misjudged Pryor’s speed, took a bad angle and Pryor was gone.
Pryor is battling with Tarvaris Jackson, who was given the night off, for the backup job. However, plays like Pryor’s run could help convince the Seahawks to keep a third quarterback if he can’t beat Jackson for the No. 2 job.
B.J. Daniels capped Seattle’s scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run, giving the Seahawks five rushing touchdowns, four of them from quarterbacks.
A bit more of what stood out for the Seahawks:
— While Christine Michael has received a lot of preseason hype, Robert Turbin currently looks like the better running back. Turbin, along with Wilson, was the star of the first half, rushing for 81 yards and a score on 12 carries. His performance included a 47-yard run with Seattle pinned deep in its own end and eventually led to a field goal.
Michael, meanwhile, showed plenty explosiveness as a ball carrier, but he also fumbled for the second time in as many games. Neither fumble led to a turnover, and in fact he recovered his own fumble after a nice run in this game. But for a player trying to earn more carries, being careless with the ball is the worst thing Michael can do when he plays for Carroll, who preaches an “It’s all about the ball” philosophy.
Running back Marshawn Lynch did play, but he was on the field for just two plays and did not carry the ball.
— Cliff Avril and O’Brien Schofield both were a handful for San Diego’s offensive line. Schofield and Benson Mayowa could well be battling for one roster spot, and right now Mayowa has some catching up to do. Mayowa did combine for a sack with Michael Morgan, but Schofield was a constant nuisance in the backfield with two sacks, a tackle for a loss on a running play and a couple more quarterback hits.
— A week after committing 13 penalties in Denver, the Seahawks were called for just three for 25 yards in the first half. With illegal contact and defensive holding a point of emphasis this year, Seahawks defensive backs went six quarters into the preseason without drawing a flag before Jeremy Lane was penalized for illegal contact.
— Earl Thomas as a punt returner appears to be a bit of an adventure so far. He had one return for five yards, let one punt go and had a fair catch on one. Bryan Walters, meanwhile, helped his chances of making the team with some solid work on both kick and punt returns, most notably his 22-yard punt return that set up a 55-yard Steven Hauschka field goal.
— Rookie right tackle Justin Britt struggled at times, particularly on Seattle’s second drive, after which he got an earful from OL coach Tom Cable. He’s still leading Eric Winston in the battle for that starting job, but has room to grow.
— Percy Harvin will be a big part of Seattle’s offense. That’s not a surprise, but what perhaps was unexpected was how much he played in Friday’s game, catching four passes for 31 yards and playing most of the first half. Last week, he was on the field for only one play even though many starters played well into the second quarter.