CARSON, Calif. — The Seahawks’ starters — most of them, anyway — played one half against the Los Angeles Chargers in Saturday night’s preseason game.
Which was fitting because it was a game in which it felt like for every good thing that happened there also was something bad in what ultimately turned into a 24-14 loss for the Seahawks. Seattle trailed 21-6 before scoring its only offensive touchdown with 4:31 remaining on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Alex McGough to Malik Turner to make the score a little more respectable.
Here’s a review:
Receiver David Moore might have sewn up a roster spot. The second-year receiver had a two-catch sequence in the second quarter that served as the offensive highlight of the game for Seattle — a 52-yard catch plucked between two defenders and a 19-yarder on the next play to take the ball to the Los Angeles 1.
“A couple of unbelievable plays,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
And that leads us to our second “good” of the game for the Seahawks …
Seattle hit big plays in the passing game. Quarterback Russell Wilson looked aggressively downfield throughout the first half, hitting 13 of 21 passes for a whopping 193 yards.
Along with Moore making two catches for 71 yards in the first half, Jaron Brown had two receptions for 74 yards, including a 29-yarder on the first play of the game on a play-action pass after Wilson faked to running back Chris Carson. It’s the kind of play the Seahawks view as a foundation of what they hope their offense will look like in 2018.
Brown’s spot on the roster already seemed assured. But his performance against the Chargers helped reiterate the kind of impact he may be able to make this season.
Rasheem Green again strong as defensive line settled down after shaky start. The Chargers drove 70 yards in nine plays the first time they had the ball, with quarterback Philip Rivers hitting all four of his pass attempts for 41 yards. Tedric Thompson, getting his second start at free safety with Earl Thomas holding out, was beaten on two consecutive plays for gains of 14 and 13 yards that helped get the Chargers close (Maurice Alexander got a lot of work in the first half and the Seahawks might look more closely at an Alexander/Bradley McDougald safety pairing this week).
The Chargers also rushed for 43 yards on eight carries in the first quarter when they had their starters in throughout.
But the Seahawks stiffened against the run in the second quarter, when Chargers’ starting running back, Melvin Gordon, was held to 4 yards on four carries.
Again playing particularly well was rookie end Rasheem Green, who had a tackle-for-loss for 5 yards of Detrez Newsome in the third quarter. Green later had a sack in the fourth quarter, giving him three in two preseason games.
“That really jumps out at you,” Carroll said of Green’s sacks. “He looks really aggressive and very skilled in his pass rush.”
Instead of the solidifying right tackle spot, Germain Ifedi raised more concerns. Ifedi had huge struggles in playing the entire first half. He was beaten several times by Chargers’ standout end Melvin Ingram, who wasn’t listed for any sacks but helped force two.
Ifedi’s struggles seemed to intensity after right guard D.J. Fluker went out with a finger injury (which Fluker said later is minor and shouldn’t keep him out long, if at all), with Jordan Roos replacing Fluker. The Chargers seemed to tee off on that side of the line.
Seattle doesn’t appear to have any realistic alternatives to compete with Ifedi at the moment short of moving someone from another position. Backup Willie Beavers struggled as mightily as did Ifedi, and the two players who might have been the biggest competitors for the job — rookie Jamaro Jones and Isaiah Battle — are out with injuries. Jones may be done for the season after undergoing ankle surgery this week in Green Bay. Battle sprained a knee last week against the Colts and while it’s not considered serious, he did not practice this week and it’s unclear when he will return.
Seattle struggles in red zone. Due largely to Wilson’s passing, the Seahawks moved inside the Chargers’ 15 on their first three drives. But the Seahawks were held to field goals on their first two drives and the third evaporated when Carson fumbled the ball away at the 1. Carson has had a strong camp overall and started well Saturday with 31 yards on four carries in the first quarter. But it goes without saying that fumbles, especially at the goal line, are unacceptable.
“A horrible thing to do,” Carroll said of the Carson fumble. “Chris ran the ball really well but it gets clouded because he gave the ball up inside the 1.”
Seattle appeared to have a touchdown on its first series when Carson broke two tackles to scamper into the end zone from 23 yards out. But the touchdown was called back because of an illegal block above the waist on rookie tight end Will Dissly.
Punt team gives up a long return. The Chargers got their second touchdown on a 72-yard punt return by J.J. Jones to take a 14-6 lead. The return came on a 57-yard punt by Jon Ryan in which rookie Jacob Martin and then second-year safety Delano Hill missed tackle attempts. One other possible factor? The punt didn’t seem to have quite the hang time of an earlier punt by rookie Michael Dickson. Dickson appears to have a comfortable edge on the punting job — that he held for presumed No. 1 kicker Sebastian Janikowski was telling — and depending on how the coaches view what happened on the return he might have taken another big step toward earning the spot.