Seahawks players watch from a distance as Chargers defensive back Desmond King II returns a fourth-quarter interception for a touchdown Sunday at CenturyLink Field. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seahawks players watch from a distance as Chargers defensive back Desmond King II returns a fourth-quarter interception for a touchdown Sunday at CenturyLink Field. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seahawks were their own worst enemies in loss to Chargers

Penalties, sacks and poor execution stalled Seattle’s offense for much of the afternoon.

SEATTLE — Seattle’s first drive of the day was truly masterful, a thing of beauty.

The last two series also were impressive.

But in between was a long, frustrating exhibition of poor execution and self-inflicted wounds that ultimately spelled doom as the Seahawks lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 25-17 in an NFL game Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

“We’re a really good football team when we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” Seattle center Justin Britt said.

“We knew that we were going to have to be on top of our game offensively, and I feel like we were,” Britt said. “But when we were, we would still kind of shoot ourselves in the foot with some bad penalties.”

Seattle received the opening kickoff and rolled down the field like a freight train. The 13-play, 75-yard drive featured the running of Chris Carson and some well-timed throws from Russell Wilson, and it consumed more than eight minutes off the clock.

It was the stuff of coach Pete Carroll’s dreams, and it felt like an extension of last week’s total domination of Detroit.

But for the next two and half quarters, Seattle’s offense went stone cold.

The Seahawks (4-4) tried to be generous with praise toward the Chargers (6-2), but it always came with a disclaimer.

“We kind of got in our own way, I felt, a lot more than that,” Carroll said when asked how the Chargers adjusted their defense after Seattle’s opening drive. “But give them credit. They did a good job.”

Seattle’s second series was ruined by a quarterback sack. The third was a standard three-and-out. A senseless offensive pass interference penalty killed the next series, and a poor throw by Wilson on a simple in route to Tyler Lockett ended the one after that.

The Seahawks produced a field goal in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but then it was back into the wasteland to start the second half.

Wilson badly underthrew a wide open Jaron Brown on what would have been a huge gain if not a touchdown to open the second half. Penalties and sacks ruined the next two drives, and the next series was the worst of all as Los Angeles cornerback Desmond King II intercepted Wilson and returned the ball 42 yards for a touchdown.

That made the score 25-10 with 6:44 remaining in the game, and while Seattle very nearly completed a miraculous comeback, the narrative was more about the futility in the middle of the game than it was about the near-miss at the end.

Wilson completed 26 of 39 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and the one interception, which isn’t a bad stat line for an NFL quarterback.

But he missed a handful of open receivers, and he was sacked four times, all of which disrupted drives.

As for penalties, the Seahawks had 10 of them, many at inopportune times.

In the second quarter, a needless offensive pass interference penalty by David Moore wiped out a first down inside the red zone, and the Seahawks missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. Personal foul and holding penalties on Britt and J.R. Sweezy negated other big gains.

And, perhaps most critical of all, Sweezy was called for a false start before the final play of the game, pushing Seattle back from the 1-yard line to the 6.

That took running plays off the table and allowed Los Angeles to gear up to defend the pass.

Carroll questioned the false start call on Sweezy.

“We got flinched at by the defensive lineman, and then we jumped,” Carroll said. “The officials didn’t see it that way, but you’ll see it. I don’t know if that was enough to cause the penalty to go the other way, but they flinched and drew us offside. They got it done. They won that exchange.”

There were also some penalties that might not have been called on another day by another officiating crew. In particular, the personal foul on Britt and another one on guard D.J. Fluker seemed rather innocent by NFL standards.

Britt said as much, but he also suggested that the Seahawks should have been prepared for that from the officiating crew led by first-year referee Shawn Hochuli.

“We’ve got to pay more attention to that and be more aware of what kind of refs we have,” Britt said.

“Every ref crew, they have their own tendencies,” he said. “Some will call holding more than others. Some will call the extra stuff, which, by rule, is within the rules, but what they call is what they call. They’re the ones that have the flags.”

Seattle tight end Nick Vannett agreed.

“We had a lot of false starts, a lot of ticky-tack stuff,” Vannett said. “They were calling a lot of stuff today, unfortunately. That’s just the way it goes.”

To be fair, it went both ways as the Chargers were penalized 12 times for 105 yards. But somehow those penalties seemed to be less critical to the flow of the game.

Still, if the Seahawks had been just a little sharper and a touch more consistent on offense in the middle stages of the game, the outcome might very well have been different.

And that will have to happen for the Seahawks to remain a playoff contender.

“We just didn’t play our cleanest football,” Seattle tackle Duane Brown said.

“That’s a good football team,” Brown said of the Chargers. “We’ve got a lot of good football teams the rest of the schedule. It’s not enough to just be physical. You have to be clean. You have to play smart football, so that’s what we have to work on.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks to quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 31-23.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Reports show growing divide between Wilson, Seahawks

But despite the star quarterback’s apparent unhappiness, a trade in 2021 remains unlikely.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips release abbreviated 24-game schedule

Everett will open its season against Spokane at Angel of the Winds Arena on March 20.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert passes the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga’s Kispert finalist for Erving Award

The Edmonds native is among the final five to be the top small forward in college basketball.

Quarterback Tanner Jellison runs a play with running backs Jay Roughton, left, and Trayce Hanks as the Lake Stevens High School football team conducts its first practice, marking the first day of practice for fall sports in the Wesco division, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Wesco high school sports teams’ long layoff finally ends

For the first time in more than 450 days, Wesco fall athletes gathered for official practices.

Arizona Diamondbacks' Travis Snider singles against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Community sports roundup: Ex-Jackson star Snider joins Braves

Plus, a former Monroe QB is excelling at Whitworth, the Silvertips sign a former T-bird, and more.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
L.A. sheriff calls Tiger Woods crash ‘purely an accident’

Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talks about the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano, before the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Seattle. Cano was suspended 80 games for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners doing damage control with players after Mather’s video

GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais say the players involved have every right to be upset.

Most Read