Clayton: The good — and bad — from the Seahawks’ preseason loss to the Chargers
Preseason game No. 2 was a little step back for the Seahawks – but that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Resets for young teams usually have some growing pains. The 24-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers mixed the good and the bad. Let’s examine.
• Key mistakes on offense changed what could have been a Seahawks win. Will Dissly’s illegal block nullified a 23-yard Chris Carson touchdown run, although it was a curious call because it was on the far side of the field away from the play. Carson later lost a fumble at the Chargers 1-yard-line. The first team offense moved the ball well but drives stalled on goal line situations. Still, all these things are fixable.
• The most impressive part of the evening was Russell Wilson’s ability to drive the ball downfield. He completed 13 of 21 pass attempts for 193 yards. Last year’s offense couldn’t generate drives in the first half. This time around, Wilson was able to establish a solid running game and set up effective play-action passes. The offense was particularly effective on first-down, which also wasn’t the case last year.
• Chris Carson continues to be impressive as the starting running back. He had nine carries for 34 yards, and that doesn’t include the 23-yard touchdown run that was called back. Later in the game, C.J. Prosise made some tough runs and showed he might be too good of a running back to lose in the cutdown to 53.
• Right tackle Germain Ifedi continued to struggle with this pass-blocking. He had big problems holding back Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram. Because of injuries, Ifedi doesn’t have a lineman to challenge him until Isaiah Battle is able to return from a sprained knee.
• The defense had trouble stopping Philip Rivers at quarterback. Rivers attacked the Seahawks using good rhythm with the play-calling. He took the opening touchdown drive 70 yards on nine plays and completed six of seven passes for 62 yards. In a conference loaded with top-flight quarterbacks, the Seahawks defense can learn from this game and try to tighten up coverage and run-stopping. The Chargers are a much better team than the Indianapolis Colts, so this game was a good one show where the defense is.
• Seventh-round choice Alex McGough helped his chances of beating out Austin Davis with a great performance in the fourth quarter. His 59-yard touchdown drive was impressive. He opened with a 39-yard completion to Cyril Grayson. He hit Malik Turner with a perfect fade pass for a 12-yard touchdown. His two-point conversion throw to Grayson was on the money. McGough struggled in the first two weeks of training camp, but he said after this game that he felt more relaxed Saturday night and just played football instead of thinking too much.
• The draft class continues to excel. I know he’s beating backups, but defensive lineman Rasheem Green has been pretty much unblockable on pass plays. He had his second sack-and-a-half game and had four quarterback hits and two tackles for losses against the Chargers. Shaquem Griffin continues to build a case to get some playing time in the nickel with his ability to chase down plays and cover. Cornerback Tre Flowers looks good in coverage. Michael Dickson is amazing as a punter; he boomed a 57-yard punt to the Chargers 10-yard-line and placed it on the sidelines where the returner could only catch the ball and go out of bounds.
• Jaron Brown and David Moore made big catches and appear to be locks to make the team. Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Brown, Moore and Brandon Marshall have all but locked up the top five receiver spots, leaving a big battle for the sixth wide receiver job that may come down to which receiver is the best on special teams.
• Austin Calitro is emerging as the team’s backup middle linebacker. The Seahawks will probably keep six linebackers.