The Seattle Seahawks ripped apart the Los Angeles Chargers 48-17 to get off to a winning start in the 2017 NFL preseason. By preseason standards, this was an entertaining game to watch, with big plays made by both teams (mostly Seattle), and no shortage of Seahawks fans in the Chargers’ temporary home in Carson, where Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy play.
Here are my winners and losers from Sunday’s blowout victory. Not too many real “losers” to point out when the game is 48-17 and the Seahawks didn’t allow a point in the second-half, but we did have a few duds.
That was one hell of a statement made by the former Washington Husky. Williams made four spectacular catches (I believe all of them along the sideline) for a game-high 119 yards. With Amara Darboh apparently injured enough to not play today, and Paul Richardson injuring himself mid-game, Williams stood out among what was a solid all-around day for Seahawks receivers.
Boykin needed to come out of the gates with a strong performance, given the less-than-flattering reviews of him this training camp. The second-year man out of TCU went 12-15 for 189 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, plus a rushing score. His only really bad players were a fumbled exchange with Eddie Lacy and the aforementioned interception, which was a hopeless deep throw to Cyril Grayson Jr. while under pressure. Austin Davis came in late and went 7-9 for 108 yards, so Boykin can’t rest easy just yet, but he was on point and had the offense moving efficiently.
His stat-line won’t look remarkable (7 carries for 19 yards, 1 catch for 3 yards), but he did get into the end zone twice in goal-line situations, and only needed one attempt each time. The same cannot be said for Eddie Lacy (who failed to score at all) or Alex Collins (who did score). I like his vision, his powerful style of running, and he definitely outperformed Collins in the battle to be the fourth RB on the team. Yes, it’s only one game, but I’m eager to see more carries for Chris next week.
I thought the third-round draft pick from North Carolina was far and away the best performer on defense. He was disruptive in the run game, generated a couple of quarterback pressures, and also deflected a Kellen Clemens pass into the arms of Tylor Harris for an interception. With Malik McDowell out indefinitely and Quinton Jefferson inactive tonight, Jones stepped up to the plate nicely.
Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin
Wilhoite’s tight coverage on running back Brandon Oliver forced a tip-drill interception, which fellow linebacker Terence Garvin returned for a touchdown. Garvin did end up in a mismatch with speedster Travis Benjamin on the very next play, but I won’t hold it against him that Benjamin blew past him for the 74-yard TD. I thought both men were productive and closed down on the ball (or ball carrier) quickly. Seattle really pushed for linebacker depth in the offseason and I liked what I saw from these two.
Walsh had multiple touchbacks and didn’t have a single missed field goal or extra point, which is a relief given his struggles in 2016, along with Seattle’s own kicking woes with Steven Hauschka. So far, so good. His next game will be against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Desir just about had a pick-6 on Cardale Jones in the 3rd quarter, and ended the game with a corner blitz strip-sack of Mike Bercovici, after the Chargers made the lame decision to call timeout in an attempt to score in garbage time.
I can forgive him for looking out of his depth at right tackle against Joey Bosa, but unlike Bosa, Ifedi played the entire first-half and I’d be lying if I told you it was good to watch. He gave up multiple pressures and also had a false start penalty (and got away with another). Ifedi had six false starts last season, which was more than anyone else on the team. This was not a good start to Ifedi’s second year.
The fact that he’s once again hurt himself making a catch is extremely discouraging. This is Richardson’s fourth year in Seattle and he’ll once again miss time due to injury, with this one being an AC sprain. He was injury-prone in college and that’s continued into the pros. It sucks to say, but that’s Richardson’s career in a nutshell. You want to be excited that he can be a standout receiver, only for his body to fall apart.
It may have been just one play, but it was the biggest offensive play for either side. He is almost certainly at fault for Travis Benjamin’s 74-yard touchdown. There’s no way Terence Garvin is going to cover Benjamin that far down the field, so Thompson has to be in position to prevent the worst case scenario from happening. The worst case scenario happened for the fourth-round safety out of Colorado. Even in preseason, the Seahawks don’t give up many touchdowns that long, and this was an ugly moment.
I’m probably being a little harsh on Collins but some of this doesn’t necessarily have to do with performance. He was essentially the sixth running back on the depth chart, with Rawls, Lacy, Prosise, Chris Carson, and Mike Davis all getting touches before he did. Collins also dropped a pass that resulted in a turnover on downs. On a positive note, he scored a one-yard touchdown to cap off the scoring for the Seahawks.
The graphics department at KABC in Los Angeles
If you watched on NFL Network like I did, you watched the Chargers broadcast, with Dan Fouts as the analyst. Can someone tell me who the hell Doug Fauts is? This is an abysmal mistake to make.
Some final post-game thoughts:
- Shaquill Griffin had an accidental pass breakup on Tyrell Williams, as the ball hit him in the back and he never turned his head. Earl Thomas closed in on Williams and I was just thankful Seattle’s secondary didn’t have another instance of friendly fire. Philip Rivers did pick on Griffin later in the drive, as Quill tried to cover Antonio Gates in the end zone and was beaten for a touchdown by the future hall-of-famer. No real shame or concern there, and I don’t think Griffin was targeted for the rest of the night.
- Kellen Clemens has no business still being on an NFL roster, let alone the next in line in case Philip Rivers ever has to miss games for the first time in his career.
- While we bemoan yet another Richardson injury, the Chargers likely lost linebacker Denzel Perryman for a very long time after he was carted off with a leg injury. This team is just beyond snakebitten when it comes to key players getting injured.
- I’m not really that bothered by the first-team defense giving up an opening drive touchdown. Yeah it’s a pain that it was one of those long drives in which the Chargers kept converting on third down, but again, it’s game one of preseason.
- Special teams coverage was fantastic, and JD McKissic looked comfortable returning kicks and punts, more so than David Moore.
- Unlucky for Cyril Grayson Jr. to (correctly) have a touchdown taken away from him late in the 3rd quarter. He got himself open in the back of the end zone, jumped up and caught Austin Davis’ pass, but he didn’t get his second foot down.
- Ifedi’s struggles aside, it felt like the Seahawks o-line had a solid day in pass protection but I’d rather rely on more knowledgeable film study guys to be the judge of that. Run-blocking was definitely underwhelming, and the yards per carry tells you all you need to know how that went.
- It’s great to have Seahawks football back.