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Seahawks 23 Chargers 15: Winners and Losers from the penultimate week of preseason

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NFL: Preseason-Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

We’re almost there! Preseason is almost over and the Seattle Seahawks came away relatively unscathed against the Los Angeles Chargers, winning 23-15 and avoiding catastrophic injuries in the process. Perhaps most comforting was the relative lack of penalties, with only 12 accepted, otherwise I’d be writing this column up at midnight pacific time.

Let’s get to Winners and Losers!

Winners

The Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett connection

One underthrown deep ball aside, the Wilson-to-Locket combo remains kickass. They turned 2nd and 17 into a first down, then off the play-action rollout, Lockett was wide open for 33 more yards. I am eager to see how Lockett fares as the unquestioned #1 WR and getting a presumptive rise in targets from the 70 he received in the 2018 regular season.

The running backs

Collectively, the running backs ran for 124 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns. Chris Carson was as powerful and bullying as ever. Rashaad Penny was admittedly not very effective (11 touches for 37 yards) but had a touchdown and a good third-down catch-and-run that set up the TD. C.J. Prosise had a touchdown of his own and a quality night’s work, which meant a lot to him given his injury history... his talent has never been the issue, it’s his durability. J.D. McKissic had a 4th down conversion, Travis Homer ran hard, it was an overall great night at the office for the RBs.

Offensive line

Albeit versus almost no regular Chargers starters, the pass-blocking was on point and the running lanes were available all night. I was particularly impressed with Ethan Pocic at left guard, as he seemed much improved from previous seasons. Joey Hunt also had a great goal-line block on Prosise’s TD. Isn’t it good not to be fretting about the o-line for a change?

John Ursua

He has to make this team. The Hawaiian had two catches for 52 yards and, dare I say it, looked a little bit like Doug Baldwin out there. Ursua appears pro ready — route-running, shiftiness, open field movement, etc. — and I really want to see him in regular season play getting targets from Russell Wilson.

Geno Smith

Smith played much better than he did against the Denver Broncos, and rushed for a touchdown that gave Seattle significant daylight in the 2nd half. Paxton Lynch may have had a decent start to the backup competition, but Geno was a winner last week without even playing, and he’s the clear frontrunner entering Week 4.

Jacob Martin

He’s got a great motor and his speed is an asset both as a rusher and as a coverage guy. That being said, I would like to see him in coverage as infrequently as possible.

Ugo Amadi

The muffed punt aside, Amadi looked stellar on defense, leading with six tackles that were not empty stats at all. He is versatile as a blitzer, cover corner out of the slot, and he’s a sound tackler. Not only is he going to make the team, but he has value both on defense and as a special teams gunner, and I would love for him to be what Walter Thurmond III couldn’t quite consistently become due to injuries.

Shaquill Griffin

Griffin had some horseshit holding penalty called on him and that was the only blip he really had. He had a third-down pass defensed in tight coverage, along with multiple impressive open field tackles in run support. Given Shaq’s struggles in 2018 and in last week’s game against the Vikings, this was a nice showing for the team’s #1 corner.

Losers

Gary Jennings Jr

Jennings was unlucky not to get two feet down on a deep ball from Geno Smith, but he also had a really bad blindside block penalty that cost the Seahawks 15 yards of field position. That might have been legal last year, but it’s not legal now. He finished the night with a single catch for 12 yards on three targets. I think he’ll make the team, he’s just having a rough go of things in camp and preseason.

Base pass rush

Still a problem. Jacob Martin aside, all of the other quarterback pressures and the lone sack of the game were coming from blitzes. This isn’t a surprise, it’s also not totally time for a panic knowing Ziggy Ansah is expected to return soon. Unfortunately, I see Ken Norton needing to send extra men at the QB quite frequently to compensate for the lack of provan pass-rushing depth on the d-line.

Elijah Nkansah

The sack he gave up sums up his preseason, and there’s almost no way he’s making the 53-man roster.

Michael Dickson

Ugly night for the Aussie punt god. He had a touchback on a short field, a shank (caught by Pete Carroll), and then a 45-yarder from his own end zone that bounced back towards Seattle’s side of the field. Get those bad punts out now, Michael!