The San Diego Chargers hit the road for the first time in 2014, but the end result was not as hoped as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 41-14.
The Bolts won the opening toss and per usual, opted to defer. A Russell Wilson third-down pass to Percy Harvin followed by a pair of Robert Turbin runs moved the ball into San Diego territory. An extremely controversial pass interference penalty against Brandon Flowers in the end zone gave the Seahawks the ball at doorstep, and one play later Robert Turbin ran off the left guard for a touchdown and 7-0 lead. With Ryan Mathews getting the game off, Donald Brown started at tailback and took the opening two carries nine and a half yards. Danny Woodhead then burrowed ahead for a yard on third down to move the chains. Three plays later, Philip Rivers hit Malcom Floyd at midfield for M-80’s first catch in nearly a year, and it was good for a first down. Unfortunately the Bolts weren’t able to pick up their third consecutive first down, and Mike Scifres came on to boot a perfect 41-yard punt that Darrell Stuckey downed at the two-yard line. On second down, Turbin burst outside for a 47-yard gain, and two plays later Wilson scrambled to the San Diego 26-yard line. A terrific pair of plays by Melvin Ingram brought up 3rd-and-9, and the Chargers stood strong as Donald Butler brought Harvin down to limit the damage to a 38-yard field goal with 42 seconds remaining. The first quarter came to a close with the Bolts trailing 10-0 as Kellen Clemens took over at quarterback.
San Diego went three-and-out and punted back to the home team to start the second quarter just shy of midfield. Wilson hit his tight end Zach Miller over the middle to the two-yard line, and the Seahawks took a 17-0 lead when the quarterback kept it on a read-option and ran one yard to the right side. Clemens dealt with strong pressure by the Seahawks defense, and after a false-start penalty, the offense wasn’t able to pick up a 3rd-and-20. Many of a San Diego’s defensive starters went to the sideline, yet Wilson and the Seahawks first string offense remained on the field. He led another touchdown drive, culminating with a five-yard scramble on third down for a 24-0 lead. The Chargers offense got into a rhythm as Clemens hit John Phillips and Floyd for a pair of nifty first downs near midfield. Woodhead then weaved his way into Seattle territory as we reached the two-minute warning. On 3rd-and-9, Ladarius Green snared a 14-yard pass to move the ball on the cusp of the red zone, and then moved them to the 13-yard line on his second catch of the game. The Chargers got on the board when Keenan Allen worked his way wide open in the back of the end zone, making the score 24-7 to end the half.
The Chargers began the second half with a pair of third down conversions by undrafted free agents. First Javontee Herndon made a diving catch over the middle before Branden Oliver powered his way over the middle. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to convert their third when Clemens was sacked, and Chase Tenpenny’s punt was returned 22-yards into Bolts territory. Terrelle Pryor’s pass on 3rd-and-9 fell incomplete when Stuckey jarred it loose, but Steven Hauschka drilled a 55-yard field goal to give the home team a 27-7 advantage. Dontrelle Inman and Herndon made a pair of tough catches, each good for first downs. Then Seyi Ajirotutu caught a pretty rainbow that fell in a short window by Kellen Clemens for a 26-yard gain to the Seattle 29-yard line. Tevin Reese had a nine-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-3 to put the Chargers in the red zone, and an illegal contact flag on the Seahawks made it 1st-and-goal. Clemens then threw his second TD of the game, finding Jake Byrne in the back of the end zone to make it 27-14 to end the third quarter.
Seattle quickly faced a 4th-and-1 at midfield and converted when Kiero Small rushed for five yards. Two plays later Pryor weaved his way into the end zone as his 44-yard run pushed their lead to 34-14. Brad Sorensen relieved Clemens for the remainder of the game with just over 11:00 to go in the fourth. He completed his first pass to Byrne, then Marion Grice had a strong run inside to pick up a first down. Unfortunately Sorensen was sacked when Terrell Thomas blitzed off the edge and the Bolts eventually had to punt. Quarterback B.J. Daniels entered in at quarterback for the Seahawks and found tight end RaShaun Allen for 24-yards. Two plays later, Daniels found wide receiver Chris Matthews for 10-yards which took the 'Hawks to the Chargers' 15. After two runs from fullback Spencer Ware, the Chargers defense couldn't defend Daniels' quarterback keeper touchdown. With just over four minutes remaining in the game, the Seahawks increased their lead 41-14. Sorensen was sacked on his first play off the Seattle touchdown but found Grice on the next play through the air for a gain of five. Despite finding tight end Michael Flacco for eight, the Chargers punted and the Seahawks ran the clock out in victory formation to end the game.
The Chargers trailed 10-0 early in the second quarter with the Seahawks poised to add to their lead. Instead of limiting the damage to a field goal and keeping it a two score game, Russell Wilson kept the ball on a read-option on third down to make it 17-0. The home team never looked back on their way to the 41-14 victory.
It was Over When…
Trailing by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks faced 4th-and-inches at midfield. Any hope of a Chargers comeback was derailed when Seattle not only picked up the first down, but two plays later, Terrelle Pryor ran 44-yards through the defense for the game sealing touchdown.
Play of the Game
Keenan Allen showed his knack for getting open late in the first half when he breezed into the back of the end zone. Kellen Clemens fired a bullet that Allen corralled to give the Bolts their first points of the game.
Stat of the Game
The Chargers were most angry following the game where they didn’t force a punt. Seattle failed to score on two drives – when they ran out the clock at the end of each half.
“(Little mistakes) are critical against a good football team. And this is a good football team. They were the last ones on the podium last year for a reason. We’ve got to do a better job. It starts with me as the head coach. We’ve got to do a better job coaching and a better job playing.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy
“Seeing those young receivers reminded me of me last year trying to make plays and get noticed. They moved the ball and made plays. So that was great to see.” –Wide Receiver Keenan Allen
“It felt good to be out there with the first team and get those touches. I just need to build off this like the team does. We’ll go back, learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward.” – Running Back Donald Brown
“It was good to play because it was my first game since November 30. So it’s been a while and felt good to compete against guys you want to beat up a little bit. I think that’s what kind of makes it the most fun. Obviously I wish we won, but it was good game experience for sure.” – Guard/Center Chris Watt
“It was bittersweet to have my first reception in a while because we lost. At the same time I got to contribute a little bit. I just wasn’t able to contribute enough to get us a win.” –Wide Receiver Malcom Floyd
Odds and Ends
Seattle outgained the Chargers 403 to 238 with a 243 to 78 edge on the ground. Both teams recorded 160 yards through the air.
Kellen Clemens impressed once again, completing 14 of 21 attempts for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Philip Rivers was 2-for-4 while Brad Sorensen finished 3-for-4.
Malcom Floyd led all receivers with two catches for 30 yards.
Danny Woodhead paced the running backs with six carries for 24 yards.
Manti Te’o led the defense with six tackles.
The Chargers completed 19 passes to 14 different receivers.
San Diego was a perfect 2-for-2 in the red zone.
Seahawks’ quarterbacks ran for 99 yards with four rushing touchdowns.
Mike Scifres handled kickoffs in the first half.