The Chargers got trounced 41-14 at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks on Friday, and it is easy to pile on and tear down San Diego’s performance. There were a lot of bad plays on both sides of the ball. Seattle sent a warning shot across our bow Friday night, but it was not a direct hit and as much as people say, the ship is not sinking. While everyone is playing their part as Chicken Little, I entrenched myself in game tape this weekend and was able to salvage some good from this otherwise ugly game. Ripping on the Chargers for all the bad plays in this game is easy, but instead, here are some positive things the Chargers can build on.
Melvin Ingram & Corey Liuget
While the box score doesn’t show it, both Ingram and Liuget were in the backfield causing major disruption on Friday. Ingram finished with 3 tackles while Liuget had one, but what did stick out was the defense was put into position to make plays and missed tackles – a theme that plagued the Chargers again in this game. Unfortunately, they both fell down in the backfield after creating holes in Seattle’s offensive line, but were in the right positions to make plays. Hopefully by the time the season starts, these plays can be finished off. It was encouraging to see from these two players the Chargers are going to depend on this year.
Troutman played right guard over Christ Watt to start the game and excelled at run blocking in the first quarter. He communicated well during the whole game in the loud environment at CenturyLink Field. On multiple occasions, Troutman was getting to the second level helping spring Brown and Woodhead for some significant gains. To open the second half, Troutman was moved to left guard while Chris Watt took over at right guard. Last week, Troutman struggled at center, but faired well most of the day at both guard positions. Now, he did missed a block on outside linebacker, Horace Miller, which sprung him for a clean shot at Branden Oliver resulting in a minimal gain. Other than that missed assignment, Johnnie Troutmann stood up a lot better than expected against a stout defense.
As previously mentioned Chris Watt took over at right guard for Johnnie Troutman and won every battle. The encouraging thing to see from the rookie was while he was chipping and helping on double teams, he always had his eyes downfield looking for the next block. Watt put a lot of good things on tape Friday, but where he did struggled the most was at center. He had one bad snap and an almost delay of game penalty that was negated by a Chargers timeout. Obviously, this was his first go at center in game action, but other than cleaning up his snaps, he did block well again at center. You could not have asked for more from the rookie on Friday.
Primarily known as the Chargers special teams’ ace, you’d expect him to recover a punt on the 2-yard line like he did in this game, but where he really shined was playing safety after Jahleel Addae left with an injury. He didn’t finish with a tackle in the game, but Stuckey made maybe the two most significant plays in the game. The first coming on the big hit he laid on Doug Baldwin saving a would-be touchdown, and the second was a knock down on a pass to tight end Cooper Helfet that would’ve been another Seattle first down. Stuckey filled in nicely proving his true versatility.
Other notable mentions:
Williams did not set the edge and over pursued on Russell Wilson. Robert Turbin took the handoff, and ran right by him for his biggest gain of the day. The very next time the ball was ran his way he set the edge and made a nice tackle near the goal line learning from his previous misstep in the game. He finished second on the team in tackles with five.
Marion Grice showed the great vision he displayed in college. He hit the holes hard and finished second among running backs in yards with 17 yards on 3 carries — just ahead of starter Donald Brown who totaled 16 yards on 4 carries. Grice also showed his good hands on his lone catch for five yards. He also proved to be the better kick returner over Branden Oliver this game.
Constantly under pressure, Kellen Clemens showed the poise of a veteran and made a lot of good throws throughout the evening. Clemens had 149 yards on the day and finished with the best QB rating of 118.9. This seems unimaginable since the Seattle offense didn’t have to punt the ball once in the entire game.
Overall, there are some things to be concerned about, but it is still just preseason. We can’t truly assess the weaknesses until the regular season version of the Chargers have a go at it in Arizona September 8th.