Sun Aug 25 1:16am ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, left, scores past Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Nick Dzubnar during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Andre Patton, left, scores past Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jamar Taylor during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Sean Culkin, right, is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jamar Taylor during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny scores against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is tackled by Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Russell Wilson directed a pair of first-half touchdown drives, and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Chargers 23-15 on Saturday night.
Wilson was 6 of 9 for 73 yards. He has directed the Seahawks to a pair of TDs and a field goal in five possessions in two preseason games.
The Seahawks (2-1) were at their own 38 to start the second quarter when Wilson connected for 20- and 30-yard completions to Tyler Lockett. On fourth-and-1 from the Los Angeles 3, Rashaad Penny barreled into the end zone to put Seattle up 7-3 with 11:30 remaining.
Wilson, who had 31 yards rushing on three carries, took advantage of a short field on the next possession after the Chargers turned it over on downs. He threw an 18-yard pass to Jaron Brown on second-and-18 to move Seattle to the Los Angeles 31. Four plays later, C.J. Prosise went up the middle from a yard out to extend the lead to 13-3.
Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen did not suit up for a third straight game, with Chargers coach Anthony Lynn sticking to his pre-training camp plan of resting his veterans. With Melvin Gordon continuing to hold out, the running game struggled as Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 23 yards on nine carries.
The offensive line also continued to have its difficulties. Tyrod Taylor was on the run most of the time, finishing 6 of 9 for 61 yards in three possessions. Taylor also was the Chargers' leading rusher with 34 yards on six carries.
Easton Stick led the Chargers to a pair of scores in the fourth quarter to get them within eight. Los Angeles (0-3) had the ball late in the fourth but the drive stalled on its 48 when a wide-open Justice Liggins slipped on a pass on fourth-and-10.
BACKUP QB BATTLES
Former Charger Geno Smith was 11 for 18 for 117 yards as he battles Paxton Lynch for the Seahawks' backup spot. Smith also ran for a 9-yard TD during the third quarter to put Seattle up 23-3.
Cardale Jones and Stick are competing for the Chargers' third spot. Jones, who was 4 of 5 for 50 yards, has played well the last two games while Stick bounced back after struggling last week against New Orleans.
The fifth-round pick accounted for Los Angeles' only touchdown with an 8-yard strike to Andre Patton with 9:26 remaining. Stick then ran around right end from 4 yards out on the next drive to get the Chargers within 23-15.
The teams combined for three missed extra points. Los Angeles' Ty Long was 0 for 2, going wide left and having another blocked.
Lynn has tried to give his beleaguered offensive line some confidence by going for it on short yardage on fourth down in two preseason games, but it has backfired. The Chargers went for it twice against the Seahawks and came up empty as Seattle converted the missed opportunities into nine points.
''I'm really disappointed in the fourth-and-1s. Those are `gotta have it' situations,'' Lynn said at halftime. ''We were No. 1 in the league last year in that category. We're a little behind right now.''
Seahawks: Conclude the preseason by hosting Oakland on Thursday night.
Chargers: Travel to San Francisco on Thursday night for their preseason finale.
Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright had to be visited by the trainers after Alvin Kamara's touchdown run on Sunday, but he told the media after the game that he was fine. Wright said he just got the wind knocked out of him, and he should be good to go. That's a breath of fresh air for Seattle, who were saddled with their first loss of the season. Though New Orleans tallied 33 points, nowhere near all the blame hangs on the defense since 14 of those points were scored on a scoop-and-score fumble and a punt return. The Seattle defense did struggle to contain Kamara, but that's hardly a rare problem. With the whole squad healthy, the Seahawks Defense should be pretty solid moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly was on the right end of a reception once again as he was the chosen one for the team's final garbage-time touchdown of the game on Sunday. Dissly was targeted seven times, caught six passes, and tallied 62 yards in the game, exact copies of his season stats coming into the matchup. The rainy conditions seemed to make Dissly more appealing to quarterback Russell Wilson, and it looks like he trusts that Dissly is a solid release valve when he finds himself in trouble. Be wary of Seattle's knack for letting certain receivers go to rot quickly after they look great, but for now, Dissly could be a real part of the offense moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf continued his impressive run on Sunday as he snagged a 54-yard bomb just before halftime. Metcalf was a little quieter the rest of the day, partially due to rain and constant slipping on the field, but he's now caught a pass of 25+ yards in all three games of his young career. Metcalf was targeted six times in the game, and while he only caught two of the passes, he at least made those ones count. The coaching staff seems to love having Metcalf across from Tyler Lockett, so it looks like he's in for a pretty solid year as the team's No. 2 receiver.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore finally got into the action for the first time on Sunday, but he only caught one pass on the afternoon. As expected, Moore's catch was a nifty one that featured him coming back and around a defender to be able to reach the wet, slippery ball, but the lack of chances continues to limit his potential. Moore was initially pegged as the team's likely No. 2 receiver, but it looks like everyone's infatuated with D.K. Metcalf so far, so Moore's looking more like he'll be battling for table scraps. His incredible acrobatics will allow him to make highlight reels often, but it doesn't look like he'll be hitting box scores as regularly.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson busted a big 23-yard bruiser of a run early in Sunday's game against the Saints, but after that, he was nearly silent. Carson finished with just 15 carries for 53 yards and one reception out of the backfield. Carson's lack of use was due to a combination of the score, where Seattle was getting pounded for the majority of the game, and a costly fumble that turned into a defensive touchdown in the first half. This is the third game in a row where Carson has coughed up the ball in a terrible way, and that's a bad sign for his long-term prospects in Seattle.
Given the chance to be the team's No. 2 for the week, Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise didn't make much noise. With running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) out on Sunday, Prosise got his chance to remind everyone why Seattle has put up with his annual injuries. Instead, he tallied just five yards on four carries. He did catch five passes out of the backfield to rack up 38 yards, but most of that came on one 21-yarder. Penny's injury isn't considered serious, and he's currently expected to play in Week 4. For now, it looks like Prosise will continue to have to sit tight because he's not putting any pressure on anyone ahead of him in the depth chart.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett had the biggest receiving day of his NFL career on Sunday as he caught 11 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in the team's loss to New Orleans. He also just missed a second touchdown pass on an errant throw that was a little out of his reach. Lockett came up huge for quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks throughout the game, snagging balls left and right to keep the team in it when they were down big. The game doubled up Lockett's catches and targets on the season, and he's now averaging more than 90 yards receiving per game. Lockett looks like he's well on his way to topping 1,000 yards this season, and he should have a handful of touchdowns in the bank as well.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson put up huge numbers in Sunday's loss against the Saints. Wilson completed 32 passes on 50 attempts for 406 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times and ran in a pair of touchdowns, including one where he straight muscled through a Saints defender. The explosion of passing attempts was due to the fact that Seattle trailed by a hefty margin for the majority of the game after a series of bad breaks early on. That said, this is the second straight game where Wilson has tallied up sizable QB numbers. Perhaps Seattle is willing to let him use some of his magic moving forward.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin had a step on two defenders with two minutes left and the team trailing by seven points, but he couldn't hold on to the throw that hit him in both hands. Quarterback Philip Rivers had laid it out in the perfect spot where only Benjamin could reach it, but it was gone in an instant as it started to slip out of his hands and a slap on the elbow from a Texans defender ensured it couldn't be snagged. Instead, Benjamin finished with just two catches for five yards, and the Chargers fell to 1-2 on the season.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane got after quarterback Deshaun Watson on Sunday and was able to nail down his third career sack as a member of the Chargers organization. Mebane is in his fourth year with the team, and he's now garnered 18.5 sacks in his 13-year career. Unfortunately, the work of Mebane and the rest of the Chargers Defense wasn't up to the task as the team fell to the Texans. The Chargers defense has shown a real difficulty in making halftime adjustments so far, as they've been nailed for 45 points in the second halves of their three games this year while only giving up 21 points in the first halves. Conditioning is one of the things that can be drained by injuries, so perhaps this is related to the missing members.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams caught three passes for 45 yards on Sunday, including a critical one to give the team a chance to tie the game right at the end. Unfortunately, the team fell short. Williams has clearly shown he's got the talent to succeed in the NFL, but it's becoming clear that quarterback Philip Rivers' rapport with Keenan Allen is going to trump just about everything else. Williams is still a big body that can get open, but Rivers is clearly looking Allen's way on every route. At this point, it appears Williams is entirely dependent on catching an odd TD here and there.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had the best game of his career on Sunday against the Texans as he amassed a whopping 183 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Allen was targeted 17 times and caught 13 of the passes, but it wasn't enough to lead the Chargers to victory. Allen's two touchdowns included a 12-yard score that featured a nifty juke to get around a defender, and he's now accumulated three touchdowns dramatically faster than in any other season. With the Dolphins on the horizon, Allen could be on his way to a career year.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson got a few more chances on Sunday in the passing game, but he did nothing with them. Jackson was thrown four passes this week while he hadn't been thrown more than a single one in either of the other two games this year, but he totaled a whopping four yards on those completions. He also only ran the ball five times, the fewest times in a game this year, but he still averaged more than 5.0 YPC. Jackson is clearly playing second fiddle, but the team's offensive gameplan in this game seemed lost anyway. Hopefully, they can right the ship, and he can get back to the change-of-pace role where he excels.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett had just two catches for 15 yards in Week 3. Those were the only two targets he saw filling in for Tyler Higbee (lung). Everett isn't worth consideration against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week in traditional leagues.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had four tackles (three solo) and his first sack of the season in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. Donald started out slowly the first two weeks, but he delivered in this affair. He has another positive outlook against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. He's worth starting in individual defensive player formats.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was a bit of a non-factor in Sunday's game against the Texans. Though he made a couple nice pick-ups on key third downs, he also got stopped short on a couple important downs and only touched the ball 16 times all game. Just nine carries on the ground yielded 36 yards, and while he caught seven passes, they only amassed another 45 yards and no scores. It's unclear why the Chargers decided to move away from their most productive running back and instead force quarterback Philip Rivers to throw the ball downfield more, resulting in five sacks, but hopefully this was just a one-time blip in their gameplan.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed 14 times for 43 yards in a quiet Week 3 outing against the Cleveland Browns. He was targeted once through the air, but he had no completions. He'll have a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week. The Bucs have been among the stingiest defenses against running backs the first three weeks. Gurley is still a low-end RB1, but his upside is waning at this point with his reduced usage.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown rushed just three times for seven yards in Week 3. It was a tough day overall for the running game as the team rushed 24 times to 38 pass attempts. Brown has done little in the last two games after a two-touchdown opener. He has a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week, and at this point, he's just a handcuff to Todd Gurley.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (ankle) was carted to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Beebe didn't have a target in the contest. Olabisi Johnson stepped in as the third receiver in his absence - we should get an update on the severity of Beebe's ankle injury on Monday.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday as the Chargers fell to the Houston Texans. LA continued to struggle in the second half of ballgames, and Rivers was sacked five times on the day. The 46 passing attempts were the most Rivers has had in a regular season game since Week 1 of 2018, and Rivers hasn't won a single game in the last five years when he's thrown the ball 45 or more times. Whether LA wins or loses, Rivers has the ability to put up gaudy numbers, so he'll be valuable no matter how the season goes for the underperforming Chargers.