Even though it was an exhibition opener, the Seattle Seahawks looked like a team worthy of big expectations.
And the San Diego Chargers? Well, except for a nice opening drive, they looked like the same old Chargers.
Tarvaris Jackson threw two touchdown passes and Brady Quinn, also battling to be Russell Wilson’s backup, threw for another score as the Seahawks beat San Diego 31-10 Thursday night in Mike McCoy’s debut as Chargers coach.
”I think you saw a little bit of what the Seahawks are,” said Quinn, signed in the offseason after spending last season with the Kansas City Chiefs. ”An explosive team, a team that likes to have fun and is extremely aggressive on offense and defense, and extremely confident. Hopefully we can build off that.”
Jackson won seven games for the Seahawks as their starting quarterback in 2011. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills during training camp last season when it became evident he would not win the starting job over Wilson and Matt Flynn. The Bills released Jackson earlier this summer and the Seahawks re-signed him.
”It’s been a long time, but it was fun out there,” Jackson said. ”Guys have more experience and guys aren’t making as many mistakes and are on the same page. It showed in practice and in the game.”
Coach Pete Carroll liked what he saw.
”The guys who have been doing stuff in practice did it in the game. T-Jack and Brady both look good, look sharp in their minutes when they had stuff.”
Wilson, who led the Seahawks to the playoffs last year as a rookie, played the first three series. He passed for 23 yards and ran for 9.
Wilson had some nice scrambles, including one on second-and-7 from the 17 when he gained just 1 yard, but evaded numerous Chargers, including Dwight Freeney.
Quinn threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the first half.
Jackson threw a 42-yard scoring pass to Stephen Williams on the first play of the fourth quarter and hit Derrick Coleman on a 6-yarder in the final minutes. Jackson also completed a 41-yarder to Williams to set up Spencer Ware’s 6-yard scoring run late in the third quarter.
Philip Rivers played only the opening 13-play, 74-yard drive, which the Chargers capped with Nick Novak’s 28-yard field goal.
”It was one series and we got three points and you have to sustain that over four quarters, but it was certainly a good start,” Rivers said.
”You would like to keep going in the game, but certainly I am not as hard-headed now and I understand. You know you only get 10 or 12 plays and you want them to go so good.”
Rivers couldn’t find anyone open on a third-and-6 and scrambled for 5 yards.
”About halfway on that journey I realized it hit my head that it was preseason so I figured, I would have got that in the regular season,” he said.”
Manti Te’o had a quiet debut at inside linebacker for the Chargers, with no tackles during the first two series.
”It was everything I expected and more,” said Te’o, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame. ”It was fun. I had first-game jitters in the beginning. As the plays went on, you kind of settle in. You just start playing football. It was good for all of us to get out there.”
McCoy replaced Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers missed the playoffs for the third straight year. Tom Telesco, who replaced Smith, made sweeping changes to begin rebuilding the roster.
”They played hard and that is what we want to establish here,” McCoy said.
”It was a typical first preseason game. You get the starters in there and you pretty much know what to expect from them. And then you get going through the rotation of the game and it was an opportunity for a lot of young players to step up. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Chargers backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was intercepted twice. One of the pickoffs set up Quinn’s 11-yard scoring pass to Kearse 2:11 before halftime. San Diego defensive backs Darrell Stuckey and Steve Williams collided, leaving Kearse wide open. Williams pointed at Stuckey, who put his hands on his helmet.
Whitehurst played for the Chargers from 2006-09 without ever throwing a regular-season pass. He was traded to the Seahawks, where he played for two seasons before returning to San Diego as a free agent.
San Diego third-string quarterback Brad Sorensen threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ladarius Green in the fourth quarter.