ReFo: Seattle @ San Diego, Week 2
Believe it or not, this is the first game Seattle has lost by more than seven points since the back end of the 2011 season. In a defeat few saw coming they were consigned to that two-score deficit by a late field goal, but this had been a reasonably close game that swung on a couple of key plays.
With Seattle down by a score mid way through the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson was tap-tackled by LB Donald Butler to prevent him converting a huge third down and generating a big gain on the play. The next drive the Seahawks had the Chargers staring at 3rd-and-9 only to allow a reception to extend the drive. Those two plays combined were enough to ensure the Seahawks couldn’t complete the comeback and the Chargers would secure the upset.
Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note
Marshawn Lynch, RB and Percy Harvin, WR: -0.3 and +1.3
Breakdown: The interesting thing here isn’t how effective or otherwise both players were, but how little each was on the field. While Doug Baldwin missed only three snaps and Jermaine Kearse just five, Harvin and Lynch were off the field for a combined 34 snaps, taking the team’s best two playmakers on offense out of the equation for far too long.
Signature Stat: Lynch played just 25 snaps while Harvin managed just one more at 26
Michael Bennett, DE: +3.4
Breakdown: Michael Bennett remains a force on the Seattle defensive line, whether it’s rushing outside or inside, and he was the biggest problem for the Chargers’ offensive line in this game. Bennett earned a positive grade for his run defense but his pass rush was the story where he earned six hurries, a hit and a sack.
Signature Stat: Totaled eight pressures, more than double the next best mark on the Seahawks’ defense.
Richard Sherman, CB, +0.9
Breakdown: This was far from Sherman’s best performance. In fact, Keenan Allen appeared to my eyes to give him more trouble than any receiver I can think of since Stevie Johnson back in 2012. The word ‘exposed’ was used a few times by people but that is pretty hyperbolic for a performance that saw him targeted six times but surrender just 54 yards and no scores.
Signature Play: Q2, 8:51. This is the play that caused the talk. On 3rd-and-5 Keenan Allen is able to turn Sherman around and gain an easy first down.
San Diego Chargers – Performances of Note
Philip Rivers, QB: +4.0
Breakdown: He has a way of making a clean pocket look very treacherous at times, but this was Rivers at his best. He made big plays when they needed to be made and was under pressure frequently in the game.
Signature Stat: Was pressured on 14 drop-backs and had a passer rating of 92.5 on those plays, not counting positive runs he made while scrambling.
Dwight Freeney, OLB: +2.0
Breakdown: Hey, remember him? Dwight Freeney is still very much a problem for offenses to deal with. He earned a sack, a hit and two hurries in the game and his inside spin move is still a sight to behold.
Signature Play: Q4, 1:51. It was a signature Freeney spin that caused TE Zach Miller to lose control and resort to tripping him to save the pressure and really put the Seahawks in a hole.
Antonio Gates, TE: +1.9
Breakdown: Gates isn’t the athletic freak he was when he burst into the NFL and was such a nightmare for defenses to match up with. Now he remains a potent receiving weapon but he is able to get open with an arsenal of subtle moves to free him from the attention of actually superior athletes on the defense. Here he came up with three touchdowns and made a huge key grab to keep the ball in San Diego’s hands late, in essence ending the Seattle comeback chances.
Signature Stat: Caught everything thrown his way… 7-for-7 for 96 yards and three scores.
PFF Game Ball
There were some impressive games from players on both sides of the ball and the game ball is going to have to be split between the connection that won the game; Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates. Both players deserve a piece.
Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam