They set out to contain San Diego’s top playmakers, quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates.
While the Seattle Seahawks fell horribly short of that goal, they still managed to escape with a victory at Qwest Field.
Rivers finished Sunday with a career-high 455 yards passing. Gates had seven catches for 109 yards – including a 28-yard score.
Seattle evened things out by forcing five turnovers – three fumbles and two picks.
The Seahawks also played tough defense inside the red zone, holding the Chargers to 20 points, even though San Diego drove inside of Seattle’s 20-yard line six times.
Seattle’s defense especially had to pick it up in the second half, when the Hawks managed 26 yards offensively.
“We made a number of mistakes on Gates as we were shuffling some guys in there,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “And he had a big day, and so did Phil. But when it came down to it, guys made the right plays at the right time to win.”
Defensively, Jordan Babineaux said the Seahawks tried to show Gates several different looks – including having the veteran safety play head up on the talented tight end.
“It was essential for us to give him multiple looks and kind of have him guessing while he’s running his routes,” he said. “But with that being said, look what kind of day the kid had. He’s a good player.”
The Seahawks also brought pressure against Rivers, sacking him four times and hitting him another nine times. Defensive end Chris Clemons led Seattle with his first two sacks of the season, while defensive tackle Brandon Mebane got his first sack of the year.
Most impressive for the Seahawks was the play of the defense in the final quarter without starters Aaron Curry, Marcus Trufant and Mebane, all out with injuries.
“It doesn’t matter who gets into the game, we’re going to continue to compete and keep that standard of excellence up,” said defensive back Roy Lewis, who had two key pass breakups late in the game.
With about 20 seconds to go before halftime, the Seahawks made a curious call on a third-and-1 play from the 2. The Seahawks called a quarterback draw for Matt Hasselbeck, who surged forward for the first down but failed to reach the end zone.
Instead of rushing to the line and spiking the ball, Carroll chose to run out kicker Olindo Mare and the field goal team, which failed to get a play off in time.
“We had a good call,” Carroll said. “We practiced it. We liked it, and we felt that we would knock it in the end zone right there. We weren’t trying to get the first down, we were trying to score.
“I think it was a really good call, and it didn’t work.”
Seahawks receiver Mike Williams left the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter and later returned, only to sit out the second half. Williams had one catch for 13 yards. … Linebacker Curry suffered a hamstring injury in second half and did not return. Trufant suffered an ankle injury in the second half and also did not return. And Mebane injured a calf muscle late in the game.