The Seattle Seahawks were dealt their first surprise of the 2014 season on Sunday, losing 31-20 to the San Diego Chargers, snapping a team streak of 46 consecutive games without being defeated by more than a touchdown.
There’s no shame in losing on the road to a team that made the playoffs out of the AFC West a year ago, but the Seahawks certainly didn’t look like their normal selves. San Diego completely dominated the time of position battle, moved the ball effectively against Seattle’s defense and was probably unfortunate to only win by nine points.
With that, here’s what we learned from Week 2.
The Seahawks are human
After a Week 1 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks clearly established themselves as way-too-early favorites in the NFC. The defense dominated Green Bay’s powerful offense, while a healthy Percy Harvin made Seattle’s offense dangerous.
The Chargers showed that it’s not going to be that easy moving forward. Harvin had a 51-yard touchdown run that should have been called back and only two other offensive touches for a combined negative five yards. Meanwhile, San Diego racked up 26 first downs and went 10 for 17 on third down against the vaunted Seattle defense.
Losing this game shouldn’t temper any championship expectations. Still, it’s a reality check that repeating in the Super Bowl or even reaching 13 wins again is going to be difficult with Seattle’s tough schedule.
The loss of depth is going to hurt
We already knew that this Seahawks team was not as deep as its predecessor, but not necessarily how much that would matter. The impact became apparent on Sunday afternoon.
Extra depth could have helped the Seahawks for a number of reasons against the Chargers. San Diego held the ball for over 42 minutes with on-field temperatures approaching 120 degrees, leading to exhaustion and cramping from the Seahawks’ defense.
Concern is beginning to grow due to lack of depth at cornerback, as new addition Marcus Burley struggled in the slot in place of the injured Jeremy Lane. The Chargers were able to use screens and short passes into the flat effectively, something to watch going forward.
Seattle still needs to worry about Julius Thomas, Vernon Davis
The Seahawks have shut down top tight ends like Thomas, Davis and Jimmy Graham routinely over the past couple of seasons. 34-year-old Antonio Gates didn’t figure to be much of a matchup problem heading into the game.
Seattle will get another chance against a top tight end this weekend when Thomas and the Denver Broncos come to town.
It’s not time to panic
San Diego was by far the better team on Sunday and dominated the Seahawks in several aspects. Yet Seattle still had a chance to put together a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
The offense stalled on that drive, but looked deadly efficient at times, including on an impressive five-play, 69-yard touchdown march right before halftime. Seattle’s defense obviously dropped off from the week before, but give credit to Phillip Rivers for playing one of the best games from an opposing quarterback the Seahawks have seen in some time.
Even when the Seahawks are thoroughly outplayed, they are still tough to beat.
San Diego is a legitimate contender
San Diego had an excellent gameplan and executed it to perfection. Much like in their Week 15 win over Denver last season, the Chargers simply refused to let the Seahawks have the ball and were effective in wearing down the Seattle defense.
Meanwhile, Rivers went 28 of 37 for 284 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions despite facing a strong pass rush for much of the game. The San Diego defense gave up a couple of easy touchdown drives, but held Seattle when it mattered most in the fourth quarter.
If Rivers continues to play that well, the Chargers will be headed to the playoffs once again.
Photo Credit: Denis Poroy / Associated Press
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