The Los Angeles Chargers wrapped up their preseason in Seattle against the Seattle Seahawks. With most starters sitting, the backups and young talent were able to put their talents on display, much like the weeks prior. Well, that is to say, the Seahawks were able to put their talents on display, as the Chargers dropped a goose egg. The Seahawks thumped the Chargers 27-0, blowing them out in convincing fashion. However, though it was an utter beatdown on the Chargers by the Seahawks, it was not without some positive individual results. These are the Chargers’ takeaways from preseason week 3.
There is little to say about the Chargers’ offense in this game. The Chargers offense looked utterly hopeless on the field. The offense only crossed the midfield line twice through the whole game. One of those drives ended on a punt from Seattle’s 49-yard line, and the other resulted in a missed field goal by now-starting kicker Tristan Vizcaino. Not to mention, backup quarterback Chase Daniel fumbled the ball on the first drive of the game, leading to a fumble return touchdown by Seahawks safety Marquise Blair.
On the other side of the ball, the Chargers’ defense did little to quell the Seahawks’ onslaught. Though there were some impressive individual performances on the Chargers’ defense, the main story here is that the Seahawks put up 20 unanswered points (two touchdowns, two field goals). The defense looked uninspired, as if they knew the game didn’t matter. Though it naturally did not, giving an effort to win as if it does is what everyone wants to see.
What Went Well
- Nick Niemann – Niemann has been the unsung hero for the Chargers through this whole preseason. The claim that the Chargers defense looked uninspired does not apply at all to Niemann. With 13 tackles (eight solo, one for loss) and a sack, Niemann has all but earned the right to get substantial playing time during the regular season. Niemann has led the team in tackles every preseason game, racking up 28 tackles (17 solo) through the preseason. For a 6th-round pick, Niemann has already far surpassed everyone’s expectations, and he’s only played through his first preseason.
- Cole Christiansen – Christiansen was not willing to fall far behind Niemann. The second-year linebacker made nine tackles of his own (seven solo). That makes this the second week in a row in which the pair were the highlight for the Chargers. With that, Christiansen has put up 19 tackles (15 solo) through the preseason. What this says is that Christiansen is a solid solo tackler, rarely needing help finishing tackles. Christiansen proved he also could be a valued rotational piece for the linebackers, a point of concern for the Chargers.
What Did Not
- Everything on offense – There is nothing the Chargers offense can be praised for in their match against the Seahawks. The passing game, the rushing game, all of it was subpar. Quarterback Easton Stick looked nothing like he did the week before, completing only 10/17 passes for 76 yards. Quarterback Chase Daniel, his competition, did not do much better, completing only 9/12 passes for 70 yards (along with a fumble that resulted in a touchdown). On the ground, there was not much to speak of either. Larry Rountree was the only running back to put up respectable numbers, netting 27 yards on six carries. His competiton in Joshua Kelley and Darius Bradwell didn’t even average a yard per carry. Worst of all, though, was the offensive line. It’s not a stretch to say that an entire offense’s success relies on the success of their line. However, when that line falters, it’s no surprise that the rest of the line will falter as well. The Chargers’ offensive line allowed five sacks against the Seahawks, much like against the San Francisco 49ers. The Chargers’ offensive line depth is a major concern going into the regular season.
- The special teams – Longtime Chargers fans know all too well how difficult it appears to be for the Chargers to field even an average special teams unit. In 2010, the Chargers were one of the best teams in football, sporting the league’s best offensive and defensive units. However, that team did not even make the playoffs that season, due in large part to their dead last-ranked special teams unit. Why bring that up? Because this team’s special teams unit is potentially almost as disastrous as in 2010. The Chargers’ special teams unit did not play a major role in the Seahawks game (due to the offense’s utter stagnancy, but Tristan Vizcaino’s missed 47-yard field goal is a major concern, now that he is set to be the team’s starting kicker going forward.
“The preseason doesn’t matter.” That phrase is constantly used whenever a team loses or has a concerning performance. However, preseason does matter, because any preseason game showcases a team’s relative strengths and weaknesses. The Chargers have many weaknesses that must be addressed, as showcased by this preseason game. The team cannot rely solely on their talent-packed starters to perform. After all, if key starters get injured, who will fill their role? As it stands, head coach Brandon Staley needs to think of a solution, and fast. However, this issue is not one that can be addressed too easily. The Chargers must get through this predicament soon, or else Staley might lose his support quickly. These were the Chargers’ takeaways from preseason week 3.