A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers in their preseason opener Saturday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jon Ryan. The punter? Selecting the punter usually means no one else did anything. But not on this night, when there were plenty of other candidates. It’s just that Ryan kicked the Seahawks out of one hole after another, in a game where field position proved to be paramount. He averaged 52.4 yards on eight punts, including a 77-yarder in the fourth quarter. His net average of 41.1 yards would have been even better if two of his punt hadn’t skipped into the end zone for touchbacks.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Facing a first down from the Chargers’ 18-yard line late in the third quarter, rookie quarterback Mike Teel went to wide receiver Mike Hass for a touchdown that put the Seahawks ahead to stay 14-7. The throw was nice and the catch was even better.
Defense: Any time a defensive end intercepts a pass, it’s noteworthy. When that interception comes on a screen pass, well, it’s the defensive play of the game. That’s what rookie Nick Reed did on the second play of the fourth quarter. Reed’s pick ended a Chargers’ drive that had reached midfield, and set up the first of two 38-yard field goals by Brandon Coutu.
Special teams: The best of Ryan’s punts – that booming 77-yarder. It came on the series after the Chargers had scored to cut the lead to 20-14. It forced the Chargers to drive the long field on their final possession, which reached the Seahawks’ 34-yard line before No. 3 QB Charlie Whitehurst threw a trio of incompletions.
HIT OF THE GAME
Deon Butler, the Seahawks’ speedy, but small rookie wide receiver, got his “welcome to the NFL” moment in the second quarter on a jarring hit by Chargers strong safety Steve Gregory. Butler momentarily had the ball, and a first down, before Gregory separated the two.
There were no serious injuries reported.
Five Seahawks did not play in the game, including Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones, who just returned to practice Thursday after missing almost two weeks of training camp because of back spasms. Also out: cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) and offensive linemen Mansfield Wrotto (leg), Grey Ruegamer (elbow) and Cory Withrow (knee).
YOU DON’T SAY
“Leading up to the game, I was real nervous. My hands were shaking. My stomach felt empty, even though I ate. But once I got out there for pre-game and I found out the field was still 100 yards, I felt very comfortable.” – linebacker Aaron Curry, the team’s first-round draft choice, on his NFL debut