When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 1-1, after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-13 on Sunday
Where they rank: No. 3 on offense (6th rushing, 4th passing); No. 8 on defense (tied for 11th rushing, 8th passing). The only other teams to rank in the Top 10 in total offense and defense are the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders.
Series: Seahawks lead 25-23, and had won five in a row before losing the last meeting – 20-17 at Qwest in 2006
Star power: Philip Rivers. Former Chargers QB Dan Fouts is working the game as an analyst for the CBS telecast, and it’s fitting since Rivers is putting up numbers to rival the Hall of Famer. Rivers passed for a career-high 4,254 yards last season, his second consecutive 4,000-yard effort, and is on pace for a 5,000-yard season after passing for 632 yards in the Chargers’ first two games. Fouts’ franchise record is 4,802 in 1981. Rivers’ 107.0 passer rating after two games ranks third in the league behind the Bears’ Jay Cutler (121.2) and Colts’ Peyton Manning (121.0). Rivers was voted to his second Pro Bowl last season and with LaDainian Tomlinson now running for the New York Jets, the Chargers are officially Rivers’ team.
Unsung hero: Antoine Cason. When Antonio Cromartie was traded to the Jets in March, someone had to step up as the starting cornerback opposite Quintin Jammer. That’s Cason, a first-round draft choice in 2008. In Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, Cason had two interceptions, a forced fumble and a tackle of Luke McCown in the fourth quarter where the Jaguars’ back QB tore a knee ligament, ending his season. Cason’s turnovers ended three of the Jaguars’ first four series.
On the spot: Brandyn Dombrowski. The former free agent from San Diego State is starting at left tackle because Pro Bowler Marcus McNeill has declined to sign his restricted free agent tender. Sunday, Dombrowski is expected to play despite having a bruised leg after being leg-whipped in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, Dombrowski started eight games last season – at right guard and right tackle because Louis Vasquez and Jeromey Clary were injured. Sunday, he’ll face Seahawks DE Chris Clemons and also have to deal with the din created by the crowd at Qwest.
Burning question: Who is Mike Tolbert? The Chargers replaced Tomlinson by selecting Ryan Mathews in the first round of April’s NFL draft. But when Mathews went out with a sprained right ankle after only five carries against the Jaguars, the Chargers replaced him with Tolbert, who ran for 82 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. The 5-foot-9, 245-pound Tolbert is another undrafted free agent who made the team in 2008, out of Coastal Carolina. He carried the ball a combined 38 times his first two seasons, but also led the Chargers with 22 special teams tackles in 2009. Mathews was wearing a protective boot Monday, but is expected to play Sunday. But also expect Tolbert to get his touches, especially in goal-line and short-yardage situations.
Familiar faces: Running backs coach Clarence Shelmon held the same position with the Seahawks from 1992-97. Senior executive Randy Mueller worked for the Seahawks from 1983-1999. College scout Paul Skansi played wide receiver for the Seahawks (1984-91) and also at the University of Washington.
The last word: “We know the sky’s the limit. There are really only a handful of teams with the talent and a chance, and we feel we’re one of those. If we can correct our mistakes, it’s going to be very difficult to defeat a good San Diego Chargers team.” – tight end Antonio Gates after Sunday’s game, when he caught the 61st and 62nd touchdown passes of his career