Peephole perspective: Two more big defensive plays – one by each team. But also Olindo Mare’s club-record 23rd consecutive field goals and a 9-yard TD pass from Matt Hasselbeck to John Carlson. Seahawks 10-0.
Player of the quarter: Chargers S Paul Oliver. He was beaten for what appeared to be 42-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to WR Deion Branch. But Oliver stayed with the play and punched the ball from Branch’s grasp at the 1. The play was reviewed and reserved. Instead of a Seahawks’ TD, the play resulted in a touchdown and gave the Chargers the ball at their own 20. But, Oliver also was flagged for a 23-yard pass interference penalty a few seconds late, which set up the TD pass.
Play of the quarter: The Chargers were driving to a game-tying field goal, or even a go-ahead TD. But on first down from the Seahawks’ 12, LB David Hawthorne forced a fumble by putting helmet on the ball as RB Mike Tolbert was running up the gut. DE Red Bryant fell on the loose ball for his second fumble recovery of the half.
Number of the quarter: 23. It was the distance of Mare’s 23rd consecutive field goal, and also the yards Oliver was penalized on the critical P.I. call.
The bigger picture: A Seahawks drive that consumed the final three plays of the first quarter spilled into the second quarter, before Mare kicked his 23rd consecutive field goal – this one a 23-yarder to cap a nine-play, 80-yard drive. After Hasselbeck passed to WR Golden Tate for 11 yards on third-and-11, RB Justin Forsett broke a 28-yard run on the first play of the quarter and Hasselbeck passed for 37 yards to TE John Carlson and 8 yards to Tate to the 2-yard line. But the Charger stopped Forsett twice to force the Seahawks to settle for three points.
The defense forced a three-and-out, as DT Brandon Mebane dropped Rivers for a 7-yard sack on first down; and Tate got the Seahawks field position with a 31-yard punt return to the Chargers’ 41. But Hasselbeck first-down pass to WR Mike Williams in the end zone was intercepted by CB Quentin Jammer.
The Chargers took advantage of Jammer’s pick, as Rivers passed to WR Malcolm Floyd for 16 yards on third-and-12, and also hit 16-yarders to WR Legedu Naanee and WR Patrick Crayton to give the Chargers a first down at the Seahawks’ 34. The Chargers then converted on a third-and-12 play, as Rivers passed 24 yards to Floyd. But on the next play, Hawthorne and Bryant produced the play of the quarter.
The Seahawks’ offense went to work, driving for appeared to be a touchdown. But Oliver punched the ball from the grasp of Branch and it rolled through the end zone for a touchback. Hasselbeck was 6 of 7 on the drive for 94 yards, but lost the TD pass when the play was reviewed and reversed.
The defense held, again. And the offense went to work, again. Thanks to Oliver’s pass interference penalty against WR Deon Butler, the Seahawks’ got the first TD of the game. But not before that play was reviewed – but this time not reversed.
Seahawks rookie S Kam Chancellor forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and rookie DE Dexter Davis recovered at the Chargers’ 24. That play also was reviewed, and overturned, because it had been ruled on the field that returner Darren Sproles was down before the ball came out.
The Seahawks had another chance to score, but time expired before Mare could get off a field goal attempt.