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Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 23, Chargers 15

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CARSON, Calif.—With their starters in the game, the Seahawks took control of Saturday night’s preseason game early, building a 13-3 lead in the second quarter before several starters on both sides of the ball left the game. The Chargers battled back to make a game of it late thanks to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but Seattle was able to get a late fourth-down stop to hold on and secure a 23-15 victory.

Here are six rapid reactions to the Seahawks’ win over the Chargers that improved their preseason record to 2-1:

1. The starting units took care of business. 

As expected, the Seahawks starters saw more playing time this week, with Russell Wilson and the No. 1 offense playing almost the entire first half, and the starting defense playing three series.

With the Chargers resting many of their key starters, including quarterback Philip Rivers, the Seahawks No. 1 units did what they should have done against a short-handed opponent. Seattle’s offense moved the ball well, putting 13 points on the board before Wilson came out of the game, and used a nice mix of run and pass to get the job done. Seattle’s starting defense gave up one field goal in three possessions, and the Chargers’ best offense was Tyrod Taylor scrambles when the initial play broke down.

In what could be his final preseason action—Wilson was held out of the final preseason game the past two seasons—Wilson completed six of nine passes for 73 yards, giving him a 91.4 passer rating, and he rushed for 31 yards on three carries.

The game marked the first time this preseason that the Seahawks have had linebacker Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks on the field together, and their experience showed.

"It was exciting for me to see Bobby and KJ and Mychal Kendricks on the field at the same time," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "Mychal made a couple of beautiful plays and I can’t tell you a bunch about it, but just to have those guys out there running the show is really important to us. I think it’s going to be a real strength to our club. That was kind of their debut and they’ll be ready for the opener."

2. C.J. Prosise had a nice night, and the Seahawks have some tough decisions to make at running back.

C.J. Prosise missed Seattle’s first two preseason games with a hip injury, but he made his 2019 debut on Saturday and it provided a reminder of how dynamic of a player he can be when healthy. Prosise came into the game in the second quarter with the No. 1 offense still on the field, and ended up rushing for 32 yards and a touchdown on five carries while also catching one pass for 15 yards. Prosise showed the ability to make one or more defenders miss on nearly every touch.

Prosise’s big quarter was just part of a very strong day for Seattle’s running backs, which showed how difficult of a decision the Seahawks are going to be facing next weekend when it comes time to set the 53-man roster. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny are pretty comfortably leading that group, but the spots behind them are wide open, and with Prosise, J.D. McKissic and rookie Travis Homer all showing flashes in the game, it’s hard to predict who will make the cut.

"I thought the running backs did a really nice job," Carroll said. "Everyone ran the ball well. That’s a real tribute to the system I think. I’m really excited that we were able to do that. We want to run the ball again next week and really take the time to get right in that regard."

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3. Mychal Kendricks keeps getting in the backfield.

One of the consistent themes of the preseason, at least when the No. 1 defense has been in the game, has been Kendrick’s ability to get into the backfield and cause problems for opponents, whether as a blitzing linebacker on pass plays or to make plays in the running game.

On Saturday, Kendricks got good pressure on what turned into a Branden Jackson sack, and also had a fourth-down tackle for loss on a running play. Not all of his impact plays came in the backfield, however. One play before that fourth-down stop, he made a strong open-field tackle on third-down to keep the Chargers short of the sticks, setting up his next big play.

“Terrific plays. Those are really instinctive plays," Carroll said. "Taking a shot to make a play on fourth down there was just beautifully done. That’s the kind of athlete that we see. He’s really explosive. He’s got this knack about getting low and the flexibility that he has and the power that he has. It shows up and makes things happen down the field and when he’s pressuring, too. He’s an exciting player. That’s what I hoped we would get a chance to see again. So, we’ll take the next step.”

4. John Ursua keeps making big catches.

Ursua, a seventh-round pick out of Hawaii, hasn’t seen a ton of targets in the preseason, but every time the ball heads his way, he seems to come up with a big play. Ursua had two catches Saturday that covered 52 yards, giving him four catches for 100 yards in the preseason.

“Ursua is awesome out there," said Wilson. "He’s always been open. You see him. He’s got this catlike reflex. He’s got this ability that kind of make people miss. It’s pretty special. He’s the guy that led the NCAA in touchdowns. There’s a reason why he scored so much.”

Ursua is very much in the mix to compete for a job at receiver, especially in light of Friday’s news that David Moore has an injury that will affect his availability into the regular season, but he’s in a tough battle with a several other receivers.

“He’s doing a great job, John is doing a really great job," said quarterback Geno Smith. "He’s a rookie, but he really has picked up the offense very well. He has a great understanding of what we want him to do. I mean he’s a playmaker. You see him when he gets the ball in his hand, he’s smooth running down that field and it reminds me of a soccer player. Like, one of those really good soccer players. He’s got what we call soccer feet. John is a playmaker, whenever you give him the ball, he knows the right thing to do.”

And speaking of receivers fighting for jobs, it’s worth noting that with Moore and DK Metcalf out, Malik Turner was the No. 3 receiver behind Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown.

Photos of Seahawks fans attending the team's third preseason game of 2019 against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

5. The Seahawks have a lot of fans in Southern California.

Walking around the concourse at Dignity Health Sports Park prior to the game, it was evident that a lot of Seahawks fans had made their way to Carson for this game. And nearly every Seahawks score reinforced the notion that there are a lot of Seahawks fans in the Los Angeles area. After several Seahawks scores, including Geno Smith’s third-quarter touchdown run, a pretty loud “Sea-Hawks!” chant could be heard throughout the stadium.

Head Coach Pete Carroll

6. Nice hands, coach. 

When Michael Dickson hit a fourth-quarter punt out of his own end zone, the kick drifted left and out of bounds at midfield where, of all people, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll calmly made the catch. Players on the Seahawks sideline got a kick of out their coach’s display of hands and surrounded their coach for a light-hearted celebration.

7. Injury updates.

While Carroll did not report any new injuries from the game, he did give updates on two players who were held out of the game, safety Marquise Blair, who has a bruised back, and cornerback Kalan Reed, who has a neck injury.

On Blair, Carroll said. “It’s like a hip pointer, it’s on the back side of his hip, so he just has to get through it, it’s just going to take a little bit of time. He should be back this week, but if he’s that uncomfortable and he can’t go, he can’t go. He’s a very tough kid and he wants to play and all that, so he’ll have a chance to get back.”

And on Reed, Carroll said, “Kalan Reed has a neck injury. He’ll see a specialist early this week, I think it’s Monday, and we’ll know more. I don’t know what to tell you about that at this point.”

Actor and comedian Joel McHale served as Seattle Seahawks' radio analyst for the team's third preseason game of 2019 against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

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