CARSON, Calif.— As the Seahawks prepared for their preseason opener last week, Pete Carroll talked about how much he liked his team's roster depth, which is creating competitive situations at nearly every position group.
On Sunday, that depth showed as the Seahawks rolled to a 48-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center in a game that was contested mostly by both teams' backups.
"(General manager) John (Schneider) and I have been looking at it for a long time as we're coming into camp thinking we have a chance to have one of the best (rosters) we've had, indicated by the competition of the spots," Carroll said Friday. "You can see it. There's a number of guys that have playability that we're going to have to sort out. There's competitive opportunities for guys to make space for themselves too, and all that adds to making us better and so we're really fired up about that."
Other than the offensive line and rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin, almost all of Seattle's starters on both sides of the ball were limited to a single series, and while the Chargers held a 7-3 lead after those two possessions, Seattle's reserves overwhelmed San Diego with a combination of big plays on offense and turnovers on defense to cruise to a convincing victory.
Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle's win:
1. It's all about the ball, even in the preseason.
Few things in football matter more to Carroll than the turnover battle, so he no doubt enjoyed what he saw Sunday, particularly in the first half when Seattle forced three of their four turnovers. Even better, the Seahawks scored on one of those turnovers and returned another to the 1-yard line to set up a score.
First, it was two offseason additions at linebacker teaming up to give the Seahawks a touchdown, with Michael Wilhoite putting a hard hit on Chargers running back Brandon Oliver to break up a pass, and Terence Garvin plucking the ball out of the air and returning it 37 yards for a score.
The Seahawks also got a field goal out of a Tylor Harris interception, which was set up by Nazair Jones tipping a ball at the line of scrimmage. On San Diego's next play from scrimmage, Christian French recovered a fumbled handoff exchange and returned it to the 1-yard line to set up one of rookie Chris Carson's two 1-yard touchdown runs.
2. Kasen Williams — and all the receivers, really — stepped up with big plays.
The Seahawks were without two of their top receivers with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett being held out, but Seattle's three quarterbacks still had plenty of big-play options thanks to the play of Seattle's other receivers.
Paul Richardson got things started, picking up where he left off last postseason to make a spectacular diving catch for a 25-yard gain, though he unfortunately left the game with a shoulder injury after that play.
From there, a number of receivers stepped up, most notably Kasen Williams, who hauled in everything Trevone Boykin threw his way, making four difficult catches, all down the left sideline, for 119 yards. Also of note, Kenny Lawler had a 2-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-goal, securing a Boykin pass in traffic while being hit.
3. Coaches wanted to get a look at multiple O-line combinations.
The Seahawks opened the game with a line of, from left to right, George Fant, Luke Joeckel, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi and Germain Ifedi. It's far too early, however, to say that's their starting line going forward. That much was clear based on the tinkering that took place throughout the first half. Ifedi stayed at right tackle the entire half, and Britt, all but a lock to start at center, gave way to Joey Hunt early, but the Seahawks mixed and matched at the other three spots. Joeckel moved to tackle at one point with Rees Odhiambo coming in to play left guard, then later Fant came back in to play next to Odhiambo. Mark Glowinski also split time with Aboushi at right guard.
4. Shaquill Griffin got a long look at right cornerback.
While most of Seattle's defensive starters left the game after one series, rookie Shaquill Griffin stayed in the game for most of the first half. To keep that starting job, Griffin will have to hold off Jeremy Lane once the veteran returns from injury, but it was solid debut for the third-round pick out of Central Florida.
Griffin got tested early with Philip Rivers attempting a deep pass to Tyrell Williams, and Griffin was tight enough in coverage that the pass, which he didn't see coming, hit him in the back.
Also of note, Griffin was active on special teams, including when he was the first player down the field on punt coverage to force a fair catch.
5. Both backup quarterbacks had solid days.
Two weeks into camp, there has not been a clear leader in the competition for the No. 2 quarterback job, and Sunday's game might have only added to the mystery there as both Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis turned in impressive performances.
Boykin was the second quarterback in the game after Wilson and played more, but Davis did well coming into the game late. Boykin finished the game completing 12 of 15 attempts for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception, giving him a 113.2 passer rating. He also rushed for 31 yards and a score on four carries. Davis, meanwhile, completed 7 of 9 attempts for 108 yards, giving him a 116.7 rating, and he scrambled for 19 yards on a pair of carries.
Photos of Seahawks fans on site at StubHub Center for the team's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.