The first time the Seahawks offense took the field Sunday without Russell Wilson, the result was a quick three-and-out.
But if there were any concerns that one series was a bad sign for Seattle's backup quarterback spot, Trevone Boykin and the offense rebounded quickly in an eventual 48-17 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Boykin's second series saw him complete a 28-yard pass to Kasen Williams to erase a first-and-20 situation. Then after another long completion, this one 23 yards to Tanner McEvoy, and three straight Eddie Lacy runs, Boykin hit Kenny Lawler on fourth-and-goal for a 2-yard score.
The Seahawks found themselves in another bad down-and-distance situation on their next possession thanks to a sack, but Boykin completed a second-down pass, then scrambled for 4 yards on third-and-3, helping extend a drive that would eventually end in a field goal.
In all, the Seahawks punted just twice on Sunday, and while that was in part due to the defense creating good field position with four takeaways, it was also the result of strong play by both backup quarterbacks, Boykin and Austin Davis, who both played very well in a blowout victory.
Boykin, last year's No. 2 behind Wilson, finished the game 12 for 15 for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception that came late in the game when he was hit while attempting a deep pass. Boykin also rushed for 31 yards on four carries, including a 4-yard touchdown run. Austin Davis, who was signed this offseason to compete with Boykin, saw less playing time, but was an efficient 7 for 9 for 108 yards. Davis also added 18 rushing yards on three carries.
"He had a big night," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Boykin. "He did beautifully. Threw the ball really well, moved well, made some big plays with his feet. Just was really in good command of what was going on, and we were able to mix it pretty good with him to give him some chance to make some plays, and look at how many balls he threw up the sideline with just beautiful throws. It was a really good night for Tre."
Boykin tried to downplay his big day, repeatedly crediting his receivers and offensive line, but did notice the difference of being a second-year player in a preseason debut compared to his first game as a rookie.
"I mean last year being a rookie, the lights come on and—obviously football is football—but being more comfortable, more settled in, knowing the ropes, year two is a huge year for learning more than what you did the previous year," Boykin said. "That's where I'm trying to take it this year."
One strong game against another team's backups is hardly enough to assure Boykin of the backup job, especially on a night when Davis played well too, but Sunday's performance was a good first step towards showing his coaches that he has made significant progress in his second season.
"Being year two, it's more settled down," he said. "Last year, there were some things—concepts are the same, but other things that happen before the snap is stuff I had to work on. But I feel like I made a huge leap, a big step, and I'm just trying to get better every week and build on this one win."
And in Sunday's win, Boykin showed one of the traits which makes him such an intriguing backup option for the Seahawks—he has some similarities to the starter. Like Wilson, Boykin has the athletic ability to scramble and make things happen, and like Wilson he has a big arm and a knack for big plays.
"We have some of the same abilities, so the stuff I see him do, some of the calls I see him make, it's just recognizing stuff," Boykin said. "Being able to improvise is probably one of our huge things we're able to do because we're pretty mobile."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 48-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 of the 2017 preseason.