NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Missed tackles hurting the Seahawks

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks have one of the most physical defenses in the NFL, which helped them lead the league in fewest points allowed last season.

They also pride themselves in their fundamentals, but sometimes there’s a difference between being physical and making tackles. It showed up again last Sunday, when the Seahawks defenders missed 12 tackles in a loss to the San Diego Chargers.

Seattle had 13 missed tackles in the season-opening victory over Green Bay, so that’s a whopping 25 missed tackles in the first two games.

It’s a problem that Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn addressed with his players.

[+] EnlargeDan Quinn
AP Photo/Paul JasienskiSeahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn wants to see better tackling.
“That’s a big emphasis again this week in terms of the way we tackle,” Quinn said. “When we have double-digit [missed] tackles, that’s a lot for our group. It’s something that we take great pride in, so for us to have that many, that was hard for us.”

The Seattle defense was on the field for 80 plays at San Diego, giving up 10 first downs on third-down plays.

“I think that was a real factor in why some of the drives that got extended,” Quinn said. “We didn’t play as we would have liked to on third down. And we didn’t get the takeaways we’re used to and didn’t make stops in the red zone. I know that [those] things are three different topics, but I think it really started somewhere in the tackling and not getting the ball back.”

Seahawks defenders sometimes appear to be so concerned with making a big hit that they fail to wrap up and make the tackle.

“Each week, the emphasis for us is tackling and how we go about the ball,” Quinn said. “We make it about ourselves and our technique and how we play. It’s one of the things that we enjoy about our process of game-planning.”

The problem is it’s hard to address tackling issues when there is no actual tackling in practice these days. But Quinn pointed out that player vs. player, the Seahawks usually have the advantage and should make the most of it.

“We know we have some great matchups in terms of quickness,” he said. “It’s one of the things we work on as hard as we can, trying to be one of the best fundamental teams in football. So that many [missed tackles] was uncomfortable for us, for sure. We can’t wait to get back out there.”
RENTON – Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin did not practice for the second consecutive day because of a hip injury he suffered in practice Wednesday. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday's Super Bowl rematch with the Denver Broncos.

“He didn’t go [Friday], but he feels a lot better," Carroll said of Irvin. “We thought the best thing to do was rest him. We'll take him up to game time.”

It appears everyone else should be ready to play Sunday, based on the injury report and Carroll’s comments after practice.

Tight end Zach Miller (ankle), running backs Marshawn Lynch (back) and Christine Michael (hamstring), strong safety Kam Chancellor (ankle) and linebackers Mike Morgan (hip) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring) all are listed as probable.

Miller and Morgan returned to practice Friday after sitting out Thursday. All the others practiced both days.

“Zach did fine [Friday],” Carroll said. “He looks like he’s ready go. We were waiting on a report on a hip injury [on Morgan] and it looks like he’s OK.”

Broncos vs. Seahawks preview

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
videoRedemption or redo, what will it be?

For the first time in 17 years, the two teams who battled in the Super Bowl will play each other in the following season. The Denver Broncos, 43-8 losers to the Seattle Seahawks seven months ago, get a chance to make amends Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

A victory by the Broncos (2-0) would be a bit of redemption after the humiliating loss in Super Bowl XLVIII. A win by the Seahawks would show they're still at the top of the heap and they've regrouped after a surprising 30-21 loss last week at San Diego.

Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold and Seahawks reporter Terry Blount take a look at some of the key issues entering the Super Bowl rematch.

Blount: Jeff, the Seahawks defense had some major problems stopping the Chargers offense last weekend, which, as you know, is very similar to the schemes the Broncos use. The Seahawks had no answers for San Diego tight end Antonio Gates. Do you think the Broncos saw some things they can exploit?

Legwold: Terry, there is no explaining away a 35-point Super Bowl loss -- or at least no explaining that would satisfy the team's faithful. But there has been a nagging feeling around the team in the weeks and months since the Super Bowl blowout that if you look at the game video, the Broncos had receivers open, that they left plays out there they had made for months. So, the Broncos feel like if they execute, they can find some room to work. In looking at the Seahawks' scheme, my belief is any team has to stay patient, be content with the short and intermediate routes and wait for the chance for the big play. That's certainly easier said than done if the Seahawks get pressure up front. For the Broncos, tight end Julius Thomas has been a matchup nightmare for defenses thus far with four touchdowns in two games. The Broncos have been far more efficient out of a two tight end look early in this season, and, more importantly, more willing to use it. By the time they reached the Super Bowl, they had worked out of a three-wide receiver set on offense almost exclusively down the stretch.

Terry, staying with the Broncos offense, do you think the Seahawks look at it any differently with Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, instead of Eric Decker, Montee Ball at running back and Ryan Clady back at left tackle? Or do you think they see the same scheme with just different personnel than they faced in Super Bowl XLVIII?

Blount: I honestly don't think they see it much differently, believing it's still the same formula overall with Peyton Manning leading the way. One thing the Seahawks players and coaches say over and over again is they want to force teams to adjust to what they do, not the other way around. No matter who the Seahawks are playing, they tend to stick to what they do best on defense, which is aggressive play in the secondary, ferocious tackling and a relentless pass rush off the edge from multiple line sets. The goal is to coax the opposing offense into making mistakes and going all out to force turnovers. No matter who they play or how renowned that team's personnel, the Seahawks take the attitude of "This is what we do. Beat us if you can." The Chargers did last week. They dink-and-dunked them to death. So the Seahawks probably feel if they clean up what happened last week it should work this week since the Broncos have a similar style.

Jeff, it's only two weeks into it, but how much better can the Denver defense be this season with the addition of DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward?

Legwold: Overall, the group still hasn't quite put together the full four-quarters, get-it-done effort they believe they can. The defense has made fourth-down plays in the closing minutes to preserve each of the first two wins, but it has had some issues on third down -- the Chiefs repeatedly converted in situations of third-and-8 or longer -- that need immediate attention. But those signings in free agency have already paid dividends. Ware, who was voted a team captain after his arrival in March, has 1.5 sacks, and Talib and Ware have given the Broncos more of a physical edge. But maybe more importantly, the two have allowed defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to use a bigger variety of looks because of their versatility. Ward lines up all over the formation, even putting in snaps at weakside linebacker at times. The Broncos also had five defensive starters on injured reserve for the Super Bowl. The return of some of those players, such as linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and safety Rahim Moore, will give the defense a vastly different look than what the Seahawks saw in the title game, or even in the preseason game in August.

Terry, the Seahawks had the inevitable talent drain of a Super Bowl winner after the free-agency dust settled. How effective do you think they've been to stay true to their plan and replace the players who departed?

Blount: It's still to be determined how this will turn out. Seattle lost 10 players who had 58 years of combined experience. They've been replaced, for the most part, by much younger players and, in many cases, players with a lot more talent. But it's hard to make up all that experience they lost. So far, it seems to have hurt them the most on the defensive line in losing defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. Those three players accounted for 11.5 sacks last season. The Seahawks added veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, but his impact has been negligible so far. Rookie Cassius Marsh, who was expected to make a difference as an edge-rusher, hasn't shown much yet. Depth on the defensive line was a huge team strength last season because it kept everyone fresh late in game and into the playoffs. After two games, that same depth isn't apparent, but it's early.

The Broncos got a tiny bit of revenge in the preseason opener, when they beat the Seahawks 21-16 in Denver. But is this really the game they've been looking toward for the past seven months?

Legwold: A regular-season win would not erase a Super Bowl blowout, it just won't. Deep down, even the Broncos know that. But the item the team has carried around, what they've had to listen to, is they were "soft" or "intimidated" in the Super Bowl. The Broncos will admit to mistakes in the game, but they are tired of hearing they lost because they were too shaken to succeed. That's the part of the narrative they'd like to do something about, and if they can put together a quality effort Sunday, that would probably close the book a little for them on the whole thing, at least until the playoffs start. In the end, though, they know they can't make a Week 3 game of the new season be everything, either. There's plenty of work for them to do moving forward, win or lose Sunday, to get them back for another shot at the trophy.

Terry, in the end, an awful lot of people around the league believe if these two teams get their respective acts together and keep them together, it could be a repeat Super Bowl. From the Seahawks' perspective, how have they handled the title aftermath, and do they see what happened in San Diego as just a bad outing or something that might need a little more attention?

Blount: That's always the key question: Will all the fame and accolades change you? Richard Sherman has become a national celebrity who transcends football. Russell Wilson seems to appear on every other TV commercial here in Seattle. Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett all received big-money deals in the offseason. But through the offseason, organized team activities and training camp, I didn't see the slightest indication this team had become complacent. If anything, it seemed more driven to prove it could return to the Super Bowl and win it again, breaking the trend of teams not getting it done the following season. However, they fell off the horse a little last week. It wasn't that they lost, but how they reacted to the loss. They said and did some things that were uncharacteristic, but they were clearly stunned about getting beat. How they react to it this week will say a lot about where they're headed.

Bevell knows it's a different Denver D

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell knows the worst thing he could do this week is formulate a game plan based on what the Seattle Seahawks did in carving up the Denver Broncos' defense in the Super Bowl.

"It’s a totally different team defensively," Bevell said. "They’ve added really great players and they have [outside linebacker] Von Miller back. Now they have [defensive end] DeMarcus Ware, [strong safety] TJ Ward and [cornerback] Aqib Talib.

"The list goes on. They have really solid players. It’s completely different defense with the players that they have now, so there’s really no comparison."

Miller and Ware rushing off the edge are two players the Seahawks didn’t have to contend with in the 43-8 Super Bowl victory. That is a big concern, especially coming off a loss at San Diego where the Seahawks' offensive line struggled at times in protecting quarterback Russell Wilson.

"We had a couple miscommunications," Bevell said. "Going into the game we knew that was something important and we talked about that. I talked about it with you guys on how we need to make sure we handled it, and we didn’t. That kills you on a third down.

"I think it was one of the first third downs we mishandled it and miss [identified] it, and of course, we ended up getting sacked on it. It was the communication I had talked about all week. So there’s still work to be done there."

This week will be another stern test for rookie right tackle Justin Britt, trying to hold off Miller and Ware.

"He’s a stud," Bevell said of Miller. "He’s got great athletic ability. He’s a speed-rusher and he can go speed to power. He’s just really, really athletic, and it’s a challenge each and every time to be really solid on technique and do what we’re asking [Britt] to do. Obviously, he'll need help sometimes."

Britt did a nice job in the season opener against Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews. Britt had some rough moments last week, but so did veteran left tackle Russell Okung. Bevell is pleased overall with Britt’s progress.

"I think he’s improving each and every week," Bevell said. "Obviously, there still are things he knows he can work on. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes he’s not quite doing exactly what we need him to do.

"We kind of expect that out of him. We’ve just thrown him in and said, 'Hey, this is your deal.' He’s totally taken to it and totally committed to working. He’s a young player and he’s only going to get better."
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had a three-word answer Wednesday when asked about the mood of his players heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl rematch with the Denver Broncos.

"Serious, really serious," Carroll said.

Obviously, playing the 2-0 Broncos would get any team’s attention, but the serious attitude of the Seahawks this week is more about their disappointing 30-21 loss at San Diego.

[+] EnlargeSeattle coach Pete Carroll
Harry How/Getty Images"They are anxious to bounce back and play a really good game," Pete Carroll said. "It just happens to be Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, so it's going to be pretty hard."
"These guys are clued in," Carroll said. "I don’t think we feel like we played like we can. They are anxious to bounce back and play a really good game. It just happens to be Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, so it’s going to be pretty hard."

If you include the preseason, the Seahawks and Broncos are facing each other for the third time in the last seven games. Seattle dominated the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver won the opening preseason game 21-16 in Denver.

"We're very familiar with each other and that makes it an exciting opportunity for the coaches," Carroll said. "We’re trying to figure out the chess match here."

But you won’t get the Seahawks to buy in to the Super Bowl rematch talk.

"It’s a big game because we have to make up for what we did last week," Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith said. "It just happens to be a Super Bowl rematch."

"It’s not a Super Bowl rematch,’’ strong safety Kam Chancellor said. "They have a lot of new guys and so do we."

Chancellor is still seething over the Legion of Boom getting burned for 284 yards passing in the loss at San Diego. He was asked if the Chargers have shown everyone else the recipe for how to beat the Seahawks.

"If that’s what they think the recipe is, just keep doing what you’re doing, man," Chancellor said. "We’ll see how it goes."

The Seahawks have taken some heat nationally this week about being sore losers in how they handled the defeat at San Diego.

Cornerback Richard Sherman didn’t talk to reporters after the game, which he explained on Wednesday and said wasn’t intentional. Running back Marshawn Lynch walked off the field before time expired, prompting comments of poor sportsmanship on Twitter before it was explained later that he had a back injury.

Safety Earl Thomas said any team that beats the Seahawks is ‘‘lucky." And defensive end Michael Bennett said, "Everyone is happy we lost, but everyone wants to be us."

All those things were magnified out of proportion, but losing has become such an unusual occurrence for the Seahawks that they have strong reactions when it happens. Last weekend was only the fourth time the team has lost since the start of the 2013 season, a span of 21 games.

"We haven’t taken any of those losses very well," Carroll said. "We put a lot of work into this with high expectations and standards we want to play to. When we don’t meet up to them, it causes you to take a different look at things. You want to get it done and get it right.

"You can just feel it. They want to demonstrate who they are and what we are every time they go out, and we didn’t get that done."

And now they have to get it done against the team that wants to prove the Super Bowl shellacking was an illusion.

"I know a lot of people want to see what happens in this one," Carroll said. "So do I."

Was Sherman exposed at San Diego?

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman disputed the idea that he was exposed in the 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

Was he?

Here’s what the stats show from ESPN Stats & Information:

The Seahawks gave up two touchdown passes outside the numbers to the right side of the field, something they had not done since Week 5 of 2011.

Sherman, however, was not involved in those TD receptions by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. But the Chargers did have some success against Sherman and did throw to his side of the field a lot more than the Green Bay Packers did in Week 1.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw to the right side of the field only three times for minus-3 yards. None of those passes was directed at Sherman.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers made 10 throws outside the numbers to the right side for 66 yards and two TDS. Again, Sherman was not involved in all those plays. A review of the tape shows he was involved in the coverage on six of those throws. Five were completed for 64 yards.

Rivers completed three passes for more than 10 yards on the right side of the field, which was more than the Seahawks had allowed in the last four games combined (two completions for 39 yards), including the three playoff games last season.

Sherman lined up in the slot to the left side of the field a few times Sunday, but still took 88 percent of the snaps from the offense’s right side.

So the Chargers had a little success against Sherman, but statistically speaking, it’s not a good idea to challenge him too much.

Since the start of last season, including the playoffs, Sherman has lined up at cornerback on the right side on 84 percent of defensive snaps that he has been on the field. Sherman’s eight interceptions during that span are an NFL-best.

The Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest passing yards since the start of last season on throws of more than 10 yards downfield to the right side, and their eight interceptions on those throws are tied for second most in the league.
Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor had a game to remember in the 43-8 Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos. He enters the rematch with the Broncos on Sunday coming off a game he would like to forget.

Chancellor had a rough day trying to cover San Diego’s future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates, who caught three touchdowns passes in the surprising 30-21 Chargers victory.

Chancellor was involved in the coverage on all three of those touchdowns, but couldn’t stop Gates, who had seven catches for 96 yards overall.

“He definitely capitalized on every opportunity he had,” Chancellor said of Gates. “He showed why he’s an All-Pro tight end. He’s a crafty player.”

Chancellor has made a lot of crafty players look bad over the years. He did it in the Super Bowl, starting with a bone-jarring hit on Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas early in the game. Chancellor finished that game with nine tackles, two passed defense and an interception.

Now he gets the chance to do it all over again, but he’ll need to turn things around from the results in San Diego when the temperature was 118 degrees down on the field at Qualcomm Stadium.

“I never make excuses, but it was a hot game and something we do not practice in,” Chancellor said. “It was something we’re not accustomed to, but we have to bounce back and it starts in practice. We have to find the mistakes and correct them. We’re not accustomed to losing. We have to get back to the drawing board.”

Lynch had reason to leave field early

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
Some people noticed that Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch left the field before the game ended Sunday at San Diego, which brought a lot of speculation on Twitter about Lynch’s attitude.

Not waiting to leave the field with your teammates when time expires is considered poor sportsmanship by many people, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear that thought is wrong in this case.

“No, he went off with the doctors,’’ Carroll said. “His back had tightened up, or something like that, so I wasn’t worried about that.”

Lynch has suffered from back spasms in the past. Considering the fact it was 118 degrees on the field Sunday, it isn’t surprising the problem flared up.

“It’s an ongoing issue for him for years,” Carroll said. “It’s something we’re always monitoring.”

It probably means Lynch will have limited work in practice this week in preparation for the big Super Bowl rematch with the Broncos. But that’s typical for in-season practice sessions for Lynch, making sure he’s 100 percent on Sunday.

Lynch had only six carries for 36 yards in the 30-21 loss at San Diego.

“That had nothing to do with the game plan,” Carroll said. “That’s just the way the game turned out. That’s the last thing we want to have happen. We also didn’t get Percy [Harvin] the ball like we like to and didn’t spread it the way we wanted to because we didn’t get a chance.”

The Seahawks had the ball for only 18 plays in the first half, and five of those came in the final minute of the half when they went into their two-minute offense and scored on a 69-yard drive. The Seahawks had only 38 plays from scrimmage the entire game.

“We weren’t able to execute the game plan that we had going in with because we didn’t have enough chances,” Carroll said. “We really moved the ball well in two-minute [offense], but we were away from the game plan.”

A rare Super Bowl rematch on Sunday

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
Here it is. The big rematch has arrived.

The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will do something Sunday that only has happened five other times since the first Super Bowl in 1967. The two teams that played in the big game will face each other the following season.

A little over seven months ago, Seattle crushed Denver 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. This is the first time since 1997 that Super Bowl opponents have played a rematch the next season.

In three of the five rematches, the team that won the previous Super Bowl won again. The last Super Bowl loser to earn revenge was the Buffalo Bills in 1993, defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the second game of the following season 13-10.

The Cowboys, however, defeated the Bills again (30-13) in a Super-Bowl rematch four months later.

The only other team to win the regular-season rematch was the Minnesota Vikings in 1970, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-10 after losing Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.

Here's the full list of previous Super Bowl rematches, with the score in the Super Bowl and the result of the rematch:

Super Bowl IV: Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7
Rematch: Vikings won 27-10 in Week 1

Super Bowl XI: Oakland Raiders defeated the Vikings 32-14
Rematch: Raiders won 35-13 in Week 13

Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 35-31
Rematch: Steelers won 14-3 in Week 9.

Super Bowl XXVII: Cowboys defeated the Bills 52-17
Rematch: Bills won 13-10 in Week 2

Super Bowl XXXI: Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21
Rematch: Packers won 28-10 in Week 9
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, always one to point out the positives in a bad situation, looked at the bright side Monday after the surprising 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

“That game will be good for us,” Carroll said Monday morning on is 710 ESPN Seattle radio show. “I hate to learn the hard way, but sometimes you have to. We had 17 minutes of possession [Sunday], but could have gone down [the field] to win the football game at the end. We were hanging tough, but we have to fix a couple of things, and we’re on it.”

The Seahawks need to be on it quickly since the 2-0 Denver Broncos are coming to Seattle on Sunday in the long-anticipated Super Bowl rematch.

The good news: The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8 seven months ago in the Super Bowl. The bad news: The things the Denver offense does best are almost identical in scheme and style to the things the Chargers did to win 30-21 Sunday.

“They are similar,” Carroll said in his Monday afternoon news conference. “They both have exceptional quarterbacks [Philip Rivers at San Diego and Peyton Manning at Denver] that know what's going on and don’t hold the football. Both of these guys have years of experience behind them and great decision-making. We have our hands full again.”

Rivers passed for 284 yards on 28-of-37 passing, often on short and intermediate throw that accounted for most of the Chargers' 26 first downs, including 10 of 17 on third down.

It’s the same no-huddle offense that Denver employs, so the Seahawks obviously need to play more like they did in the Super Bowl than what they showed Sunday in sweltering heat at Qualcomm Stadium.

The temperature was 118 degrees on the field. Counting penalties on plays that were called back, the Seattle defense was on the field for 82 plays and more than 42 minutes.

“It was hard on them,” Carroll said on the hot conditions. “It does have an effect if you’re fighting to hold your energy. You can make some mistakes that are uncharacteristic, and we saw some of that. But they were able to make their plays and we didn’t. It was hot on their side as well.”

Carroll said the mood was a bit somber on the flight back to Seattle Sunday night.

“It was really quiet,” he said. “The guys put everything they had on the field and everybody was pretty drained. We don’t take this easily because everyone knows we have very high expectations here.”

The Film Don’t Lie: Seahawks

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
A weekly look at what the Seattle Seahawks must fix:

Coverage of short and intermediate pass routes: Despite giving up 30 points and 284 yards passing, including three touchdowns, the Seahawks' defense did not allow a pass completion of more than 21 yards against the San Diego Chargers.

The longest play all game in the 30-21 loss was a 21-yard touchdown reception to tight end Antonio Gates. However, the defense gave up 16 pass completions of more than 10 yards.

What that means is the defense was awful Sunday on short and intermediate routes. All the linebackers were ineffective in pass defense, and the Legion of Boom guys in the secondary weren’t much better on passes thrown in front of them.

The Seahawks had only one pass defensed all game, and that was by newly acquired cornerback Josh Thomas when Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers challenged him on a deep throw to Eddie Royal in the third quarter.

NFC West off to a slow start

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
The NFC West was widely regarded as the best division the NFL heading into this season.

After two games, it has only one undefeated team.

Who would have thought that the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers would be 1-1, and that the Arizona Cardinals would be the only undefeated team at 2-0? The St. Louis Rams are also 1-1 after defeating the Tampa Bays Buccaneers 19-17 on Sunday.

The Seahawks should send the Chicago Bears a thank you note for making up a 17-0 deficit and defeating San Francisco 28-20, ruining the 49ers' first regular-season game in their new stadium.

Here's a bit of a scary stat for the Seahawks: They have lost two of their last four regular-season games and three of the last six. The Seahawks also have lost two of their last three road games.

Seahawks wilt away in the heat

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14

SAN DIEGO -- The usual paradise-like weather conditions of San Diego were more like a day in the Sahara Desert on Sunday, and the Seattle Seahawks' defense wilted away in the sweltering heat.

The defending Super Bowl champs got pushed around and outmuscled most of the day by the San Diego Chargers, who came away with a 30-21 victory at blisteringly hot Qualcomm Stadium.

The air temperature was 95 degrees at kickoff, but down on the field temperatures reached 118 degrees. The Chargers wisely wore all white and the Seahawks had to wear their dark blue jerseys.

That didn’t mean much, but what did was the fact that the Chargers had possession for more than 42 minutes. And the Seahawks' defense got worn down and worn out.

San Diego ran 75 plays to only 40 for the Seahawks, now 1-1. Seattle had only 13 running plays, a disaster for a team that prides itself on its power running game.

“It was a lot warmer than we're used to and the defense was out there for some really long drives,” Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. “You can’t help but get tired.”

Heat or no heat, the Legion of Boom was getting beat. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 28 of 37 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns, all to tight end Antonio Gates.

Gates moves to 11th all-time in NFL touchdown receptions with 90.

“He did some great things, but we didn’t tackle well,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “It still was a close-fought game and a battle to the final minute. Everybody in the NFL wants to see us lose, but people wish they were us and we’ll keep playing.”

The Seahawks normally are able to get to the quarterback without blitzing, but that wasn’t effective Sunday.

ESPN Stats & Information showed Rivers was 22-of-25 for 211 yards against four or fewer pass-rushers Sunday. It was only the second time since 2011 that the Seahawks gave up three passing touchdowns when sending standard pressure.

Since the start of the 2013 season, Seattle is first in the league in passing TDs allowed while rushing four or fewer pass-rushers. Those numbers were much different Sunday -- an 88 percent completion percentage for Rivers compared to 59.7 entering the game for the Seahawks over the previous 17 regular-season games.

What caused it? Was it too many defensive snaps in the heat? Or just too much Rivers-to-Gates, a combo that has 63 TDs together?

Seattle free safety Earl Thomas left the game in the third quarter and went to the locker room for IV fluids because of cramps in his legs from the heat, but he returned one series later.

“It was hot and there was a lot of cramping up when [the defense] was out there long time," Thomas said. “I exert a lot of energy out there, and in this heat it was kind of hard for me at times. But it wasn’t anything we didn’t prepare for. We just didn’t execute when it really mattered. When somebody beats us it's just luck to me. It’s not about them.”

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright saw it differently.

“It was hot, but we can’t let external factors bother us," Wright said. “They told us it would be hot. We should have prepared for it. They kicked our ass and beat us at our own game.”
SAN DIEGO -- Seattle Seahawks assistant offensive line coach Pat Ruel was taken to a San Diego hospital after Sunday's game against the Chargers for precautionary reasons because of an irregular heartbeat.

Ruel, 63, was wheeled out of the locker room on a stretcher while getting an IV, but he was smiling and shaking hands with players as he left the stadium. He will remain in the hospital overnight for observation.

Ruel watched the game from the coaches’ box on the press level. Qualcomm Stadium has an open-air press box and temperatures during the game reached a sweltering 95 degrees.

Ruel coached at Southern Cal under Pete Carroll and came to Seattle in 2010 when Carroll was hired to coach the Seahawks. Ruel has coached at the college or NFL level for 41 years after playing guard at the University of Miami.
SAN DIEGO -- Observed and heard in the Seahawks' locker room after their 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers:
  • For the most part, the players were not down or hanging their heads. “You lose, you learn from it and you move on,” defensive end Michael Bennett said. “It was a good battle to the last minute of the game. Everybody in the NFL wants to see us lose. But we just have to come back and be who we are.”
  • Linebacker K.J. Wright: “It was hot, but we can’t let external factors bother us. They kicked our ass and beat us at our own game. It was just a poor defensive game today for us.”
  • Free safety Earl Thomas: "It wasn't anything that we didn’t prepare for. We just didn’t execute when it really mattered. It was hot and we [the defense] were out there a long time. There was a lot of cramping up [Thomas left the game briefly with cramps]. We just have to fight through those situations.”