SAN DIEGO — When the Seahawks look back at their 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, they’ll almost certainly look first at costly penalties and mistakes.
There was Bruce Irvin’s late hit on third-and-long that kept a drive alive and allowed San Diego to score a touchdown. There was Percy Harvin’s fumbled kickoff that led to a touchdown. And there was J.R. Sweezy’s false start that made it third-and-15 instead of third-and-10; Russell Wilson scrambled for 14 yards and the Seahawks had to punt.
Those penalties helped swing the game San Diego’s way, but they weren’t the only reason the Seahawks lost. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers picked Seattle apart all afternoon. He worked mostly with short throws underneath. At halftime, he had completed 18 for 22 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Seahawks didn’t have an answer.
Rivers threw three touchdown passes to tight end Antonio Gates, who beat Seattle’s linebackers and safeties routinely in some of the game’s biggest moments. Again, Seattle had no answer.
The Seahawks’ offense couldn’t make up for it. Wilson and Co. ran just 18 plays in the first half; the Chargers ran 38 by comparison. Running back Marshawn Lynch finished with six carries for 36 yards.
On a day when temperatures were reported to be over 100 degrees on the field, the Seahawks defense spent far too much time on the field. Three members of Seattle’s secondary — Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell — all had to leave the game for extended periods of time because of cramping.
The Seahawks still had plenty of chances to win the game, including a late-game drive that started with three minutes left. But the Seahawks couldn’t move the ball, and Wilson’s final throw to Jermaine Kearse down the sideline fell incomplete.