1:25 p.m. | SoFi Stadium | Inglewood, Calif.
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INGLEWOOD, Calif. — In a game in which they suffered a potentially big loss due to injury — receiver DK Metcalf — the Seahawks also accomplished a rather lofty goal.
First place in the NFC West.
Seattle’s 37-23 win over the Chargers here at SoFi Stadium Sunday coupled with a loss by the 49ers against Kansas City put the Seahawks a half-game ahead of the rest of the division at 4-3.
But maybe even more impressive was the manner in which the Seahawks got there, with their defense playing its second straight stellar game — holding an offense ranked seventh in the NFL coming into the game to 329 yards — and the offense making big play after big play to keep the Chargers at bay, even despite playing without Metcalf for the final three quarters.
The last was a 74-yard TD run by rookie Kenneth Walker III with 6:56 remaining that put Seattle up 37-16. It was the longest run for the Seahawks since 2016 and capped a big day for Walker in his second career start — he had 168 yards on 23 carries.
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Marquise Goodwin just backflipped as Geno Smith took a knee and this one is over. Seattle is 4-3 and in first place in the NFC West.
TD No. 2️⃣ today for @austinekeler. #BoltUp
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Chargers don't get first down as they are also called for holding. Seahawks in total command of this one and just 7:08 away from being in first place in the NFC West.
Looked like Herbert tripped over Salyer. Jefferson credited with sack. Nwosu walking off under own power. https://t.co/7UaMZZEBpg
Herbert sacked on third down as Nwosu grabs his right knee as he falls to the turf. Ugh.
Myers hits the 50-yarder after the almost pick. Seattle leads it 30-16with 9:09 left.
Colby Parkinson drawing a DPI from Derwin James……
Myles Adams the big play to bat that down.
And Chargers will have to punt. Seattle defense keeps coming up big……
Chargers safety! It's now 27-16. https://t.co/ITqf0CBOUD
Safety for the @Chargers! 🙏
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Without the injured DK Metcalf, who left the game with a knee injury in the first quarter, Seattle quarterback Geno Smith has spread the ball around to some of his lesser-used receivers.
Seven different players have at least one reception for Seattle today, with Tyler Lockett leading the way with five receptions for 44 yards, while Marquise Goodwin and Will Dissly have four catches for 67 and 45 yards, respectively.
Goodwin has both of Seattle’s touchdown receptions so far. Colby Parkinson, Metcalf, and Noah Fant all have one catch today, while DeeJay Dallas has two.
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III has 18 rushes for 79 yards so far, but a big moment came after he was tackled for a 2-yard gain by the Chargers’ Khalil Mack on first-and-10 in the third quarter. Walker and Mack had to be separated after getting into a scrum on the play, and the 5-foot-9 inch Walker didn’t back down from the 6-3 247 pound LA linebacker.
Walker scored a touchdown earlier in the game, his third of the season, and has rushed for 264 yards over the past three games.
Smith has continued his outstanding start to the season with another strong game. Through three quarters, Smith is 18-of-24 for 209 yards, with two passing touchdowns, a quarterback rating of 111.1, and 8 rushing yards.
Smith has at least two touchdown passes in five of his seven starts this year.
Seahawks with the huge stop after the big Everett play gets a first down. Diggs a big hit on Everett.
Smith sacked. Myers makes 34 yarder. It is 27-14.
Tyler Lockett has not been questionable during the game itself. Makes another big grab on third down.
Smith with all kinds of time and finds Lockett to the 18. This is a heck of a drive by the Seahawks.
Lockett with the 11-yard catch on third and 10 and Pete Carroll with a really hearty fist bump.
Haynes appeared to get injured on the play with the false start.
Seahawks move it quickly from their own 7 to the 39.
Seahawks D forces another punt.
Bellore now gets up and jogs off…. https://t.co/KVpAY207qd
Many Seahawks immediately rushing to his side, including coach Pete Carroll.
The big physical toll that football can take was never more apparent than during the first half of Sunday’s game as two star players — Seattle receiver DK Metcalf and Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson — were each carted off the field with knee injuries.
Metcalf was injured late in the first quarter and immediately listed as out with a knee injury.
With 1:40 left in the second quarter, Jackson was injured while trying to defend Seattle receiver Marquise Goodwin on a 23-yard TD pass from Geno Smith to Goodwin. Jackson fell awkwardly to the ground and grabbed his right knee as he hit the turf. Jackson was down for more than five minutes before being carted off.
Jackson was also immediately ruled out with a knee injury.
Each player signed significant deals in the offseason — Jackson signed a five-year deal worth $82.5 million as a free agent in March while Metcalf signed a three-year extension worth up to $72 million in late July.
Despite some of the craziness of the first half, the Seattle defense has played pretty well. The Chargers had one 75-yard drive for a score, but otherwise the defense played well, limiting the Chargers to 164 yards on 36 plays, or 4.6 per play. The Chargers came into the game ranked seventh in the NFL in offense at 374.8 per game.
Inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks has played particularly well with a game-high seven tackles while consistently sniffing out the Chargers’ many screen passes, and also forcing a fumble.
The Seahawks also have forced two turnovers and have two sacks of the usually mobile Justin Herbert.
Geno Smith’s passer rating of 114.6 is sterling despite the fact it came down heavily due to an interception on a tipped pass that the Seahawks thought could have been pass interference.
Smith is 12 of 17 overall 159 yards and two touchdowns, each on perfectly placed passes to Goodwin of 20 and 23 yards — and also has run three times for 8 yards, but with a 9-yard gain that picked up a critical first down to set up the second TD pass to Goodwin.
The highly-touted Herbert, meanwhile, is just 16 of 25 for 152 yards and a TD and interception.
Seahawks lead 24-14 at end of first half. Here are stats: pic.twitter.com/LO5Gga32YR
Cart finally coming out for Jackson.
Seahawks TD on Smith 23-yard pass to JC Jackson who immediately grabs his knee an takes helmet off and is still down on the ground.
Seahawks force a much needed three and out.
Seahawks stopped and will punt.
Mike Will score #BoltUp@darealmike_dub | @chargers
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It's 17-14 with 9:37 to play in the first half. https://t.co/IDwqM6BLIQ
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Chargers in Los Angeles with a knee injury apparently suffered late in the first quarter.
Metcalf left the game after he leapt to try to grab a Geno Smith pass in the left corner of the end zone on a play that snapped with two minutes to go in the first quarter. The pass fell incomplete as Metcalf got tangled with Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson.
Metcalf was examined on the sidelines and then carted off the field. He was then ruled out of the game with a knee injury.
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And Eskridge now down on the field. https://t.co/CSDYTqP3vE
Khalil Mack recovers the fumble! @FiftyDeuce
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The good vibes took a turn there with Metcalf leaving the game with a knee injury and Chargers driving for a TD. And still 12:44 to play in first half.
After putting up its best performance of the season last week against Arizona, the Seahawks defense started off strong against the Chargers. The unit was forced into action after Seattle’s offense turned the ball over on a tipped pass interception by quarterback Geno Smith, but it quickly shut down the LA offense. The Chargers went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 32-yard line, but Ryan Neal stuffed running back Austin Ekeler for no gain, to give Seattle the ball on downs.
Neal came through on the next drive too, intercepting a Justin Herbert pass at the 44-yard line that was intended for DeAndre Carter, while Darrell Taylor knocked the ball out of Herbert’s hands and ran it back to the 19-yard line on the Chargers’ third drive.
Through one quarter, the Seahawks defense already has one interception, two forced fumbles, and two quarterback hits.
Smith led the league with a 73.4% completion rate coming into the matchup against the Chargers, and quickly found his groove. He completed a 16-yard pass to Will Dissly on the first play of the game, and then connected with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for a 21-yard touchdown pass on the Seahawks’ next series.
Smith has five completions to four different receivers for 76 passing yards through one quarter.
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III took the ball from Smith on first down from the 12-yard line, and ran into the end zone for his third touchdown of his young career. Walker made his first start for the Seahawks last week in place of the injured Rashaad Penny and rushed for 97 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown.
He has six carries for 31 yards so far for an average 5.2 yards per carry.
DK Metcalf knee injury is ruled out. So there's that…..
The Chargers haven't trailed by three possessions through the first quarter since Week 15 of 2012 against the Panthers, per @ESPNStatsInfo
Myers makes a 46-yarder with 1:08 to play in a really eventful first quarter and Seattle leads it 17-0.
Another turnover!! https://t.co/iW6zvWuceG
Sack, strip, and a fumble recovery by DT!
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Poona Ford has a foot injury and is probable to return.
Seahawks running backs with 50 yards on seven carries in first quarter.
Walker TD from 12 yards out and Seattle up 13-0.
And Ryan Neal with the pick….. https://t.co/mImhy2TzMa
Bruce Irvin in the game on LA's second series.
Seahawks TD on third and 15. Smith an absolute dime to Marquise Goodwin.
Marquise Goodwin's feet in bounds, @Seahawks in the lead. #Seahawks
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Hold on Fant brings back first down run on second and three. If you paid to see the refs throw flags today you got your wish.
Third and 13 and Lockett draws a DPI on Callahan. A matchup to watch all day…
Seahawks testing JC Jackson early but it's not working.
Seahawks will take over at own 31. https://t.co/qdzzsl1LtZ
Call stands. Chargers have third and 1 at the Seattle 32. Seahawks lose a time out.
Pete Carroll now 0-3 on challenges this year.
Two first downs and then a turnover.
Intercepted by @KennethMurray!
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Lockett wanted interference but refs don't throw the flag and ball tipped and picked off. https://t.co/WA0jeNeTB4
Geno Smith scans right side of field then comes back to the left and hits Will Dissly for 16. https://t.co/oTkkgps5aZ
Will Dissly celebrating #NationalTightEndsDay early 🙌 @Will_Diss
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Dee Eskridge returning opening kickoff.
Nick Bellore calls heads. It comes up tails. Chargers win toss and defer. Seahawks will get ball first.
Not seeing any surprises to Seahawks starting lineup in warmups. DL is back to being Ford, Woods, Harris with Al Woods healthy again.
Lookin’ good, @BIrvin_WVU11. pic.twitter.com/e4dHetHytI
Jersey creativity. pic.twitter.com/Ox2rBVPtGd
In sort of an oddity to the season, Seahawks will face a backup kicker for the third time in 4 weeks, with Taylor Bertolet filling in today for injured Dustin Hopkins.
A view from the press box of some of the Seahawks offensive skill players pregame ritual. pic.twitter.com/3ipOXL0R4v
The early views. pic.twitter.com/iAFYZQbOqX
The two star receivers in Sunday’s Seahawks-Chargers game who entered the game as officially questionable — Seattle’s Tyler Lockett and LA’s Keenan Allen — are both active and will play.
Lockett did not practice all week due to a hamstring injury, but he dealt with it last week, playing against Arizona, and it was expected he would play Sunday, as well.
Allen has not played since Week 1 after also dealing with a hamstring injury. But Allen went through a workout on the field about two hours before the 1:25 p.m. kickoff and was pronounced healthy enough to play.
Seattle’s five inactive players to get down to the gameday max of 48 contained no surprises with most due to injuries.
The five inactives are: OL Gabe Jackson (hip/knee), cornerbacks Artie Burns (groin) and Sidney Jones IV (groin), WR Penny Hart (hamstring) and defensive back Teez Tabor, a healthy scratch.
Seattle on Saturday elevated outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and cornerback Xavier Crawford off the practice squad and each is active and will play.
The Chargers’ inactive players are: QB Easton Stick, WR Joshua Palmer , PK Dustin Hopkins, S JT Woods, TE Donald Parham Jr. and DL Christian Covington.
No one questions that the Seahawks, at 3-3, are weathering their first season without Russell Wilson far better than almost anyone anticipated.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is convinced that the Seahawks are a good team capable of making a playoff run.
Their playoff odds remain fairly middling among those who try to calculate such things — FiveThirtyEight.com has the Seahawks at 24% this week, for instance.
“Until we win a lot of games, we are not going to get any credit,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “If that’s going to come we have to win a lot of games here. They are looking — people that have an opinion, that have one of those megaphones — they’ll have to deal with us eventually if we can keep doing something. We have a long way to go.”
The Seahawks can get a lot closer to being taken seriously the next two weeks, with an opportunity to accomplish a first this season — beat a team with a winning record.
Up first are the 4-2 Chargers at 1:25 p.m. Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Next week the Seahawks face one of the NFL’s surprise teams, the 5-1 New York Giants, at Lumen Field.
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