The Seahawks took advantage of multiple turnovers by the Los Angeles Chargers as they cruised to a 48-17 victory in their opening preseason game of the 2017 campaign. It's the second-most points the Seahawks have ever scored in a preseason game in franchise history.
But let's be honest, the result doesn't really matter. The preseason is an evaluation process to determine who will be a part of your regular season roster. Sunday's game in L.A. provided the first exam of training camp for the 90 men hoping to be a part of the final 53-man roster set at the end of the month.
Here are five takeaways from the Seahawks opening preseason effort against the Chargers:
1. John Schneider will have really difficult decisions at wide receiver.
The Seahawks generally keep six receivers on their roster at the end of training camp. It can sometimes vary either direction by one, but six is a good number to work with for trying to pencil out which players will be around for the start of the season.
Finding exactly which six receivers will make up that group this year is going to be extremely difficult.
The matter could be complicated by an injury to Paul Richardson on his second catch of the night. Richardson made a diving grab of a Russell Wilson pass for a 25-yard gain in the first quarter. He landed hard on his shoulder and left the game.
"He took off for that ball. It was a great deep ball and he kind of left his feet to go get it and he just landed on his shoulder. He got crunched pretty good," head coach Pete Carroll said.
"It's an AC sprain and it's going to be a bit. I don't want to throw a number on it but he got hurt."
Meanwhile, Kasen Williams had a massive performance against the Chargers. He caught four passes for 119 yards on the night, frequently beating rookie cornerback Michael Davis.
"Wow, what a great night. That was really fun to watch," Carroll said. "He showed what he's all about up that sideline. That was really impressive."
Williams was a long shot to make the roster at the start of training camp. In all reality, he probably still is a long shot. However, he's putting together a resume tape for other teams to look at should he not crack a spot with the Seahawks.
Why wouldn't he stick with Seattle? The Seahawks have many viable candidates to make the roster.
Richardson, if healthy, will be on the team. Jermaine Kearse will likely be on the roster as well. Third-round pick Amara Darboh should have a spot as a high draft pick as well. That would leave Williams, J.D. McKissic, seventh-round pick David Moore, Tanner McEvoy and last year's seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler scrapping for one roster spot.
McKissic's ability to be a running back, receiver and returner on special teams makes him a valuable commodity. McEvoy had success last season in a limited role. Moore had three catches for 29 yards and the Chargers. Lawler added two catches and a touchdown.
It's going to be a challenge for Schneider and Carroll to figure out which of those guys to keep on their active roster when all is said and done.
2. Offensive line carousel continues.
The Seahawks used four different offensive line combinations in the first half as they continue to search for the five starters they'll use when the regular season begins.
The only constant of the four groupings was Germain Ifedi at right tackle. The four groupings were as follows:
George Fant, Luke Joeckel, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi and Ifedi.
Joeckel, Rees Odhiambo, Britt, Aboushi and Ifedi.
Joeckel, Odhiambo, Joey Hunt, Mark Glowinski and Ifedi.
Fant, Odhiambo, Hunt, Glowinski and Ifedi.
Carroll said last week that he felt that Fant and Joeckel were developing a chemistry together on the left side of the line, which seemed to indicate that would be likely grouping when the season opens. Also, Aboushi getting the start over Glowinski at right guard was notable as well.
The line juggling continued through the second half, which is certainly expected during the preseason. Ethan Pocic and Jordan Roos played well in the second half as well. Pocic saw time at both right tackle and center.
It would be ideal for Seattle to settle on a starting five sooner than later in order to allow for the chemistry to build over the next couple weeks. They have used around 15 different line combinations with the first-team offense in practice since the start of training camp. A final decision on that starting five doesn't seem imminent just yet.
3. Trevone Boykin, Austin Davis each perform well in backup QB battle.
Russell Wilson was limited to just one drive against the Chargers, allowing ample opportunity to evaluate backup options Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis.
Boykin completed 12 of 15 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in his seven possessions under center. Boykin also rushed for 31 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
"He had a big night. He did beautifully," Carroll said of Boykin. "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 a chance to make some plays and look at all the balls that he threw up the sideline that were just beautiful throws. It was a really good night."
Davis was 7 of 9 for 108 yards in his four drives of work as well.
Both players managed the game well and didn't force the issue. Davis managed to move from pressure and make plays on the move too despite not being as heralded for his running ability as Wilson and Boykin.
To battle over who will backup Wilson during the regular season will seemingly continue to the very end of the preseason.
4. The defensive line battle continues to be fierce as well.
The reality of Malik McDowell's ATV accident is that there will be an additional roster spot available for someone to make the team along the defensive front.
McDowell will start the season on the non-football injury list and miss at least the first six weeks of the season. That opens the door for someone else to make the team.
And various members of the defensive front tried to stake their claim to that spot on Sunday.
Rookie Nazair Jones had four tackles, one for loss, with a quarterback hit and a pass defended that was intercepted by defensive tackle Tylor Harris.
Rodney Coe had three tackles and was active against the run. David Bass had two tackles, one for loss, with a half sack and a quarterback hit. Recently re-signed defensive end Christian French had a sack and recovered two fumbles.
Harris and Jeremy Liggins also showed up in various ways that didn't land in the stat book.
Jones will certainly be on the roster. The rest of the guys listed above may be competing for one spot. It will be a heated battle the rest of camp.
5. There was a hint of the 2013 preseason feel in Seattle's performance.
One of the defining aspects of the Super Bowl champion version of the Seahawks in 2013 was the ease with which they dominated their opponents in the preseason. It wasn't just that Seattle's starters were good. They obviously were stacked with talent in their starting group. It was the fact that their backups were just unquestionably better than other teams' backups as well.
That Seahawks team went 4-0 in the preseason with a 110-36 margin of victory in four games against the Chargers, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders.
The thrashing of the Chargers on Sunday had a distinctly similar feel.
It's obviously absurd to draw any conclusions off of one preseason game. The Chargers may have played poorly in their first game with new head coach Anthony Lynn. They may lack depth across the board that others teams may have in greater quantity. The turnovers Seattle managed to procure may not be sustainable and could have abnormally skewed the result.
But the Seahawks' performance against the Chargers was certainly an encouraging first impression for a team with Super Bowl aspirations once again.
Photo Credit: CARSON, CA - AUGUST 13: Kasen Williams #18 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a pass against cornerback Michael Davis #43 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the second quarter of their pre season football game at the StubHub Center August 13, 2017, in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)