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Philip Rivers, Chargers look sharp early in 24-14 win over Seahawks

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 18, 2018, 11:38 p.m.

CARSON, Calif. – Although Philip Rivers has only faced the Seattle Seahawks three times in games that count, he knows nearly everything about their defense because of Gus Bradley.

Rivers used that know-how to get the Los Angeles Chargers off to a strong start in their first victory of the preseason.

Melvin Gordon rushed for a short touchdown to cap a strong 70-yard opening drive by the Bolts’ first-teamers, and Rivers went 6 of 7 for 62 yards in Los Angeles’ 24-14 preseason victory over the Seahawks on Saturday night.

Rivers played only two series in his first action of the preseason, but he had six consecutive completions. He also made a few plays by capably eluding the Seattle rush and connecting with strong throws on the run.

None of it surprised Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Bradley, the Chargers’ defensive coordinator, ran Carroll’s defense in Seattle for four years, and Los Angeles’ scheme is awfully similar.

“Philip had us a couple of times,” Carroll said. “He knew what he was going against, and he did a great job. He plays against our defense every day (in practice).”

Russell Wilson was 13 of 21 for 193 yards while playing the entire first half for the Seahawks (0-2). His offense was limited to two field goals by execution mistakes in the red zone, and Wilson was repeatedly flushed from the pocket by Melvin Ingram while the Chargers’ destructive pass rusher had an outstanding first half.

David Moore made the Seahawks’ biggest play of the first half, hauling in a 52-yard catch between two Chargers downfield. Seattle could have kept it closer, but Chris Carson had a touchdown run waved off by a penalty and later fumbled at the goal line in the first half.

“In the red zone in particular, we’ve got to stay on schedule,” Wilson said. “That’s the lesson we learned from tonight, but the great thing was really the score should have been 21-7 pretty early. First three drives, we get three touchdown opportunities, and that’s what we look for. We go to the truth of what we did and where we can get better.”

JJ Jones returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown late in the first half, and Mike Williams caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith in the second half of the Chargers’ preseason home opener in their second season at compact StubHub Center. Coach Anthony Lynn was infuriated by 14 penalties, but otherwise pleased.

“Classic example of bend-but-don’t-break defense,” Lynn said. “They didn’t let them in the end zone, and that’s the most important thing.”

Smith then made a strong argument for the Chargers’ backup job, going 6 of 8 for 85 yards. His TD pass came on an eye-opening catch by Williams, who jumped over Seattle cornerback Akeem King and hauled in the first score of his NFL career for a 21-6 lead.

Seahawks rookie Alex McGough led a solid drive in the final minutes, hitting Malik Turner with a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Robert Aguayo hit a 39-yard field goal with 40 seconds left, boosting his bid to win the Chargers’ kicking job.


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