Seahawks thump Chargers 27-0 with most starters sitting

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SEATTLE (AP) — Marquise Blair returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown, Alex Collins made a strong bid to be included in Seattle’s running back rotation, and the Seahawks closed out the preseason Saturday night with a 27-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Both teams played primarily their backups, but it was Seattle’s groups of reserves that made the stronger statement after getting blown out in its first two preseason games.

Blair snatched the fumble out of midair after Cody Barton sacked Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel and walked into the end zone on the opening possession for Seattle’s first touchdown of the preseason.

Collins added a 5-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter. Collins finished with 37 yards on 10 carries and had seven receptions for 52 yards. While Seattle seems set with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny as its primary running backs, depth has been a concern in recent seasons due to injuries for the pair and keeping Collins around seems wise.

Sean Mannion added a 2-yard touchdown pass to Darece Roberson Jr. in the fourth quarter for Seattle. Mannion went 13 of 15 passing and seems a likely practice squad addition for Seattle.

While most of the Chargers positions are set, both Daniel and Easton Stick were making their final cases to be the backup quarterback behind Justin Herbert. Daniel played just the first half, going 9 of 12 for 70 yards and was sacked twice.

Stick played sparingly in the first half but took all the snaps in the second half. He was 10 of 17 for 76 yards and was sacked three times.

But it was a largely uninspired effort from the Chargers on the offensive side. Los Angeles crossed midfield just two times and backup kicker Tristan Vizcaino missed a 47-yard field goal attempt the only time the Chargers moved inside the Seattle 30.

STARTERS SIT

Both teams sat the vast majority of their starters choosing not to risk injury two weeks before the start of the regular season. None of the Chargers projected starters saw the field with Herbert, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Derwin James and plenty more key pieces spectating.

A handful of Seattle starters did get a little playing time. Expected starting center Kyle Fuller, left guard Damien Lewis, tight end Gerald Everett and No. 3 wide receiver Dee Eskridge saw some action in the first quarter for Seattle’s offense. Eskridge had one rush for nine yards and a 19-yard reception in the first preseason action for the rookie. The Seahawks defense had a few more possible starters and contributors playing, especially in the secondary, where the starting cornerback spots still appear unsettled. Cornerback D.J. Reed did not play, but Tre Flowers, Damarious Randall and Ahkello Witherspoon all saw time.

Second-year linebacker Darrell Taylor also got extended snaps for Seattle and showed the burst the Seahawks hope he can provide off the edge as a pass rusher with 1 1/2 sacks in the first half.

SHORT STAFFED

The Chargers were without special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II, who remained in California pending the birth of his child. Assistant special team coach Mayur Chaudhari served in Swinton’s absence.

UP NEXT

Chargers: Los Angeles opens the regular season at Washington on Sept. 12.

Seahawks: Seattle opens the regular season at Indianapolis on Sept. 12.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Tim Booth, The Associated Press

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