Chargers down 23, lose 26-20

It looked like the San Diego Chargers of old, circa 2003, at halftime when they were down 23-0. There were thoroughly dominated in the first half and barely proved they were in the game. Philip Rivers' debut was forgettable and Drew Brees first pass was intercepted. The Chargers came back with a different team in the second half and closed within six, 26-20, and that is how the game ended.

The Chargers went into preseason game number three and the big stories coming in were the debuts of LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers. On the first play from scrimmage, however, Drew Brees faked the handoff to Tomlinson and threw the ball for Kevin Dyson who had slipped. The ball was behind Dyson and was intercepted by Ken Lucas and returned for a touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks.

An illegal block brought the ball back to the 15 yard line. A minute later, Matt Hasselbeck threw a touchdown to Darrell Jackson to officially give them the 7-0 lead. Jamal Williams had tipped the pass as it wobbled into Jackson's hands in the end zone.

Drew Brees came back on his second series and immediately connected with Kassim Osgood for 21 yards and across midfield. Two LaDainian Tomlinson runs and a pass reception from the running back put the ball at the Seattle 30. After an incompletion and a failed reverse, Brees was sacked and the Chargers punted rather than kicking the 54 yard field goal.

Although Seattle was pinned back at the one yard line after a Mike Scifres punt, the Seahawks drove all the way down to the San Diego 34 yard line and Josh Brown connected on a 52 yard field goal to put the team up by ten.

Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander marched the Hawks down the field to inside the ten yard line of San Diego on the next series and on a fourth and one went for it. Jamal Williams and Stephen Cooper tagged up to stuff Alexander, forcing the turnover on downs.

Philip Rivers, on his first play as a Charger, hit Josh Norman for 38 yards to open up his year to cheers. After two runs, Rivers looked deep but found no one. He scrambled forward which pulled the coverage in and hit Kevin Dyson for 19 yards. He came back to hit Osgood on a quick out who turned it back inside for a gain of 15 to put the ball inside the twenty. His fourth pass went to the corner of the end zone for Norman who could not hang on to the ball in the back of the end zone, losing control of the football as he fell. The drive ended when he was sacked.

Mackenzie Hoambrecker came on to try a 39 yard field goal. He hit a line drive right into the hands of Anthony Simmons who returned the ball 68 yards for a touchdown. The protection on the play also broke down as the Seahawks went up 17-0.

Rivers was picked off with under two minutes to go in the half. He tossed a ball targeted for Dyson, who slipped on a timing route, and Marcus Trufant stepped in front of the play to pick off the ball at the 25. Two Alexander runs put the ball in the end zone as the Hawks went up 23-0 when Brown missed the extra point.

Rivers tried to connect with Micah Ross who was blanketed and Ken Hamlin got the interception as the ball bounced around. With a drive that started at the Seahawk 45, Hasselbeck was continuing to turn it on. After two passes brought the ball inside the Chargers 40, Hasselbeck connected with Koren Robinson for 32 yards down at the Chargers three. The play was challenged as the Chargers contended that his feet were not in bounds.

The play stood as was originally called and Shaun Phillips came up big on the very next play with a forced fumble on a sack of Hasselbeck and Stephen Cooper picked up the ball and ran it 26 yards.

The half ended with the Bolts down by 23.

On the opening series of the second half, Terrence Kiel made up for his first missed interception earlier in the series by picking off the second chance at the Chargers 37 and returning it 63 yards for a touchdown. The play was made possible by the pressure from Jacques Cesaire who was in Hasselbeck's face when he threw the ball.

Trent Dilfer led the Hawks on a 16 play drive that was capped by a 50 yard field goal from Brown, his second from 50+ yards on the day to put Seattle up 26-7. Dave Ball stripped Dilfer of the rock on the Seahawks next drive. Igor Olshansky was also in the mix and Vernon Fox recovered the ball. Doug Flutie then entered the game for the first time this preseason. Flutie came on to go 3-for-3 with a touchdown. He hit Brock Edwards for a 24 yard touchdown pass capping off a 53 yard drive. The Chargers went for two but the pass went through the hands of Norman to fall incomplete, 26-13.

Wes Welker further cemented his status as the punt returner of the future by taking a punt back 81 yards for a touchdown to bring the Chargers within six, 26-20.

Doug Flutie hauled a pass 40 yards downfield with less than four minutes to go in the game and found Ruvell Martin. The pass went incomplete but the Chargers got the call – pass interference. The next time Flutie dropped back he was stripped of the ball and Seattle recovered.

On the last drive of the game, Flutie took his last shot into the end zone from midfield but the ball was slapped away as time ran out.

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