Spirited loss

The San Diego Chargers continued to fight hard through the second half when they were faced with what seemed like an insurmountable deficit. Even the game announcers proclaimed "Here we go again", a reference to the disaster that was the 2003 season.

Credit the coaching staff for making some adjustments in the second half of the game and keeping the team fighting for a win. It was within striking distance in the fourth quarter until a fumble ended the rally.

"They kept playing," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "They kept playing hard. We put ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win the game.

"The turnover bug got us. You can't do that and be successful in this league. You can't turn the ball over as many times as we did and expect to be in the game at the end let alone have an opportunity to win."

It was a shock that the team was even in the game and the crowd rallied behind Doug Flutie. He was the only quarterback to get the Chargers into the end zone and ironically has nothing to do with the starting quarterback competition.

What would a quarterback competition be without the two quarterbacks are fighting it out and both playing in the final preseason game?

Normally, the starting quarterback gets the finale off – there is no need to get that player injured with the regular season around the corner. But Schottenheimer has said there has been no decision on who will start the year as the quarterback of his team. Therefore, the coach confirmed that both will play on Thursday night in San Francisco.

The defense, so bad in the first half, played well in the second half. They didn't see Hasselbeck for long. He left the game when they intercepted him but they provided pressure up front on that particular drove which helped out the interception by Terrence Kiel.

Kwamie Lassiter, on October 19, 2003 against the Cleveland Browns, was the last player to return an interception for a touchdown. His traversed 38 yards.

Kiel had one of his best games as a Bolt. He was sure in run support and was always around the ball. His interception return for a touchdown went 63 yards, not long enough to make the record books for longest interception return.

"I try to do what I can do," Kiel said. "Anything I can do to contribute."

Even more impressive for the defense in that third quarter is they faced 21 straight plays against the Seattle offense since the interception was not a play off. They kept the Seahawks to a field goal on that second drive.

It was not enough to please Schottenheimer.

"Defensively on third down we weren't efficient," the coach said. "The (Seattle) offense is one of the most efficient in the National Football League.

"We are not ready for prime time."

The last time the Chargers had a punt return of 81 yards or more was in 2001 when Tim Dwight returned one 84 yards for a touchdown vs. Washington on September 9. Wes Welker put himself into the top ten longest returns ever with his touchdown return. Welker returned eight for a touchdown during his career at Texas Tech.

"I just followed my blocks downfield," the humble returner said. "They did a great job of hustling and getting me into the end zone. There is nothing special we do on punt returns that makes me look better than I am. "I want to take full advantage of my chances to make a play. It is a dream come true for me."

Seahawks point of view:

"Philip Rivers is the real deal, which is why (Seattle Defensive Coordinator Ray) Rhodes seems to have changed the game plan a bit for him. After his first drive came a bit too close to scoring for comfort, Rhodes threw a couple of wrinkles at him. Once we started applying some pressure, he started to look like the rookie he is. I'm sure glad that San Francisco and Arizona didn't get a shot at drafting this guy. He looks like he will be the real deal in a year or so, if he gets some help around him. I'm glad he's tucked away in another conference." – Seahawks reporter Steve Utz

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@Sandiegosports.net

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