SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks didn’t score when Russell Wilson was in the game.
It didn’t matter. The guys competing to be his backup, Tarvaris Jackson and Brady Quinn, had nice performances in a 31-10 victory over San Diego on Thursday night in Mike McCoy’s debut as Chargers coach.
Jackson threw two touchdown passes and Quinn threw for another score.
Here are five reasons the Seahawks, who have big expectations to go further in the playoffs than they did last year, left Qualcomm Stadium with a win:
1. THEY’RE A BETTER TEAM: “I think you saw a little bit of what the Seahawks are,” said Quinn, signed in the offseason after spending last season with the Kansas City Chiefs. “An explosive team, a team that likes to have fun and is extremely aggressive on offense and defense, and extremely confident. Hopefully we can build off that.”
Quinn threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the first half.
With the exception of a nice opening drive capped by Nick Novak’s 28-yard field goal, the Chargers weren’t that impressive.
2. JACKSON’S BACK: Jackson won seven games for the Seahawks as their starting quarterback in 2011. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills during training camp last season when it became evident he would not win the starting job over Wilson and Matt Flynn. The Bills released Jackson earlier this summer and the Seahawks re-signed him.
“It’s been a long time, but it was fun out there,” Jackson said. “Guys have more experience and guys aren’t making as many mistakes and are on the same page. It showed in practice and in the game.”
Jackson threw a 42-yard scoring pass to Stephen Williams on the first play of the fourth quarter and hit Derrick Coleman on a 6-yarder in the final minutes. Jackson also completed a 41-yarder to Williams to set up Spencer Ware’s 6-yard scoring run late in the third quarter.
3. WILSON WAS, WELL, WILSON: Wilson, who led the Seahawks to the playoffs last year as a rookie, played the first three series. He passed for 23 yards and ran for 9.
Wilson had some nice scrambles, including one on second-and-7 from the 17 when he gained just 1 yard, but evaded numerous Chargers, including Dwight Freeney.
“I felt good,” Wilson said. “I thought we did some good things. It was the first preseason game. You wish you were in there longer, but the great thing was our offense kept clicking. Brady and Tarvaris did a tremendous job of getting us going and making some big-time plays.”
4. MCCOY DIDN’T GAMBLE: The Chargers had a fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 11 on the game’s opening drive. Instead of going for it, revving up the crowd and setting a tone, McCoy opted to have Novak kick the field goal. One play earlier, Philip Rivers scrambled for 5 yards.
Four plays earlier, the Chargers did go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 29 and Ryan Mathews gained 9 yards.
“I had to make a decision on two fourth-and-1’s. I told Ken (Whisenhunt), ‘If we are anywhere close we are going to go for it.’ I want to set the attitude and what the approach of this football team is going to be. We are going to be aggressive and attack and score as many points as we can.
“I was very tempted to go for it on the last one. But hey, we had a 12-play, 13-play drive going and I wanted to make sure we finished the drive off the right way and got some points.”
McCoy replaced Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers missed the playoffs for the third straight year.
5. CHARLIE, CHARLIE, CHARLIE: Chargers backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was intercepted twice and sacked three times. One of the pickoffs set up Quinn’s 11-yard scoring pass to Kearse 2:11 before halftime. San Diego defensive backs Darrell Stuckey and Steve Williams collided, leaving Kearse wide open. Williams pointed at Stuckey, who put his hands on his helmet.
Whitehurst played for the Chargers from 2006-09 without ever throwing a regular-season pass. He was traded to the Seahawks, where he played for two seasons before returning to San Diego as a free agent.
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