Seahawks -Chargers Preview

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What many viewed as a 20-point domination of a fellow NFC contender in the league’s season opener last week didn’t feel the same to the reigning Super Bowl champions.

The Seattle Seahawks rightly possess expectations of themselves that exceed the norm, and their confident yet banged-up defense is stressing improvement heading into Sunday’s road matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

Seattle held Green Bay’s offense to 255 yards – fewer than its league-leading average of 292.3 allowed per game in 2013 – and sacked Aaron Rodgers three times in last Thursday’s 36-16 home victory.

But the Seahawks allowed a first-quarter touchdown, matching the amount they gave up in 19 games during their championship run last season, and Rodgers connected on 69.7 percent of his passes after opposing quarterbacks completed 59.0 percent in 2013.

Those out-of-character occurrences irked Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman.

“It was off. We weren’t up to par. We weren’t up to snuff, and I think everyone feels that way,” Sherman said. “We’ve got to play better.”

After an overall solid effort didn’t impress them, the Seahawks must move forward without another member of a secondary regarded as one of the deepest in the league. Tharold Simon missed the opener due to knee surgery and will be out at least four weeks, and fellow cornerback Jeremy Lane injured his groin against the Packers and will miss at least eight weeks.

Safety Kam Chancellor is confident the back unit will be just fine.

“(I) have no concerns at all. We always say no weak links,” Chancellor said. “Anything we know, anything we see on the field, we share with our backups, we share with each other. So everyone is on the same beat (and) if anyone goes down a guy can step right in, step in with confidence and finish the game.”

Rookie Marcus Burley, acquired in a trade with Indianapolis on Aug. 30, stepped in for Lane and is expected to remain in that role.

“We really liked the kid coming in and did a fantastic job of being ready to play in that game down the stretch,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We have no other alternatives that we would think of at this point.”

Seattle has had plenty of time to prepare for the Chargers, who let an 11-point, third-quarter lead slip away in Monday’s 18-17 loss to Arizona. Philip Rivers threw for 238 yards and a touchdown, but a snap sailed over his head in the fourth to put San Diego out of field-goal range and helped the Cardinals get in position to score twice in the final 12 1/2 minutes.

Coach Mike McCoy stressed those types of mistakes can’t happen again.

“Against a good football team that’s coming here on Sunday, you can’t give them the opportunities,” McCoy said. “You’ve got to put them away when you have the chance.”


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