CARSON--The LA Chargers launched a new era with a familiar combination: Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates.
On Saturday, the Chargers opened up their 2017 NFL preseason and finally consummated their move to Los Angeles by playing their first match at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California against the Seattle Seahawks in front of an official attendance count of 21,054, which was well shy of the reported 27,000 capacity.
For those fans that did turn up, the first drive turned out to be a perfect example of what the Chargers offer that is pointedly different than the current product on display from the crosstown defensively stout LA Rams, i.e. experience at quarterback and points on the scoreboard.
Rivers conducted an impressive opening drive where he hit five of his six targets and connected with Gates for the LA Chargers' first touchdown since moving north about 115 miles.
As is customary, Rivers and the Chargers' starters grabbed a seat for the remainder of the game having come out looking sharp and putting together a positive drive that resulted in seven points.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks responded with a field goal on their opening drive, but Wilson completed three of his four pass attempts and also ran for five yards. After the opening drive, Wilson joined Rivers in being a spectator for the remainder of the sunny Sunday evening in Carson.
Even without Rivers and Wilson, the Chargers and Seahawks continued to put up points. By the end of the first quarter, the Chargers and Seahawks had already combined for 24 points, which was one more point than the LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys combined for in four quarters one day earlier.
With backups getting the majority of playing time in the preseason opener, neither team should have been all too concerned with the scoreboard, but the backups continued to add points.
Seattle's backup quarterback Trevone Boykin led the Seahawks to 24 points in the second quarter and gave the visitors a 34-17 lead entering the halftime break.
LA's backup quarterback Kellen Clemens had a couple tipped passed picked off, one of which was returned for a touchdown, but the 34-year-old veteran also recorded a passing touchdown on a long bomb thrown to Travis Benjamin, good for 74 yards on the scoring play. Clemens left the game just before halftime with four completions on 10 passing attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Cardale Jones came in to replace Clemens as the third string quarterback for the Chargers.
Boykin stayed in at the start of the second half and eventually exited the game with 12 completions on 15 attempts for 189 yards with one touchdown and one interceptions.
At the end of three quarters, the Seahawks had a commanding 41-17 lead. As the warm summer day turned into a mildly chilly, breezy night, the Seahawks eventually won by a final count of 48-17.
Next, the LA Chargers look for their first win when they host the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 20 before playing as the away team at the LA Coliseum against the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 26. The Chargers wrap up the preseason away against the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 31.
The first regular season game at the Stubhub Center will be on Sept. 17 against the Miami Dolphins.