Given the Seahawks had the ball for less than nine of the game's first 30 minutes, that they have just eight of the game's 23 first downs so far, they are probably OK with being down just 20-14 at halftime here with a temperature on the field of about 100 degrees at Qualcomm Stadium.
The lead is only six despite Philip Rivers' 15-for-19 passing in the opening half and San Diego's 15 first downs, two field goals and two touchdowns on its four drives because of Russell Wilson's deft, 43-second drive to a touchdown that ended the half.
Doug Baldwin made a great, leaping catch to get Seattle from its own 31 to the 45. Then Wilson made a smooth, improvisational play and flip pass outside to backup running back Robert Turbin, who had initially stayed in to block. Baldwin's downfield block got Turbin 10 more yards at the end of a catch and run to the San Diego 21. Wilson then avoided another sack and scrambled for a gain -- which became 1st and goal at the Chargers 3 when the side judge called the Chargers for holding wide receiver Percy Harvin 50 yards away from the play on the opposite sideline. Ridiculous, letter-of-the-law-only call there, but it stopped the clock with 17 seconds remaining.
That was plenty of time for Wilson to find Turbin wide open in the right flat for the touchdown that keeps Seattle within one score of the Chargers here at the break.
Rivers has been wise in reading Seattle's defense, which has been reluctant to play as much nickel as it did last week against Green Bay when San Diego goes to three- and four-wide receiver sets. That's because the Seahawks have Marcus Burley, who's been on the team for just two weeks, filling in for injured Jeremy Lane at nickel back. When the Seahawks have been in base defense against the extra wide receivers, that's forced linebackers Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith to cover wide outs or tight end Antonio Gates. Rivers has also, as promised, gone at Richard Sherman, completing three passes in three targets for 31 yards, all to Keenan Allen. And when the Seahawks have gone to nickel, Rivers has checked into draw plays and screens.
Marshawn Lynch had an issue with his helmet early in the game that cost him a few plays. That and San Diego controlling possession time has left Lynch with just three carries halfway through this one.
Harvin has a 51-yard score on a sweep-toss left, a zooming sprint past flat-footed Chargers. But he also lost a fumble on a kickoff set up San Diego's second TD, Gates 8 yards on a pass from Rivers on third down, behind Kam Chancellor.
Chargers ball to start the second half. Chat now live with me from the press box, at thenewstribune.com/sports.