Chargers-Seahawks takeaways: L.A.’s revamped ‘D’ needs revisiting

The Chargers' Kyle Van Noy (8) can't tackle Seattle's Kenneth Walker III (9), who breaks free for a 74-yard touchdown run.
The Chargers’ Kyle Van Noy (8) falls short of tackling Seattle’s Kenneth Walker III (9), who breaks free for a 74-yard touchdown run.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Chargers lost 37-23 Sunday to Seattle at SoFi Stadium, dropping to 4-3 entering their off week.

They had won three in a row before falling behind early to the Seahawks, rallying back to within three points and then crumbling.

Observations from another rough Sunday at home for the home team:


DEFENSE NOT DEFENSIVE ENOUGH: During his first year, coach Brandon Staley clearly felt the Chargers were lacking the proper personnel to executive his defense.

In the offseason, among others, they added Khalil Mack, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Bryce Callahan and Morgan Fox — all players who had succeeded in the scheme with Staley on previous teams.

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Seven games into Year 2, Staley’s defense continues to struggle to find any consistency.

The Seahawks converted five of nine third downs and the Chargers committed four penalties — pass interference on Callahan, J.C. Jackson and Derwin James Jr. and roughing the passer on Jerry Tillery — that led to four more first downs.

“Up and down” is how Staley described the defense’s performance Sunday, the Chargers yielding 404 total yards, including 168 on the ground to Seattle rookie running back Kenneth Walker III.

“There were plenty of good moments,” Staley said. “I thought that we got off to a good start with the takeaway. Then, we just fouled some on third down — a killer. I thought that the penalties were the story of the first three drives. …


“I thought that we hung tough. We just have to play a lot cleaner football. That’s not an excuse from me. I have to do a better job coaching this group and bringing it together.”

Kenneth Murray Jr. had his first career interception to thwart the Seahawks’ opening drive. The Chargers failed to convert the turnover to points, however, when they were stopped on fourth and one from the Seattle 32-yard line.

The Chargers couldn’t keep pace with Kenneth Walker III and the Seattle Seahawks in a 37-23 loss that ended their three-game winning streak.

Oct. 23, 2022

The Seahawks produced two touchdowns and a field goal on their next three possessions. The first score came when Marquise Goodwin beat cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. for a 20-yard touchdown.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Chargers again surrendered a big play, Walker streaking through a giant opening for a 74-yard touchdown run. The Chargers now have given up 13 plays of at least 35 yards.

“I think that we’re going to take a long look at that in the bye week,” Staley said of evaluating the defense as a whole. “What I’ve said throughout the season is just establishing continuity with who we’re playing with.

“I think that that’s going to be something that I take a look at over the next two weeks before we play Atlanta, just getting the right combination of players out there, playing the right combination of play calls …

“I think that there have been a lot of good moments from us. But our bad moments have been really bad. We have to make sure that that doesn’t happen because it’s preventing us from being the defense that we’re capable of being.”

Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) grimaces in pain as he is put on a cart after injuring his knee against Seattle.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

JACKSON INJURY “SIGNIFICANT”: Jackson was injured while trying to defend Goodwin late in the first half on a play that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown completion.

As he was about to jump to make a play on the ball, Jackson’s knee appeared to give out and he grabbed for it while landing.

He remained down for several minutes as the other members of the Chargers’ defense knelt around him. Jackson was taken off the field with a cart after his leg was immobilized.

Staley called the injury “significant.” The NFL Network reported that Jackson had suffered a dislocated knee cap.

“It was sad because I was right beside it,” James said. “I was running to the ball, trying to go over there. I seen it, like, I was the closest person to it. It’s sad. Wish nothing but prayers and for him to be healthy.”

Michael Davis replaced Jackson.

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PLAYING IT SAFETY: Until Austin Ekeler scored on a one-yard pass from Justin Herbert late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers’ defense had outscored its offense in the second half.

A safety 43 seconds into the fourth quarter marked the Chargers’ lone points after halftime before Ekeler’s touchdown.

Joseph-Day and Troy Reeder were credited with the tackle of Walker just inside the Seattle end zone.

It was the Chargers’ first safety since Week 17 of the 2020 season at Kansas City.

SPUTTERING STARTERS: The Chargers have been outscored 41-3 in the first quarter over their last three games. They came back to beat Cleveland and Denver after falling behind but couldn’t make it three in a row against Seattle.

“We just gotta pick it up,” Joseph-Day said. “That’s all I got to tell ya. That’s our issue. Yeah, we gotta figure it out. That’s something that definitely has to be emphasized. It’s the truth.”

ALSO OF NOTE: With the Chargers’ struggling to protect Herbert, Ekeler has been targeted 28 times over the last two games. … The Chargers also lost edge rusher Chris Rumph II because of knee and hip injuries. Staley characterized Rumph’s injuries as “not severe in nature.”