Heading into camp, we’ll take a quick look through the opponents on the 2014 schedule.
Second up: The San Diego Chargers
When: Week 2, Sept. 14, 1:05 p.m. at San Diego.
Last season: 9-7; season ended with a 24-17 loss at Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs.
What went right: QB Philip Rivers had arguably his best season. Rivers completed a career-high and league-leading 69.5 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,478 yards. He threw 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Running back Ryan Matthews also had a big year. He ran for a career-best 1,255 yards. San Diego was fifth in total yards, but 12th in points per game. Rivers was more accurate on the road (71.5 percent) than at home (67.3 percent). No surprise to see a heavy correlation between his big games and San Diego blowouts. When it won by 15 or more points, Rivers completed 79.6 percent of his passes.
What did not: Red-zone scoring and Rivers in the fourth quarter of tight games. The Chargers moved the ball throughout the season. Yet, they finished 23rd in the red-zone touchdown percentage (51.5). Though a poor number, that was at least an improvement from 2012′s 46.8 percent. In games where San Diego was up or down seven points to start the fourth quarter, Rivers’ completion percentage dipped to 59.1 percent over that final 15 minutes.
2014 Super Bowl odds: 40-1
Key offseason addition: Running back Donald Brown — who gave the Seahawks problems in spot duty during their visit to Indianapolis last year — was signed to reduce Matthews’ carries. The Chargers paid a significant amount for Brown to be a backup: Three years and $10.4 million. This is Matthews’ last year under contract, and he has often been hurt. So, Brown looms as insurance and likely the next feature back in San Diego.
Key offseason loss: None, really. A backup QB (old friend Charlie Whitehurst), two corners and a fullback moved on. The Chargers were looking for new corners anyway (they were 29th against the pass last season). They took CB Jason Verrett out of TCU with the 25th overall pick.
Last regular-season meeting: The Seahawks won, 27-20, at home on Sept. 26, 2010. Leon Washington returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in that game.