SAN DIEGO — Tarvaris Jackson has started 34 regular-season games in his NFL career, so you’d think an exhibition might not mean all that much.
But after losing his job in Seattle last summer and barely getting on the field in the preseason, then getting traded by Buffalo without ever taking a snap in any sort of game, he admitted that what he did Thursday night was sort of special — exhibition game or not.
“It felt pretty good, man,” he said after throwing two touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks to a 31-10 win over the San Diego Chargers in their exhibition opener at Qualcomm Stadium. “That was my first game, really, since 2011 (in the season finale for the Seahawks against the Cardinals). So it’s been a long time. It was just fun to be out there.”
Jackson went 8 of 9 for 128 yards and a quarterback rating of 158.3 to lead Seattle to 24 second-half points. And in the process, he likely took a big step toward securing the backup quarterback job behind Russell Wilson.
“He played perfectly,” Carroll said of Jackson. “He was on it, he threw some great balls.”
Jackson’s competition for that spot, Brady Quinn, actually entered the game after Wilson and before Jackson and was 6 of 11 for 59 yards. Quinn threw a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse of 11 yards following a turnover that put the ball deep in Charger territory.
Otherwise, though, it was mostly a night for the kids, as the Seahawks saved the bulk of the playing time for rookies and other young players trying to make the roster.
The Seattle starting offense played just two series and didn’t do much, gaining a total of three first downs before punting on each drive.
Russell Wilson was 2 of 6 for 23 yards and was high on two throws on third down as Seattle’s starters gained 42 yards on their 12 plays.
Carroll said he thought the first-unit offense was a little sloppy.
All of Seattle’s points were scored by the reserves. But it wasn’t until Jackson entered the game midway through the third quarter that the Seahawks came alive. He hit receiver Stephen Williams with a 41-yard pass to set up a touchdown, and then connected again with Williams on a 42-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to blow the game open.
The game also meant a little more than the usual exhibition for Williams, who didn’t play last year after suffering an Achilles tendon injury, which came after two seasons in which he saw little real action with the Cardinals.
“I felt kind of like a rookie all over again,” said Williams, who was signed by the Seahawks as a free agent in January.
Of the two long receptions, Williams said: “That’s part of my specialty — just going deep and making plays.”
The 6-foot-5 Williams was one of many young players who opened the eyes of Carroll.
Afterward, Carroll also mentioned:
—Defensive end Benson Mayowa, a free agent signed in May who was credited with 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries;
—linebacker John Lotulelei, a free-agent signee who finished with three tackles, one for a loss;
—running backs Christine Michael (89 yards on 16 carries) and Derrick Coleman (three receptions for 18 yards including a touchdown);
—defensive tackle Jesse Williams, who Carroll credited for fighting through regular double teams;
—middle linebacker Allen Bradford, who got the start in place of the injured Bobby Wagner and led the Seahawks with eight tackles;
—and backup offensive tackles Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie.
“What I thought I saw in this game is the guys that had been doing stuff in practice did stuff in the game,” he said. “We’ve seen Benson rush like crazy all the way through camp. Seen Stephen Williams get deep and make plays. Seen Christine Michael do his stuff. Seen both the quarterbacks, T-Jack and Brady both look good and look sharp in their minutes. So I was really excited that what’s happened in practice happened in the game for the most part.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta