Philip Rivers warned them about this environment.
Oh did he warn them, constantly telling them of the raucous environment they should expect when they took the field at CenturyLink Field having to deal with Seattle’s vaunted 12th man.
It turned out he got some flack on the sideline for how much he talked it up.
The Chargers had all the respect in the world for how loud the stadium got, but they were proud of the way they were able to silence the crowd with big play after big play.
“I think that, to me, really kept the crowd from getting too crazy,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t as loud as I’ve experienced here, consistently. There were spurts, but it wasn’t as consistently as loud as it’s been. I had everybody prepped for it to be crazy, and the guys that had their first time here were like, ‘You hyped it a little too much.’ But I thought it was loud. It’s loud when you’ve got to scream to call those plays in the huddle, so maybe it affects me. I feel it a little different than the other guys.”
There were several plays in particular that really subdued the crowd.
The first was a 28-yard run by Keenan Allen on a jet sweep on the first offensive snap of the game. The stadium was rocking with the Bolts backed up at their own six, but the roars quickly turned into a hush.
Then there was the 54-yard pass to Allen to move the chains on a 3rd-and-15 when the Chargers were on their own 12. And of course, the team’s three highlight-reel touchdowns hushed the crowd as Tyrell Williams, Melvin Gordon and Mike Williams all had scores that are SportsCenter Top 10 play-worthy touchdowns.
“It’s always fun when you can silence a crowd like this one,” Allen said.
What’s impressive is the offense was able to do so while not playing at their highest level. Still, they made the plays they had to, which took the air out of the stadium at key times.
“We ran the ball really, really well, and Philip played his ass off today,” said Mike Pouncey. “He made a lot of big throws. We left a lot of yardage on the field. When we watch the film, we’re going to be disappointed with ourselves because we left so much stuff on the football field. We gave these guys (Seattle) a chance to stick around.”
Meanwhile, the defense made their fair share of plays to take the crowd out of it as well.
Desmond King’s fourth quarter pick-six zapped the energy from the stadium, as did each of the Bolts’ four sacks and big third down stops.
“It’s always good when as a defense, you make that play, and you hear the crowd (deflated),” said Damion Square, who recorded his third sack of the year when he took down Russell Wilson. “You know where you’re playing. You know what this place means to the league. One of the loudest stadiums in the league, if not the loudest. So we understood what we were coming into. We were excited about the environment.”
Still, that’s not to say it wasn’t as a tough environment. After all, the Chargers became the first AFC team to win at CenturyLink Field since 2011.
“That’s crazy, but I can believe it,” Square said when he learned about that fact. “We’ve been watching these guys win a lot of games for a long time. Even when I was in college these guys were elite. So, we knew what type of atmosphere we were coming into. We’re so confident in our team. The pieces that we’ve been able to put together over the years. Everybody being able to be on the field at the same time. It’s really coming together. It feels so good to run our victory string.”
Square wasn’t alone regarding his feelings about the big win.
“It was great,” Allen said. “Any time we come on the road, the loudest place in the league and get a win the way we did, it was big. I thought it was dominating. Pretty great. ... They were hot, but we’re hotter.”
“You almost need the perfect game to come in here and have success, and we were able to put it together today,” said Russell Okung, who began his career in Seattle. “It was a team effort, for sure.”