CARSON, CA (News4usonline) – Last week, it was Cardale Jones who stood out for the Los Angeles Chargers in the battle for a possible third and final quarterback spot on the team’s roster for the regular season. The tables turned in Easton Stick’s favor in Week 3.
In an otherwise bland performance by the Chargers’ offense for the first three quarters, Stick gave the hometown crowd something to be excited about in the final period. The Chargers’ fifth-round draft pick out of North Dakota State, Stick completed 12 of his 16 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in a 23-15 lost Saturday to the Seattle Seahawks at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“I thought Stick came in and did a good job the way he led the guys down the field, the way they competed,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said as part of his opening statements after the game.
Stick also used his wheels to make things happen, rushing for 14 yards on three carries. One of those rushes wound up being a 4-yard touchdown run. The Chargers may have lost their preseason matchup to the Seahawks, but with his solid outing, Stick gave Jones a heads up that the final quarterback position is still up for grabs.
“They’re competing now,” Lynn said. “Cardale did some nice things tonight. They are competing.”
Stick did a lot of things right with his extended opportunity to perform. With the Chargers down 23-3, on the Chargers’ first touchdown drive of the evening, Stick led Los Angeles on an eight-play, 50-yard drive in the fourth quarter that wrapped up with an eight-yard touchdown toss he threw to wide receiver Andre Patton.
“I started looking left and just didn’t see anybody open,” Stick said. “The line protected really well; I had all the time in the world. Andre [Patton] did a good job separating from his guy and made a play.”
Stick’s touchdown pass revved up the Dignity Health Sports Park crowd. His short touchdown run completed his sharp play. With the backups and those fighting for roster spots on the field, Stick was the guy that gave Chargers fans something to cheer for.
“It was fun going in there and getting in the huddle,” Stick said. “The guys did a really good job of helping me out. Fed off the crowd’s energy and we were able to make a push there at the end.”
Lynn was impressed with the way his rookie quarterback played.
“I thought he made some nice throws throughout,” said Lynn. “Especially when it was on the fourth-and-ten, there was no one in the middle of the field, then we slipped at the end of the game on the in-breaking route, but that was a nice throw as well. I like the way he stayed in the pocket and the pressure came at him and he delivered the mail down the field.”
Stick’s stellar all-around play was in stark contrast to the way he played against the New Orleans Saints just a week earlier. Against the Saints, Stick completed 5 of 13 passes for 62 and forced an ugly interception. His overall QBR rating against Saints was a meager 22.
That number was decidedly different against the Seahawks. Against Seattle, Stick’s QBR number went through the roof, tipping off at 106.8. As great as he played against Seattle, Stick will have one last preseason game to impress upon Lynn and his coaching staff that he belongs on the team.
There’s not much time to do that. The Chargers play the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 29. On Aug. 31, NFL teams must cut down their roster to 53. On Sept. 1, ballclubs can claim a player placed on waivers and must make a final determination of practice squad players (10). Stick sees the preseason finale against the 49ers as part of the process to becoming an NFL player.
“Just take another step. Every day I’m trying to learn something,” said Stick. “I’m definitely making mistakes, but I’m trying to not make them twice. So, hopefully, I can just take that next step next week and continue to get more comfortable and show that I can help this team.”