It would have been better if we shut them out. Nevertheless I am extremely satisfied to write that the Seahawks defeated the Oakland Raiders Thursday night by a score of 21-3. The Seahawks finish the preseason a perfect 4-0 while the Raiders end the preseason at 1-3. There is a bit for me to touch on, and I’ll start with the brief play of the starting units.
Wilson showed signs of rookie jitters: Although Russell Wilson performed fairly Thursday night, there were a couple of plays I’m sure he would like to have back. There seemed to be a breakdown of communication on one play between him and Golden Tate. I don’t know if Wilson let the pass get away from him or if Tate ran the wrong route, but the pass sailed incomplete. It would have been an Oakland interception if there was a defender in the vicinity but there wasn’t. Another pass, which had me shaking my head, was a play-action rollout to the right. Wilson then targeted tight end Kellen Winslow and sailed the ball over his head. Winslow wasn’t more than ten yards straight ahead of Wilson, and it is a throw I’ve seen Wilson make numerous times in practice. I consider Russell Wilson’s 5/11 for 72 yards to be fair, but I would have liked to see the Seahawks get into the endzone. The only points registered in the first quarter were off a 25-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Wilson committed no turnovers which is definitely a plus. Since his interception in the Tennessee game, Wilson has gone three games without a turnover. That is great momentum heading into the regular season.
I call out Irvin, he steps up: When I posted the halftime score on Facebook, I noted that I wanted to see more involvement from Bruce Irvin in the second half. That is exactly what he did. Irvin recorded 1.5 sacks and had a quarterback pressure in the second half. His countermoves seemed to be working quite well but you have to take into account it was against Oakland back-ups. Like with Russell Wilson’s lack of turnovers, it is good to have momentum in his direction going to the regular season.
No notable stat lines at WR: No wide receiver overly impressed Thursday night. With the exception of running back Vai Taua catching balls out of the backfield, no receiver had more than two catches. Tight end Cooper Helfet scored his second touchdown of the preseason and Kris Durham had a nice catch heading towards the sidelines for 25 yards. No bubble receiver made significant strides to lock down a roster spot. Going off of this headline…
Running game was a huge point of emphasis: Although the ratio of run plays to pass plays was narrow, it seemed like the Seahawks were trying to run the ball as much as they could. In the second half for example, the Seahawks ran 22 rush plays and 13 passing plays. The Seahawks ran the ball 63% of their second half plays compared to 50% in the first half. Kregg Lumpkin got the bulk of the carries, running for 71 yards on 20 carries. It will be interesting to see how offensive plays are split up between rush and pass, especially when Marshawn Lynch is on the field.
Portis sees expanded playing time: Josh Portis entered the game with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter. Portis got double the amount of playing time I was hoping to see him get but he did not do as good of a job as I would have liked to see. Portis finished the night 1/6 for 10 yards in the air, and had 4 rushes for 23 yards. Those rushes were more like scrambles, as Portis did not seem to locate his targets very well. Portis stood in the pocket for a good amount of time and it didn’t look to me like he bailed from the pocket prematurely, but his rushes were definitely not designed. It is good to have another mobile quarterback in case of emergency, but Josh Portis has a long way to go to make the 12th Man comfortable, should he see playing time in the regular season.
Oakland as a whole did not look like anything special: For starters, I would have liked to have seen Carson Palmer attempt a pass but that was not the case. The starting offense only played one series and could not get anything going. I believe the idea that you don’t want to take too many risks in the final preseason game but any Raiders fan in attendance should have walked away very disappointed. Not only did Palmer not throw a pass, but Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Denarius Moore all did not even suit up. The Raiders only managed three points in the final minutes; supplied but backup kicker Eddy Carmona (Sebastian Janikowski didn’t even suit up!). The Oakland depth is not very talented in my opinion. Their best performer was linebacker Nathan Stupar, who made 11 tackles. Offensively, Mike Goodson was the leading rusher (26 yards on 8 carries) and Eddie McGee was their leading receiver (3 catches for 36 yards). Both Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor looked rusty and/or conservative. In Pryor’s case, his best plays were made after he was flushed out of the pocket and was scrambling. Like I posted in my game preview, if the Raiders get hurt on offense they will definitely be in trouble this season.
Random Thoughts: The highlight in the stands was a guy in the row in front of me and two seats to the left. He had just bought a new white Seahawks jersey and in the first quarter, the lady sitting next to us accidentally spilled her entire tray of nachos down his back. He seemed to be a good sport about it and they even exchanged phone numbers, as she wanted to pay to have the jersey dry cleaned. I felt really bad for him but initially I had a hard time fighting giggles. A couple sprays of Shout should get that gross pump cheese right out… Russell Wilson’s ovation was great when the offense was introduced. It was by far the loudest of any starter. I can only imagine what it will sound like in the regular season… Got two more autographs on the visor; linebacker K.J. Wright and long snapper Clint Gresham. My buddy Josh scored the best John Hancock between the both of us, as he got 3-time super bowl winning quarterback Jim Plunkett to sign his Raiders football… I paid $19 for two slices of pizza and a bottle of water inside the stadium. If anyone wants to argue why you think that is a reasonable price please give me your best shot. Absolutely ridiculous… Josh and I hung out at King Street Bar and Oven before the game. The beer was lukewarm and their house specialty the “Hawk Shot” is incredibly sweet. It was like drinking Kool-Aid… The weather was very comfortable. Not muggy up at the seats either. That was a nice change… Nobody overly annoying around us Thursday night, although the lady who spilled her nachos was not very knowledgeable, as she was cheering for starters in the second half, well after they had left the game… A couple of emotional thoughts from Thursday’s game: The Seahawks honored George Hickman before the national anthem with a moment of silence. Also, in the second half a deployed soldier surprised his family at the game and was greeted to a loud ovation. It was a great sight to see… Six Washington State Olympians raised the 12th Man flag. The most notable athlete was boxer Queen Underwood… I went on another Seahawks apparel binge after the game. I bought a new sweatshirt. It looks really really good on me (ladies)!
So that’s a wrap on the preseason. Tomorrow the coaching staff and front office have until 6pm to cut the roster down to 53 players. I am planning on having the roster posted tomorrow night and will explain my thoughts on who is staying and who is leaving.
The Seahawks will most likely take tomorrow off and will be at practice later this weekend as they start game planning and preparation for the season opener on September 9th against the Arizona Cardinals.