By Sam Smith
After a scoreless first quarter (what a tale of the preseason, scoring no points within the first quarter of many games), the Raiders forced a safety, putting the first points on the board. Few, if any of Oakland’s starters played in this game, and Russell Wilson was 1/3 before turning the ship over to Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps.
A pair of FGs between Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski and Steven Hauschka made the score 5-3, before both teams went bonkers in the fourth quarter. No sooner had either team got there, Janikowski put another three points on the board to remind a lot of fans of the Wild Card game versus Minnesota last season. No sooner that the Raiders moved up the field again, 4th year linebacker (and NFL Journeyman) from Oklahoma State Ryan Robinson picked off Connor Cook for a 42 yard score. Troymaine Pope would punch another score in from the 5-yard line, widening Seattle’s lead with just 5:00 minutes remaining at 16-8.
Just before the 2:00 warning, Oakland’s George Atkinson scored, bringing Oakland within striking distance of an upset, Seattle 16, Oakland 14. By this point in the game, most people would assume that teams would start to shut the engines down and ease off of the throttle, but neither team wanted to do that with roster spots still to battle for. No sooner had the kick been lofted into the air, Seattle’s Alex Collins waltzed into the end zone to make the total score 24-14 after Hauschka notched the extra point. 14 seconds later, Atkinson rumbled by everyone for an 81-yard kick return touchdown, and Janikowski put the last point on the board before the clock expired, Seattle 24, Oakland 21.
The rushing game again showed strong, with both Troymaine Pope and Alex Collins logging long runs of 33 and 20 against Oakland, while no one in a Raiders uniform logged a carry over 20 yards. Again, total receiving yards (Seattle, 122 Oakland, 182) weren’t enough to undo the damage that Seattle’s offensive line allowed the run game to do, with six different running backs for the Hawks accumulating 126 yards. 8 of those yards came from Thomas Rawls, who looked like he’d knocked the rust off him, being tackled for a loss in the backfield before rushing again for 8 yards. Rawls only logged two carries, but the future looks bright still.
If there’s one thing to be sure of with the 53 man roster needing to be solidified soon, it’s this- Seattle looks as deep as it can be in regards to recent years memory. The running game looks bedrock solid with either Christine Michael or Thomas Rawls behind the line, the receiving game wants to take another step forward with Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Defensively, the line and secondary play has been solid with the 1s and 2s both playing. Sure, it’s preseason, but a win is a win.
In the postgame conference, Pete Carroll remarked that “…Scoring 20 fourth quarter points which really sets a good message for us about finishing.” As fans, I don’t think we could agree more. Carroll also spoke about Rawls when asked if he wanted to play more than just two carries in the game: ”Yeah, we were working at that. I wanted to make sure he had the resolve throughout and was ready to do it…The fact that he got in there, got knocked a few times, and it’s behind him now is fantastic. It’s an incredible comeback.”
Next, the Dolphins visit the Seahawks at the Clink to open the 2016 NFL regular season. Byron Maxwell makes his return to Seattle starting against his former teammates. Seattle currently is a 10-point favorite to win this game, the highest across the league. Seahawks football is here!