By Sam Smith
The Seattle Seahawks finished the preseason (2-2) with an early rousing of the Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Century Link field on September 3rd, the final score SEA 31, OAK 21. None of the OAK starters played at all in the game, as OAK QB Derek Carr, RB Latavius Murray sat out. Noticeably absent was OAK WR Michael Crabtree as well. That’s okay though, as Richard Sherman didn’t start this game either. While no one expected the ‘hawks to notch a Loss against the Raiders, all of the 12s wanted to see a good showing at a near sold out crowd in Seattle.
The first offense, dogged by 0 touchdowns in their 12 series on the field, decided to go for broke, as Russell Wilson wrist flicked a deep ball to Tyler Lockett, who ran it unopposed for 63 yards and notched his first NFL receiving touchdown. Lockett had no issue running clear of the defensive backs, and none of the other scrambling DBs could catch him in time. Through four games, Lockett has a punt return for a touchdown, a kick return for a touchdown, and a reception touchdown. He would stay in the game through the third string QB, R.J. Archer coming in, and notched another reception, this time when it was thrown low. Christine Michael had a few runs of next to no yardage, but he was able to get a few clutch 1st down conversions thanks to Luke Willson doing some superior run blocking. Speaking of blocking, fullback Derrick Coleman upended an oncoming OAK defender, which allowed Michael to squeeze through a perfectly designed hole.
Thomas Rawls ran like a bat out of hell tonight, rushing for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. He gained almost 90 yards on 11 carries. This was his breakout performance. Most of the 3rd and 4th Quarters were dominated by B.J. Daniels, who came in to relieve R.J. Archer and play QB. At a glance, he went 6/14, with just 45 passing yards. You would likely read the box score recap and think to yourself that it wasn’t the most impressive outing of the night. He would rush for 75 yards by himself, faking out OAK defensive lineman with designed screen plays and fake handoffs, trading back and forth between Rawls and himself on the runs. OAK didn’t seem to pick up on the trend, and paid for it heavily, giving up 17-yard swaths of turf, and multiple 1st downs to Seattle. Daniels would also notch a touchdown throw to Kasen Williams, off of a back shoulder throw in the far left corner of the end zone. Oh, plus double coverage, we can’t forget that. Had Daniels played in place of Archer most of this preseason, we may have only lost one of the games. Chris Matthews came back in for tonight’s game, but was ultimately unable to garner any receptions, despite his targets.
Defensively, Seattle started out on point, but continued to bleed yards away to OAK on 15+ yard throws all night. Their highlights were a number of goal line stuffs, keeping OAK RB Roy Helu to minimal yards, mostly negative ones, until the 4th quarter when he got…a whopping 3 yards. The candidate for the games most incredible play came from Frank Clark, stripping Mike McGloin in OAK’s end zone. With the ball loose, Jordan Hill ran like his roster spot depended on it, leaping on it, and scoring a defensive touchdown for Seattle. It appears, from what we’ve seen throughout the preseason, that Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh, and the revolving door of cornerbacks are proficient at their game. Cassius Marsh can gut offensive lines, and literally pull people backwards, as he’s demonstrated. Clark has proved that unless you double cover him, he WILL get to the QB. Opposing teams will need to prepare for the Frank Clark train, because it’s obviously full steam. Seattle got the short end of an onside kick, ceding traction to OAK on this trick play. Kevin Pierre Louis and Brock Coyle played great expansion roles, reaching to make any and all plays they could.
Overall, it might as well have been Flag Day in Seattle, as they had scores of flags and accompanying penalties thrown against them in tonight’s game. Particularly, holding and pass interference calls destroyed Seattle’s defense from really ever putting the last nail in the coffin of Oakland’s offense. Nearly every time there looked to be questionable pass interference actions, the refs threw the flag, and Seattle would give up another first down conversion, and have to stack the box to stall the run game. It worked just fine against Oakland, but will likely not work against Green Bay or Pittsburgh. Seattle was even called for a Chop Block and a late hit, and encroachment in the second quarter. The line has to cut down on these in order to be successful.
Up next, is a division rivalry, St. Louis Rams, in St. Louis to open the 2015 season. The Rams haven’t looked impressive at all, and will be without stud running back Todd Gurley. With a W/L record of 21-13 all time in favor of Seattle, it’s hard not to feel confident, regardless of starting their season on the road. I expect the St. Louis defense to provide even more aggressive attack with their defensive lines.