The Seahawks capped a solid preseason with a 21-3 win over the Oakland Raiders Thursday night, and played well in several aspects of the game. Importantly for a Pete Carroll-led team, the Seahawks dominated in time-of-possession with a 39 to 20 minute advantage and created two turnovers without turning the ball over themselves. The Seahawks had 24 first downs to Oakland's 5, and gained 334 yards of total offense to the Raiders' 101. The Seahawks rushed for 161 yards tonight and with that performance, averaged 178 yards per game rushing over the four preseason games.
Russell Wilson had a few ups and downs on his way to 5 for 11 passing for 75 yards, no touchdowns and no picks. The Hawks ran play action early and often with Wilson and he completed a couple of nice passes downfield - first to Sidney Rice for 22 yards and then again to Anthony McCoy up the seam for 20 yards. One knock on Wilson during training camp and the preseason was his penchant to throw high, and this showed up tonight. He had Kellen Winslow open on a deep drag downfield but threw the ball about two or three feet over his head, and it was nearly picked by a Raider safety. Overall though, I'd call the 'game' a push for Wilson, and he only saw a couple of series. Wilson looked great on a few throws, including a nice pass up the sideline to Golden Tate that Tate came down with but was just out of bounds - but the offense as a whole wasn't super effective and found themselves in third down and long situations several times.
Matt Flynn came in to start the second quarter - his first drive ended in a punt, his second in a Steven Hauschka field goal, and on his third, he administered an 11-play, 78 yard drive that was almost all Via Taua - on the ground and through the air. Taua rushed it 7 times for 40 yards on that drive and added two catches for 15 yards as the Seahawks ate up almost six minutes of the quarter. Seattle took a 13-0 lead into the half as opposing quarterback Matt Leinart carried a QB rating of 1.7. Yes, I said 1.7.
And, really, to me, that's the story of this game, and this whole preseason really. The defense was swarming, physical, athletic, and tough. They were stingy in every aspect - I don't have the first-half stats in front of me right now but I did hear the commentators at some point in the third quarter - after Matt Flynn left with a 11/13, 102 yard passing performance with a touchdown - that the Raiders had 46 yards of total offense. It didn't get any better for them from there on, as Seattle backed them up into their own end, and Jaye Howard knifed through the line for a very nice tackle for a loss on Mike Goodson that resulted in a safety. Also notable, as Curtis Crabtree pointed out, was that the Seahawks' 'starting' unit gave up 17 points in four outings during the preseason, 10 to Peyton Manning and Denver, 7 to Kansas City, and goose-eggs to Tennessee and Oakland (though, the 'starters' didn't play all that long tonight). No matter how you look at it though, this defense is a positive.
Bruce Irvin had himself a very nice game tonight, and the speed really showed up as he flew around and made plays behind the line of scrimmage. Irvin had 1.5 sacks against Oakland's backups, but even early he was disruptive, strong, and did a nice job of playing the run and the Raider screen game.
Jeremy Lane had a nice interception on a deflected pass, and Mike Morgan showed up again on several key plays, both in coverage and rushing the passer. Korey Toomer looked good, as did Malcolm Smith, and this linebacker corps is going to make it hard for this coaching staff to make decisions on who to cut. Cooper Helfet had another touchdown tonight, as he caught a swing pass from Matt Flynn and extended into the endzone to break the plane. Jaye Howard looked very good on the interior, and Jeron Johnson again played very well. Even the backup defenders on this unit are a lot of fun to watch. Golden Tate, Kris Durham, and Matt Flynn (at least) were all sporting 70's porn star mustaches and sideburns. So, that was awesome. Also, the Seahawks finished the preseason with a +78 point differential. Much more soon, and we'll break down more closely some standout players from tonight, but for now, talk about it here!