The Seahawks had a brilliant drive to open the game, then the Raiders ran off 28 consecutive points. But Carroll was thrilled with the preseason look of his offense.
If the Seahawks cared about finishing the preseason with a flourish, they can be a little worried, after the Raiders gashed the defense for 28 consecutive points in the first half. But if the Seahawks cared about a first-team offense in better shape than it’s been, all is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
In the grand scheme, losing 41-31 in the final preseason game Thursday night in Oakland counts for little, but there were the matters of two turnovers and 12 penalties for 95 yards that made a hash of great swaths of the game.
“We had a terrible time tonight,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I thought the Raiders played great. They tore us up. They did everything well. Just took it to us. Great night for them.
“But the thing that jumps out to me is the efficiency of (Seattle’s preseason) offense. I think the first unit scored on 11 of 13 possessions. That’s phenomenal.”
On the opening possession and without Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin, the first unit traveled 80 yards in four plays, the final 25 on a pass from QB Russell Wilson to TE Luke Willson for a touchdown. That was it for the starting QB, who finished the preseason with 33 completions in 42 attempts for 402 yards and no interceptions, throwing for three TDs and running for three TDs.
But his three replacements, Tarvaris Jackson, Terrelle Pryor and B.J. Daniels, had mixed results. The big test was for Pryor, who led an 87-yard, 10-play drive in the second quarter that concluded with a 33-yard touchdown pass to WR Phil Bates that cut the deficit to 35-21 at the half.
But Pryor made a few questionable decisions on execution that tempered the enthusiasm for keeping him as a third QB at the expense of a player who would contribute more. Jackson has all but locked up the backup spot, even though he looked a little shaky too.
“(Pryor) made some plays tonight,” was how Carroll put it, absent any passion. Pryor was a respectable 11 of 17 for 124 yards and no turnovers, but on one third down pass play in the third quarter, WR Bryan Walters was open across the middle and Pryor flat missed him for no good reason. His erratic throwing mechanics probably doom his chances to stick.
Walters, another guy fighting for position, had an eventful night. The Juanita High grad had five kickoff returns and two punt returns, as well as three catches for 47 yards, including a seven-yard reception for a TD in which he made one tackler miss and went through the arms of four others.
But he also had a clinker — losing a fumble on a kickoff return that gave Oakland the ball at the Seattle 36-yard line. On the next play, QB Derek Carr hit WR Denarius Moore, who easily beat down the sideline another guy working for a job, CB Philip Adams, with a touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead. The Seahawks never caught up.
“Bryan Walters had an exceptional game,” Wilson said. “He was hit pretty hard on that fumble. You want to have a guy who bounces back, because you’re going to have adversity.”
Said Carroll: “The fumble was backbreaking. But we continued to use him. He’s a really good football player.”
Oakland’s offense rolled through Seattle’s vaunted defense in the first half, getting another short field after a long punt return, then WR Mychal Rivera grabbed a tipped pass in the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
It was 28-7 before the defense responded. CB DeShawn Shead was in the right place to accept a deflection from Adams and turn it into a 56-yard pick six. Shead also deflected a long pass in the end zone in the third quarter that would have been a touchdown if he hadn’t grazed the ball just before it reached the receiver.
Although the defense in the second half held the Raiders’ backups to a pair of field goals, the ditch was too deep for Pryor and the backup offense.
“What you saw tonight isn’t, I hope, how we’re going to play,” Carroll said. The increased playing time for recently injured starters, notably LT Russell Okung, SS Kam Chancellor and LBs Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith, was a big plus, he said.
“We made it through preseason healthy enough,” Carroll said. “All in all, we’re ready.”
That would be for Green Bay Sept. 4, the nationally televised NFL season opener at the Clink, when the championship banner will be unveiled.
Rookie LB Kevin Pierre Louis, who had an interception nullified by a penalty, left the game with a hamstring injury and didn’t return . . . RB Christine Michael strained a hamstring Tuesday at practice and didn’t play, as did CB Jeremy Lane . . . DL D’Anthony Smith injured his elbow in the fourth quarter and didn’t return . . . DE Cassius Marsh had a hip flexor problem early and didn’t come back.