Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks Postgame Wrap Up: Scoreless in Seattle

Justin Smith – Aug 31, 2012

That was downright ugly. If you were to mash Joan Rivers with Snooki and sprinkle in a little Steve Buscemi it still wouldn’t broach the unsightliness of that game. Fortunately for the Oakland Raiders and fans it was the final preseason game, the one that means about as much as a profession of love in the dimmed corner of a seedy nightclub at 3:00 a.m..

Dennis Allen was, of course, disappointed with a lack of effort, but went a little regarding the importance of the game. If it was important, coach, explain the rationale of starting Carson Palmer only to have him hand the ball off six straight times in an effort that made Trent Dilfer proud.

The Raiders got the ball first and ran it six straight times. As mentioned quarterback Carson Palmer inexplicably started – though it’s feasible that they wanted him to have some live reps with backup runningback Taiwan Jones – but didn't throw a pass.

The Raiders picked up one first down on that drive on a nifty little run to the outside by Jones, but the Seattle defense – which kept their starters in well into the second quarter – was suffocating all evening. The Raiders managed five first downs - total. For the game. Fourth preseason game or not, Seattle’s defense is deep, talented, and intense.

The Raiders punted, Shane Lechler showing that he’s quickly getting back to Pro Bowl form, and the starting defense, with Christo Bilukidi in for Tommy Kelly, took the field.

Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is an exciting and dynamic player with a bright future, but little was on display as the Raiders defense kept the Seahawks’ first team out of the end zone. 

Matt Leinart was inserted as Raider quarterback, and though he’s fairly accurate, his lack of downfield power is evident. Seattle knew the Raiders weren’t going to throw so they loaded the box, and Leinart didn’t make them pay. He threw one pick and completely underwhelmed as the Raiders didn’t score in the first half.

The Seahawks moved the ball well with Wilson and then Matt Flynn but the Raiders red-zone defense, a strength all preseason, stiffened into bend-but-don’t-break mode twice on Seahawk drives to turn two possible touchdowns into field goals.

The Raiders did give up a touchdown right at the end of the first half, and the score was 13-0 Seahawks at halftime. 

The Raiders defense got no push or pressure on the Seattle quarterbacks, and the run defense began to fade toward the end, which probably had to do with the offense being stagnant and the defense being on the field the vast majority of the game.  

Bilukidi got no rest all game. It was unreal; he played basically every defensive snap, punt, punt return, and kick and kick return. He was stout at the point of attack at the start of both halves, but he understandably began to fade toward the end of each. He should’ve cemented his roster spot last night with pure heart and effort alone.

In the second half, Terrelle Pryor came in and Raider Nation was excited to see more fireworks. Well, he had one nice play where he sloughed off a strip sack, rolled out and fired a bullet into the hands of Eddie McGee. But other than that, there wasn’t much to write home about for the Raiders on offense.  

Pryor was respectable, going 6/9 for 55 yards. The backup offensive line was respectable also; if your definition of respectable is downing a 60 oz of tequila at your Godchild’s baptism. Pryor – very difficult to sack – was sacked twice and under siege constantly.Seattle’s defense deserves a lot of credit; their starters, backups, and dregs of the roster almost shut out the Raiders at every turn.

Though not worth a mention, there's also special teams. The weakest link for the Raiders all preseason, they signed former NFL punt return leader Roscoe Parrish to return punts.

He would have, if he didn’t fumble the only two he tried away. On one of them he didn’t have his helmet set prior to the kick and muffed a fair catch. On the other he made a decisive cut and promptly lost the ball as soon as he was hit. After being cut a day before the Raiders signed him by the San Diego Chargers he quickly renewed his plane ticket home after a terrible, wide-eyed performance.

The Raiders need a returner, but Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford – their two most dynamic and consistent return men – are currently injured, so they may go shopping amongst the 700 or so other players that will be available this evening.

/articleimages/bryan-mccann-2.jpgBryan McCann showed well in place of Parrish, and may have helped himself make the roster with good punt and kick returns late and some decent pass defense. 

It was a dismal all-around performance for a Raider team hoping to build on a much better showing last week against the Lions. Still, if you were to evaluate the entire preseason, the first team defense looks more ready than they have in years; the first team offense moves the ball easily but is prone to some mistakes; the special teams simply needs a TON of work; and the roster is loaded with talent, speed, athleticism and actual football players that have cut down on penalties and stupid plays and shown more poise and discipline than past squads.

The Raiders played well when it counted by dominating an excellent Lions team in game three, which is more important than the result of last night’s game, where many of the players playing after the first quarter won’t be on the roster today and were playing for a job.

Still, it was discouraging to see such a lacksadaisical effort in last night's game, and it speaks to a lack of depth at the back-end of the roster which is something to be concerned about, but is fixable.

General manager Reggie McKenzie was talking to Greg Papa – the best pitch-man in the business; he could segue from a discussion about cancer into selling car insurance and make it seamless – and flat out said there are more moves to be made once all teams make their cuts. 

Listening to McKenzie and Coach Allen gives a sense of confidence that they will find the best 53 players available throughout the league that suit the Raiders and will help them win. This roster could look very different, very soon.

Some impressions on cut-down day:

Christo Bilukidi did Yeoman’s work and likely locked up a roster spot. Jack Crawford didn’t play as much or as well; he’s on the bubble but showed some good penetration early.

Nate Stupar had a good game on the stat sheet with eleven tackles and a few for losses, but he was easily moved aside on Seattle’s first touchdown when the big boys were in, struggled in coverage, and just doesn’t look like an NFL caliber player right now. This game showed potential; but it was against the fourth string offense and Josh Portis at QB.  

Miles Burris is a tackling machine and hits like a ton of bricks – he breaks down better than Coach’s grandma, who as we know is 6’3, 250 and runs a 4.5 forty – but he is still struggling in coverage, which will get better with experience.

Too bad there’s no way to keep Eddie Carmona or Marquette King. Lechler and Seabass are awesome, and now that Mr. Davis has passed are the longest tenured and most recognizable Raiders – but they're getting on in years and can’t last forever. Seeing what King and Carmona could do was like watching Lex and Seabass 2.0: it was exciting.

Brandon Underwood is solid and though he hasn’t done anything spectacular, he’s been right there in coverage and made nice tackles. He’ll probably make the roster, but safety is one of the Raiders’ deepest positions which may hurt his chances.

DeMarcus Van Dyke likely saved his bacon with some nice plays in coverage last night. Chimdi Chekwa, though, may have fried his by missing a couple of tackles and blowing some assignments. After snaring a pick against Arizona Chekwa has looked lost the last two weeks. Corner is a weak spot on this team which may save him but he’s on the bubble at this point.

Tony Bergstrom and Joe Barksdale look like keepers as backup lineman. And that’s about it. The back-end O-line, especially Kevin Haslam, couldn’t protect Pryor at all. Haslam was abused all half and should be gone; along with Colin Miller, Lucas Nix – who showed some flashes but was too inconsistent – and Dan Knapp. Haslam clearly doesn’t belong at this level.

The receiver position is deep, especially when Moore and Ford return, so any receiver hoping to make the roster needs to be special. Juggling an easy pass out of bounds, lollygagging on an interception and generally being clueless out there isn’t special, Brandon Carswell. Eddie McGee bounced back from Detroit’s nightmare with a decent showing but he’s likely gone as well. Derrick Carrier will be put on the practice squad; he’s raw, not ready, but looks good on special teams and has great size and upside.

/articleimages/pat-lee.jpgPat Lee and Bryan McCann likely sewed up spots. Lee should’ve had a pick, was awesome on punt and kick coverage, and solid in pass defense. McCann took over punt and kick return duties after the Raiders newest additions – Parrish and Coye Francies, who played decently on D but fumbled a kick return – couldn’t hold onto the ball. The newcomers likely lost their roster spots.

It was a terrible game to watch. If you had to choose between having red-hot sewing needles jammed into your corneas or watching this game it’d be a tough choice.

Oh well. What's done is done, on to the next one. Bring on Corky Rivers and the Sunshine Gang for opening night, when the real Raiders show up.

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