August 30, 2018
The NFL’s 2018 preseason comes to a close as the Seahawks host the Oakland Raiders at the CLink in Seattle. We got our final look before the regular season begins at a new offensive scheme, a revamped defense, an intriguing group of rookies and multiple position battles on both sides of the ball for the Seahawks.
After both teams exchanged punts to open the game, the Raiders were the first to put points up on the board. Oakland’s Keon Hatcher caught a short pass from E.J. Manuel and managed to stay off the turf as he rolled over Justin Coleman’s tackle attempt before racing in for the 45-yard score. Following a Raiders’ field goal, Seattle finally answered in the second quarter with a beautiful deep ball from Austin Davis to Damore’ea Stringfellow for an 81-yard score.
— NFL (@SEA_NFL) August 31, 2018
Oakland responded to Seattle’s touchdown with another Keon Hatcher scoring grab, this time from sixteen yards out with three minutes remaining in the half. On the Seahawks’ next possession, Davis navigated the two minute drill to perfection. The veteran QB led Seattle on a nine-play, 82-yard drive that was capped off by a Mike Davis one-yard touchdown run. The score cut the Raiders lead to 17-13 at halftime.
It was all Oakland in the second half, with E.J. Manuel hitting Saeed Blacknall for his third touchdown pass of the night to put the Raiders up 23-13 in the third. Rookie quarterback Alex McGough relieved Austin Davis at the half for Seattle, but struggled to gain traction and move the ball the rest of the way. The Raiders put the game away for good late in the 4th, when Keon Hatcher beat cornerback Mike Tyson for his third touchdown catch on the night, a 22-yarder from Connor Cook.
Seattle refused to quit, with McGough hitting tight end Kyle Carter for a ten-yard score with three minutes remaining. The Seahawks forced a punt on the ensuing drive, but with only 14 seconds left, Pete Carroll decided to run out the clock. The game ended in a 30-19 Oakland victory.
Russell Wilson and the first-team offense:
Russell Wilson didn’t play and the rest of Seattle’s regular season starting offense barely saw the field. Playing in just one series, Seahawks’ starting running back Chris Carson finished with two carries for five yards.
What was mostly a group of reserves mixed in with a couple of starters, Seattle’s defense held up well against the run but struggled to slow the pass. The Raiders two quarterbacks, E.J. Manuel and Connor Cook, completed 21 of 27 attempts for 289 yards and four scores. The secondary couldn’t slow down Oakland’s Keon Hatcher, who totaled 128 yards on eight catches with three touchdowns. The lone bright spot for the unit were linebackers Austin Calitro and Shaquem Griffin. The duo saw extended playing time in the first half and were making plays all over the field.
— NFL (@SEA_NFL) August 28, 2018
LB Shaquem Griffin: Started at weak-side linebacker, where he is expected to fill in for K.J. Wright in the regular season opener. Shaquem was all over the field, flashing impressive speed and an ability to diagnose run plays. His night ended at the half after garnering eight total tackles, including one for a loss.
LB Austin Calitro: Getting the start in place of Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker, Calitro was extremely active and had several big hits. Finished with seven tackles and a sack of E.J. Manuel.
QB Austin Davis: Likely auditioning for a new team following the addition of Brett Hundley via trade, Davis rebounded from two-straight subpar performances in a big way. In one half of action he completed 13 of 20 passes for 194 yards with the beautiful go-route pass to Stringfellow for the touchdown. Showed off his athleticism when he collected an errant snap in his own endzone and managed to throw it away, avoiding a safety.
CB Byron Maxwell: When the former Legion of Boom member signed a one-year deal to return to the Seahawks this past April, the expectation was he would claim Seattle’s starting right cornerback job. It hasn’t turned out to be the case, as the 30-year old hasn’t played in a month as he’s dealt with a hip flexor issue. Already fighting for his spot after the emergence of rookie Tre Flowers, Maxwell’s outlook in Seattle doesn’t look good. The Seahawks can save $1.3 million by releasing Byron on Saturday’s roster cutdown.
LT Isaiah Battle: Fighting for a backup job, the third-year pro had a first quarter holding penalty negate an Austin Davis to Jaron Brown long touchdown pass. On the very next play he had another hold which wiped out a long Mike Davis run.
SS Delano Hill: His nightmare of a preseason continued against Oakland. Went for the big hit and completely whiffed, allowing Saeed Blacknall to easily score on a 45-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter.
WR Amara Darboh: Badly needing to have a good game in the finale to secure a roster spot, the former 2017 third-round draft pick missed his fourth preseason game due to injury. Widely expected to play against the Raiders, Darboh’s fate is likely sealed with the DNP.
Other news and notes:
Dontae Johnson saw his first action of the year for Seattle as he got the start at right cornerback…Seahawks’ Kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed two extra points…Seattle RT Germain Ifedi was seen limping towards the locker room in the second quarter…Oakland RB Chris Warren, son of the great former Seahawk back with the same name, totaled 42 yards on 12 carries…the loss marks Seattle’s first winless preseason in franchise history…The Seahawks open up the regular season on the road next week in Denver against the Broncos
It’s hard to really gauge anything from a fourth preseason game. With mostly reserves and backups playing, the preseason finale offers little indication of how a team is set to perform throughout the year. There were a couple of impressive showings (Stringfellow, Calitro and Shaquem Griffin) and some roster decisions became a bit clearer. The major takeaway was there were no big injuries for Seattle, who will make the cutdown from 90 players to 53 this Saturday.