OAKLAND, Calif. — A recap of the Seahawks’ 27-24 loss to the Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium on Thursday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Deon Butler. The second-year wide receiver slapped an exclamation point on his outstanding preseason by catching seven passes for 101 yards and the Seahawks’ only offensive touchdown.
His scoring catch, on a 26-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst, capped a 90-yard drive. But Butler’s best catch came on a 33-yarder from Whitehurst on the next possession when he made a nice adjustment to go over Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson along the sideline.
“Deon Butler was really on fire tonight,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s had a great preseason. He is by far the most improved player on the offensive side of the ball. He really is a factor and I’m excited about that. We weren’t sure how that was going to pan out. But he’s really made effective playa, so we’ll look for him to help.
Butler finished as the team’s leading receiver in the preseason with 15 catches for 191 yards.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offensive: There were plenty to choose from, but the Whitehurst-to-Butler TD pass was significant not only because of the score, but what led to it.
Rookie wide receiver Golden Tate had been stopped for a 2-yard loss on first down, leaving the Seahawks in a second-and-12 situation. Butler was in the slot when he caught a quick glance from Whitehurst.
“It was kind of an eye-contact thing,” Butler said. “They left the slot uncovered. So Charlie took three steps real quick and hit me before the linebacker got there. It’s just kind of little things like that people don’t notice, but he and I are kind of on the same page about.”
Defense: The Raiders had gobbled up almost the entire fourth quarter and were sitting at the Seahawks’ 1-yard line on fourth down. Rather than give up the TD, rookie Dexter Davis dropped running back Michael Bennett for a 1-yard loss. Too little, too late? Perhaps. But it showed that the Seahawks’ defense did not quit despite giving up 149 rushing yards and 428 overall.
Special teams: It’s not everyday that someone returns a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. In fact, the club record is 97 — by James Jefferson in 1989. But Louis Rankin went for 99 in the fourth quarter against the Raiders.
“Coach asked me if I wanted to get a kickoff return in,” Rankin said after Cord Parks returned the first five kickoffs. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll get one in.’ “
Did he ever. Rankin took the ball at the 1 and, after getting past the kicker, raced up the sideline.
“They kicked it a little deeper than I was anticipating,” Rankin said. “When I ran through, I saw a wide-open hole. I knew I had to break the kicker’s tackle. I got out of that and I was gone.”
Parks injured a shoulder on one of his returns, but other than that Carroll said the Seahawks got out of of the game with only a few bumps and bruises.
“That’s successful in itself,” Carroll said.
But he did hold out several players, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch, running back Leon Washington, cornerback Marcus Trufant, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and strong safety Lawyer Milloy.
The next order of business for the Seahawks is trimming their 75-man roster to 53 players by the league-imposed deadline Saturday afternoon.
Following a team meeting Friday, the players will be off Saturday and Sunday before returning Monday to begin preparing for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is the beginning. We’ll come back Monday with the team all squared away and ready to go. It’s a very exciting opportunity for us” — Carroll