OAKLAND – A recap of the Seahawks’ 33-3 loss to the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marcel Reece. Darren McFadden ran for more yards (111, including a 49-yarder). Darrius Heyward-Bey caught more passes (five for 105, including a 69-yard touchdown). But the plays turned in by Reece, the former University of Washington receiver turned Raiders fullback, were more indicative of how this game went.
Reece caught three passes for 90 yards, including 30-yarder for the Raiders’ first touchdown and a 51-yarder. He carried twice for 32 yards, including a 31-yarder. This from a player who had 14 carries for 59 yards and eight receptions for 72 yards in the Raiders’ first seven games.
But it wasn’t just the plays Reece made on Halloween. It was when he made them, and how he made them.
His TD catch came on a fouth-and-1 play, as Seahawks strong safety Lawyer Milloy and linebacker David Hawthorne took each other out by colliding. His 51-yader came on a screen pass – yet another screen pass that went for mega-yards against the Seahawks. His 31-yard run followed a 30-yard run by Michael Bush and set up the Raiders’ final touchdown.
His big plays that added up to a big day made as much sense as anything else – everything else – that transpired on this Sunday afternoon.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The Raiders had a rash from which to select, as there were pass plays of 69, 55 and 51 yards and running plays of 49, 31 and 30 (twice). But the nod has to go to Reece, again. Because it came on fourth-and-1. Because it produced the Raiders’ first touchdown – and only touchdown until the fourth quarter. Because it came from a role player who just isn’t expected to make those kinds of plays.
Defense: Going with one of the Raiders’ eight sacks of Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck would be more fitting, especially since they got to him twice on the Seahawks’ opening series and five times in the fourth quarter. But this game was all about the Bizarre – yes, with a capital B. So the pick has to be strong safety Tyvon Branch’s interception in the fourth quarter, because the ball was tipped by teammate Stanford Routt and then went off Seahawks WR Deon Butler before ending up in Branch’s hands. Oh, and it also came one play before Jason Campbell and Heyward-Bey hooked up on their 69-yard TD pass.
Special teams: On the Raiders’ third punt of the game, when the game still was a game, the Seahawks decided to give Leon Washington a chance to run one back. They might want to revisit that thought. Washington broke a 43-yarder and was beating himself up afterward for not being able to get past the punter and into the end zone.
Pre-game: This one actually happened Saturday night after the team arrived in Palo Alto. Linebacker Aaron Curry went to dinner with his brother, Eric. A brother he met for the first time that evening, because his mother had given him up for adoption. A brother who just happens to play linebacker for the Cleveland Brown – Eric Barton.
In-game: After the bang-bang plays that produced the improbable interception by Branch and the scoring bomb from Campbell to Heyward-Bey, Raider Nation cut loose with a boisterous chorus of “Rai-ders. Rai-ders. Rai-ders.” At least the 35,721 who bothered to show up – the second-lowest attendance this season for a team that has had 11 consecutive games blacked out.
Post-game: The fact that there were more players in the training room than in the locker room by the time coach Pete Carroll had finished his post-game news conference.
Despite the loss, the Seahawks remain atop the NFC West at 4-3, because the Arizona Cardinals also lost on Sunday. And it’s the Rams (4-4) not the Cardinals (3-4) who are in second place.
The Seahawks missed an opportunity to start 5-2 for the first time since 2005, and to win three in a row since they put together a five-game winning streak in the second half of the 2007 season.
Olindo Mare’s club-record string of 30 consecutive field goals ended when he missed a 51-yarder on the final play of the first half. He also missed a 29-yarder in the third quarter, before hitting from 47 yards midway through the fourth quarter for the Seahawks’ only points.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and Milloy were each credited with six tackles to share team-high honors. They entered the game as the team’s top three tacklers – Milloy (34), Tatupu (29) and Trufant (29).
The Raiders’ eight sacks came from six different players – Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley, two each; and Tommy Kelly, Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston and Branch. It was a career-high total of sacks for Hasselbeck, whose previous high was seven in a 2001 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and again in a 2008 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Seahawks had held their two previous opponents to a two for 24 showing on third downs. The Raiders were five of 17.
The 545 yards compiled by the Raiders rank fourth highest against the Seahawks – behind 580 by the 49ers in 1988; 579 by the Bills in 2000; and 557 by the Chargers in 1985.
After catching a club-record 21 passes in the previous two games, WR Mike Williams had one catch against the Raiders.
Where to begin? The Seahawks entered the game without four injured starters – LT Russell Okung (ankle), FB Michael Robinson (hamstring), DT Brandon Mebane (calf) and RCB Kelly Jennings (hamstring). Matt McCoy (hamstring), their leading special teams tackler, also sat out.
During the game, the following players went to the sideline: LG Ben Hamilton (poked in the eye); Nate Ness (cramps), who started at right cornerback because Jennings and Thurmond were out; DE Red Bryant (knee); Williams (knee); WR Golden Tate (ankle); Tyler Polumbus (knee, ankle), who started at left tackle because Okung was out; and DT Cole Colin (ankle).
When Hamilton went out, Chester Pitts saw his first action this season – and first since having microfracture knee surgery last September, while playing for the Houston Texans. When Polumbus went down, Pitts moved to left tackle and Mike Gibson came in at left guard.
The extent of the injuries to those who left the game will be determined when they have additional tests on Monday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The best thing we can do is get out of here.” – Carroll