A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders in their preseason finale at CenturyLink Field on Friday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Golden Tate. The last time the second-year receiver played at CenturyLink Field, he dropped two passes – including one that went off his hands, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a 20-7 loss to the Vikings.
That was two weeks ago. But Friday night was a redemptive outing for Tate. He had a 43-yard reception to set up the Seahawks’ first field goal among his five catches and 79 yards. He returned a punt 43 yards and a kickoff for 34 yards.
Was this a springboard effort for last year’s little-used second-round draft choice?
“I don’t think there’s any question that it can be,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think that he needed to have a good game where he had a chance to get going. That’s why I think whether this could be a turning point, it could be for him. It’s not in my mind. I already know what he can do.”
In this game, Tate showed everyone else, as well.
“He just has good stuff,” Carroll said. “The open field breaks that he made in the kicking game, and he made a couple of great catches tonight and stole a bunch yards away. The returns were great. That will also show up in the catch-and-run, too.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Carroll called it the “immaculate reception,” and what Leon Washington as able to do with a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was batted into the air as Tate and Raiders cornerback Joe Porter were battling for the ball was, well, pretty immaculate. Washington not only picked the ball out of the air, he ran for 32 yards to the Raiders’ 15-yard line. The Seahawks eventually scored their first touchdown, but it wouldn’t have happened without Washington’s heads-up play on third down.
Defense: There were a lot to choose from, especially considering that each of the Raiders’ final three possessions ended on downs. But let’s go with the last one, as rookie safety Mark LeGree tipped a Kyle Boller pass incomplete on fourth-and-10 from the Seahawks’ 35-yard line.
Special teams: Tate’s 43-yard punt return. It happened late in the first half and gave the Seahawks a shot at kicking a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Except that the Raiders’ Porter blocked that kick.
Left guard Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson left the game with sprained knees, and each is scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging test on Saturday to determine the extent of the damage and how long they might be out.
The Seahawks also played without six starters: running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), wide receivers Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Mike Williams (toe), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot). Carroll said Okung could have played, but it was decided to rest him for another game, and added that Rice’s injury is the only one that could be a problem for next week’s regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.
THIS ’N THAT
Former Raiders Zach Miller and Gallery were appointed captains for the game.
Rookie middle linebacker K.J. Wright, who started for Hawthorne, had a team-high five tackles to finish the leading tackler in the preseason.
Defensive lineman David Howard had 1½ sacks.
Thomas Clayton rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries to finish as the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the preseason.
The Seahawks converted 7 of 13 third-down situations, but they also had nine penalties for 105 yards.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It felt amazing, man. But honestly, that just goes to the offensive line, you know what I mean? I don’t take any credit for that. That’s the offensive line all the way.” – Clayton, on scoring his second TD of the preseason
Thomas Clayton continues to be the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the preseason, but he’d better not look over his shoulder pads because Josh Portis is gaining on him.
Portis, the rookie free agent quarterback, scrambled four times for 46 yards in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s home opener against the Vikings. That gave him 53 rushing yards, 34 fewer than Thomas’ team-leading total (87).
Clayton also ranks fourth in the NFC and is tied for ninth in the league. He has produced five first downs, which is tied for 10th in the league.
Tight ends Dominique Byrd and Anthony McCoy and rookie free agent wide receiver Doug Baldwin share the club lead with six receptions, which also ties them for ninth in the league. McCoy also has scored two of the team’s four touchdowns. Baldwin also leads the team in kickoff (27.2) and punt (11.5) return averages.
The Seahawks rank 12th in the league in total offense and are No. 6 in rushing offense. They are 10th in total defense, ninth against the pass and 11th against the run. They’re also tied for second in red-zone defense, having allowed 16 points in five possessions inside their 20-yard line – one TD and three field goals.
It’s only the preseason, and just one game at that. But the Seahawks had some performances in their opener against the Chargers in San Diego on Thursday night that rank among the best in the league after the first round of games.
Leon Washington shares the league lead in third-and-one rushing (2 for 2).
Thomas Clayton is fifth in rushing (62 yards) and tied for fifth in first downs (four).
Rookie QB Josh Portis has the eighth-best passer rating (117.4) and, not surprisingly, is No. 5 in fourth-quarter passer rating (129.7) because that’s when he led the Seahawks to 14 points as they rallied for a 24-17 victory. He’s also tied for eighth in third-down passer rating (109.7).
Rookie wide receiver Doug Baldwin is No. 5 in kickoff returns (41.0) and tied for 11th in receptions (four), while Clayton is in that same 11th spot in total yards (67).
As a team, the Seahawks lead the league is rushing defense, are No. 6 in total defense and tied for 16th in total offense.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 12:
The Seahawks opened their preseason with a half-not-so-good, half-very-good effort against the Chargers in San Diego, pulling out a 24-17 victory. So that’s obviously the topic du jour.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times leads with the ankle injury that sent left tackle Russell Okung to the locker room on the first series of the game. Says O’Neil: “But stats don’t mean nearly as much as the potential absence of a player like Okung. He suffered an ankle injury last August, too. That was his right ankle, and a high ankle sprain forced him to miss the final two exhibition games and first three regular-season games. He hurt his left ankle on Oct. 24 against Arizona, causing him to miss three more games.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune also went with the obvious, because it’s news and more meaningful than the “young pups,” as coach Pete Carroll called them, rallying for the win. But there were other angles. Offers Williams: “Playing against his former team for the first time since arriving in Seattle in a trade with San Diego (0-1) last year, reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took the majority of the snaps, playing the second and third quarters. Whitehurst was efficient, completing 14 of 20 passes for 115 yards with no interceptions.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we made it three-for-three on the Okung angle. As for the other angles, Carroll dedicated this game to the younger players in the team meeting on Wednesday night: “But Carroll was just as obviously pleased with the effort of his younger players in the second half. In the team meeting on Wednesday night, Carroll dedicated the game to the them and they responded by scoring 24 second-half points after the Chargers had taken a 10-0 lead at the half. ‘It was really great to see them finish the game,’ Carroll said after they had done just that. ‘They won on defense and knocked the winning touchdown in with the third group in there and all those young pups in there. So it was really exciting to see that happen.’ ”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts. Says Sando: “Rookie linebacker K.J. Wright recognized a screen play quickly and tracked down the receiver for a decisive tackle. Two other Seattle rookie draft choices, linebacker Malcolm Smith and safety Mark LeGree, provided bit hits. Smith chased on his play and finished strong. LeGree broke up a pass with his hit. LeGree also secured Seattle’s victory by breaking up a pass in the end zone on the Chargers’ final play.”
SAN DIEGO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-17 victory over the Chargers in their preseason opener at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Thomas Clayton. There were a lot of candidates for the Seahawks, but the third-year running back scored the game-winner – on a 25-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes to play – had a game-high 62 rushing yards and also added an 11-yard run to the Chargers’ 5-yard line on the TD drive that tied the score at 17.
All this from a guy who was just signed last weekend.
“It was amazing. Amazing. Amazing,” Clayton said of scoring the decisive touchdown. “I’m speechless.”
That’s OK, because his action on the field spoke so loudly there was no need for post-game words.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Again, there were a lot to choose from – and from both teams. But if the choice isn’t the game-winning touchdown, well, it’s the wrong choice. And part of what made Clayton’s 25-yard run so impressive was how well not only the line blocked but also the receivers downfield.
Defense: The play that setup Clayton’s run. On the Chargers’ first snap after the Seahawks had tied the game at 17, rookie defensive end Pierre Allen came up with a fumble-forcing hit on Scott Tolizen, the Chargers’ No. 3 QB. Rookie defensive tackle Pep Levingston recovered at the Chargers’ 22-yard line.
Special teams: After the Seahawks had scored to tie the game at 10, rookie free agent Bryan Walter took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 103 yards for a touchdown. Enough said, in most cases. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll offered, “Unfortunately for us, the kickoff coverage just stunk on the touchdown or we would have had almost a perfect second half.”
The big news – and the event that likely will dominate the conversation coming out of this game – was the left ankle sprain that forced left tackle Russell Okung to the locker room on the first series of the game.
He is scheduled to have a MRI, which will determine how much time last year’s first-round draft choice will miss.
Seventeen Seahawks did not dress for the game, including four starters: wide receiver Mike Williams (toe) and Sidney Rice (labrum), defensive linemen Red Bryant (knee) and defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle).
THIS ’N THAT
Rookie free agent Doug Baldwin had a team-high four receptions and also added a 20-yard punt return and a 41-yard kickoff return. … Rookie middle linebacker K.J. Wright had a team-high eight tackles. … Jameson Konz, who was moved from tight end to defensive end during training camp, had a sack. … Tight end Dominique Byrd had two catches for 52 yards. … The Seahawks quarterbacks – Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis – combined to complete 22 of 24 passes for 197 yards and a passer rating of 90.0. … On the Chargers’ 89-yard touchdown drive on their first possession, the Seahawks yielded a 48-yard completion on third-and-6 and a 16-yard completion on third-and-11.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We shut him out on defensive in the second half. We scored 24 points on offense in the second half. That’s cool stuff.” – Carroll