Okay, maybe they weren't flawless, but the Seattle Seahawks certainly put up an impressive effort on both sides of the ball in Thursday's preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders. Defensively, Seattle was dominant, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard after the punt coverage squad gave up an early touchdown on a Chris Carr return. The Seahawks offense, on the other hand, put up a cool thirty points with a series of clock-eating drives. All in all, the strong showing should give the team confidence as it heads into the regular season.
First, the defense. In pitching a shutout, the "Hawks" first and second units were particularly adept against the pass; faced with a combination of stifling coverage and well-timed blitzes, Oakland managed a grand total of -3 passing yards in the first half. Penetration from Seattle's front four proved comparably effective against the run, and what can only be called a clinic on form tackling held the Raiders to 13 rushing yards, and only two first downs, through the first two quarters of play. Rookie defensive end Darryl Tapp was a particular bright spot throughout the game, leading a second half charge that kept the Oakland offense within spitting distance of 100 total yards on the evening.
The offense, though less spectacular, was certainly no less proficient. In limited time, Matt Hasselbeck led the starters on a long touchdown drive—although his apparent lack of chemistry with wide receiver Nate Burleson highlighted the importance of Darrell Jackson's healthy return for the regular season. After Hasselbeck left the game, Seneca Wallace overcame some early jitters to lead the 'Hawks to two field goals and a touchdown. Marquis Weeks got the bulk of the carries on the ground, but the Seattle rushing game, outside of two long quarterback scrambles, was mostly lackluster. Third-string signal caller David Green looked good in the second half, completing eight of ten passes and converting a tough fourth down on a drive that ended with a Seahawk touchdown. With their first and second tight ends at the bench, Mike Holmgren and the rest of the Seattle coaching staff got an extended look at backups Matt Murphy and Will Heller, both of whom performed ably.
The Seahawks' special teams were underwhelming. Outside of Carr's touchdown return, the coverage units looked adequate, no better and no worse. The return game was serviceable but decidedly unexplosive. Kicker Josh Brown was very steady, making two field goals in the first half and one in the second, and punter Ryan Plackemeier showed off a big leg in the few opportunities presented to him.
On the whole, then, the game was exactly what it needed to be: a solid showing from a team trying to stay healthy as it approaches a promising regular season. The only injury was to fullback Leonard Weaver, who left the game with an ankle sprain. With the preseason safely behind them, you can bet that the rest of the 'Hawks have their sights trained on the September 10th opener in Detroit.