I had the privilege of being at the Seattle Seahawks game against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday. Thanks to my brother-in-law, I had quite the Hawks-eye view sitting in the first row behind the Seattle bench.
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Unfortunately, the lack of harassment I received from the Raider Nation, despite my Seahawks attire, was only the first surprise of the game.
The biggest surprise to me, and probably many a 12th Man alike, was the complete lack of intensity by the Seahawks, and, more so, their apparent indifference toward being dominated by an Oakland Raiders team that is projected to be one of the weaker teams in the league this season.
As we all know, it was not only a preseason game, but the last preseason game, which tends to project the least to the regular season.
However, given Pete Carroll’s emphasis on always competing and maintaining razor-sharp focus, it was hard not to be a bit concerned about a potential letdown this season.
Yes, the amazing productivity that the offense has shown this preseason continued, as they quickly scored a touchdown on the opening drive on only four plays. Russell Wilson, again, gave the Hawks faithful every reason to believe that he may be on the brink of an MVP caliber season.
Ultimately, that turned out to be pretty much the only positive that came out of the game.
The Seahawks starting defense and special teams were not nearly as sharp as their offensive counterparts.
The special teams uncharacteristically gave up lengthy returns on multiple occasions, and the defense wasn’t able to slow the resulting momentum.
As a whole, they were far from dominant, as they gave up touchdowns on the first two drives and, accordingly, handed the game over to their backups down 14-7 only a few minutes after Wilson had given them the lead.
It is worth noting that the second touchdown was the result of the Raiders benefiting from Bryan Walters fumbling the kickoff after the initial game-tying touchdown, but it took only one play, a 36-yard pass to Denarius Moore, for the Raiders to victimize the Legion of Boom and punch it in the end-zone.
The second unit then came in and promptly gave up two more touchdowns on the next two drives, after the offensive reserves weren’t able to get anything done.
Not only were the Raiders able to run effectively, but they were able to throw the ball at will.
In fact, Derek Carr was so effective (11-13 for 143 yards and 2 TDs) that the Raiders are now considering abandoning their initial plans to sit him all year, and may give him the starting nod on opening day.
At the end of the day, it was only a preseason game and means nothing.
Nonetheless, it should serve as a good reminder to the Hawks that they need to deliver upon Coach Carroll’s always compete philosophy each and every week or they will likely fall victim to the “any given Sunday” mentality that is maintained throughout the league.
This is especially true when you are the reigning champs and have a huge target on your backs.