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Seahawks go 4-0 in preseason, again
They put the finishing touches on another unbeaten preseason Thursday night, with Steven Hauschka kicking five field goals and Russell Wilson leading a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the only series the starting offense played in a 22-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
“I was really fired up that the guys played hard all four times we went out in these games,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “We called on them to play full-speed football on game night … and guys did that.”
The next time the Seahawks play will be September 8 in their regular-season opener against the Panthers in Carolina.
“We’re ready to go for the season coming up,” Carroll said. “It’s great that the regular season is finally here.”
Especially after the way things went in the preseason finale. The game-opening drive against the Raiders that ended with Robert Turbin scoring on a 3-yard run provided all the points the Seahawks would need, as Wilson was 3 of 3, including a 50-yard completion to 6-foot-5 wide receiver Stephen Williams and a 20-yarder to rookie tight end Luke Willson on third-and-1.
The defense then forced a three-and-out, with Leo end O’Brien Schofield breaking up the third-down pass.
“We really accomplished exactly what we hoped to accomplish with the offense and the defense in the first groups,” Carroll said. “If we could have dreamed it right, we would have gone right down the field and scored and then the defense would go out and get three-and-out and get out of there.
“So that was great. Guys really came through for us.”
The game then turned into a showcase for Hauschka, who connected from 56, 53, 51, 43 and 22 yards; as well as those players battling for a role on this team and/or a spot on the 53-man roster.
The 75-man roster must be cut to 53 players by Saturday, so the next two days will be filled with anxious moments.
On this Thursday night, before a late-arriving, but revved-up crowd of 67,341, Willson caught four passes to finish as the leading receiver in the preseason with eight receptions; Tarvaris Jackson completed 12 of 17 passes for 119 yards after taking over for Wilson and before being replaced in the second half by Brady Quinn; Walter Thurmond flaunted his versatility and athleticism by intercepting a pass and breaking a 29-yard punt return; Allen Bradford led the defense with eight tackles to finish with a preseason-high 22; and rookie defensive end Benson Mayowa finished his preseason the same way it started, with a sack to give him 3.5.
The Seahawks even improved when it came to penalties, as they were flagged eight times for 65 yards. They didn’t pick up their first penalty until midway through the first quarter and had four for 35 yards in the first half. The Seahawks had 14 penalties for 182 yards against the Packers last week, pushing their three-game total to league highs of 34 for 354 yards.
“It was way better tonight,” Carroll said. “There was a point in there where we hadn’t had one yet for a long time. I didn’t want to put the jinx on anybody by saying it – like a no-hitter. But it was a big step in a good positive direction.”
The one thing Carroll didn’t care for was the run blocking, as the Seahawks averaged 1.7 yards on 32 carries.
“I think we got hammered on the line of scrimmage, for whatever reason tonight,” Carroll said.
Now comes a regular season that has been anticipated with growing expectations since the 2012 season ended in a last-second loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a divisional playoff game – after the Seahawks had won the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983 and won seven of their last eight regular-season games to post the third-best record (11-5) in team history.
“We’re just anxious to get to where it counts, so that we can play the entire game,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We can actually put in some schemes for guys, for teams. It was bittersweet tonight because we didn’t get to play that much.
“We were on the sideline watching the game. But at the same time we got to watch guys we have grown to love. We got to watch them grow and play tonight. So it was awesome to see that.”