Before Thursday night’s preseason finale, Pete Carroll told his younger players that this one was on them.
And those players did not disappoint their coach as they turned in the plays that allowed the Seahawks to put the finishing touch on an unbeaten preseason with a 21-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field that was even more convincing than the lopsided final score.
“We knew tonight was going to be a big night for us,” said rookie cornerback
Where to start with the efforts of those young players who helped the Seahawks finish 4-0 for only the second time in franchise history? At the top, with first-round draft choice
Stat-less in the first three preseason games, Irvin forced a fumble on a punt return that was recovered by second-round pick
On a night when the Seahawks’ veterans played sparingly, if at all, Irvin also shared a sack with second-year cornerback
“I kept working, and they finally came,” Irvin said, unable to contain a series of grins as he sat in front of his cubicle in the locker room. “I’ve been busting my butt all preseason and I felt like I got better each game. I finally broke the ice tonight.”
Or melted it, with the amount of pressure he generated on the Raiders’ quarterbacks.
“I must have said a real good prayer tonight before the game,” Irvin said. “Everything was working in my favor. We had a great week of practice, and it really showed tonight.”
Did it ever. From almost start to almost finish, this one belonged to the 2012 rookie class and the other young players who were given the opportunities to turn in big plays.
Second-year running back
Taua also caught five passes to finish as the team’s leader in the preseason with nine.
“He did a really good job tonight,” Carroll said of Taua, who played running back as well as fullback and made plays from both spots until a strained knee ligament forced him to the sideline.
Said Taua, “It’s easy when your offensive linemen are getting push like that. It makes it a lot easier, so all the credit goes to them. They did everything that they could do. For me, there is still for improvement. And that’s a good thing.”
As for the quarterbacks,
“I thought he was solid as a rock,” Carroll said of Flynn. “He hit almost everything. … We have a terrific quarterback position right now. I’m really happy about it.”
The efforts of the younger players also proved timely, because the 75-man roster must be cut to 53 players on Friday.
“We have some very difficult decisions to make to fit this roster together,” Carroll said. “It’s good when you have tough decisions. That’s what we tried to structure this thing to get it to that point. I’m pleased that we’re going to be fighting for guys.”
Because those guys came out fighting for their coaches, teammates and team in the preseason finale.