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OAKLAND – The Seahawks wrapped up their preseason with a 23-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders Thursday, a game in which both teams’ offenses struggled to produce much in the way of points and yardage throughout the night.
While the highlights might have been limited in this one, there were still notable moments for the Seahawks throughout the game, including the preseason debut of an important offensive weapon, as well as a nice moment between brothers in the first quarter. Here’s a look at six things that stood out in Thursday’s game:
1. Defensive depth came up big.
While Seattle’s starting defense left the game after just one series, the backups showed that the Seahawks have plenty of talent and depth on defense beyond their starting 11. The Raiders didn’t get the ball past midfield until the second half of the game, managed just two field goals, a touchdown and a safety, and were held to 283 total yards.
With Seattle’s offense struggling to get much going, it was the defense that finally got the Seahawks in the end zone thanks to a Ryan Robinson interception and 42-yard return for a touchdown. Linebacker Eric Pinkins helped make that play happen by pressuring Raiders quarterback Connor Cook. Pinkins also made a huge tackle on the Raiders’ potential game-tying 2-point conversion attempt late in the game.
Not long before Robinson’s pick-6, linebacker Kache Palacio punctuated a strong performance with an open-field tackle that he turned into a forced fumble, which he also recovered. Palacio, an undrafted rookie out Washington State who signed during training camp, finished the game with six tackles, one for a loss.
2. Thomas Rawls’ first game action since December.
Thomas Rawls hasn’t played in a game since breaking his ankle in Baltimore last season, so while two carries for 7 yards may not seem like a big deal, it was important step in the long road back from that injury for Rawls. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been saying for the past couple of weeks that Rawls will play in the opener, so that wasn’t really in doubt, but even so, it was encouraging to see Rawls back in uniform taking snaps in a game and bouncing back up quickly from his first full-contact action in more than eight months.
3. The battle at right tackle.
While Seattle’s offensive line appears to be mostly set at this point, with Bradley Sowell at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center and Germain Ifedi at right guard, the starting job at right tackle was not settled heading into this game, coaches said this week. And it was clear during this game that the Seahawks were still wanting to take a good look at the competition between Garry Gilliam and J’Marcus Webb. Gilliam opened the game as the starter, but the two alternated series at right tackle late into the third quarter, well after the rest of the No. 1 line had left the game.
“We have a competition at that spot, which is good,” Carroll said Wednesday. “This game will be important again for those guys. We think both of those can play right now, so we’re in good shape there.”
4. Brothers at safety.
As mentioned earlier, Seattle’s starting defense left the game early, but there was one exception. Kam Chancellor was on the field for Oakland’s second offensive series while Keenan Lambert, Chancellor’s half-brother, played free safety. Considering that Kelcie McCray has been the top backup at both free safety spots throughout camp, it probably wasn’t a coincidence that Chancellor and Lambert ended up on the field together. The two were briefly teammates last year as well when Lambert signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent, though they only shared a field during offseason workouts because Chancellor held out during training camp.
“It’s amazing man, it’s a dream come true just having your little brother out there,” Chancellor said earlier this offseason. “Growing up in the same household since little kids. It’s just fun out there just showing him the ropes, showing him what I’ve learned over the previous year. I’m trying to give him an edge, put him a step ahead from where I was at his age and where he is in his career in the NFL. Just showing him the little things—keeping your body healthy, eating right, studying and just being on top of your game; being a pro.”
Lambert made the most out of the most playing time he has seen this preseason, recording a team-high seven tackles on defense, and four more on special teams.
5. A healthier Nolan Frese was a more accurate Nolan Frese.
Seahawks long snapper Nolan Frese had been a bit off the mark with some of his snaps this preseason, but Carroll disclosed this week that Pope has been battling a shoulder injury that has affected his snapping. Carroll said Wednesday that Pope was healthier, and he looked like it Thursday, making life easy on punter and place-kick holder Jon Ryan. On seven punts, one field goal and two extra points, Frese was on the money with his snaps.
6. Troymaine Pope had another nice preseason game.
Undrafted rookie running back Troymaine Pope has enjoyed a solid preseason, first scoring the game-winning 2-point conversion at Kansas City, then a week later rushing for 86 yards on 10 carries against Minnesota. On Thursday, Pope rushed for 51 yards on eight carries, including a 5-yard score, and also added a 60-yard kickoff return.