SEATTLE — The Seahawks dropped their final preseason contest, losing to the Oakland Raiders 30-19. With a few exceptions, starters on both teams were held out of the game, so the final score meant less than the performances of young players who were fighting for jobs or to secure their roles on the team. With that in mind, here are five rapid reactions to Seattle's final preseason game:
1. Shaquem Griffin continues to show he's ready.
With Pro-Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery early in the week, there's a very real chance that rookie Shaquem Griffin will start at weakside linebacker when the Seahawks open the regular season in Denver. And on Thursday night, Griffin added to an already strong preseason with one more impressive performance, piling up a team-high seven tackles, all in the first half.
Griffin showed his toughness and strength in run defense, making a couple of stops at or near the line of scrimmage, and he also showed off his blazing speed, most notably getting the sideline to knock Raiders running back Chris Warren III out of bounds a yard short of the first-down marker on third-and-3, forcing an Oakland punt.
"He's really doing well," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He just had a dip in Week 2, he kind of got maybe a little overwhelmed with the first week, he made 9 tackles the first game, he came back and just wasn't on it. He tried too hard in Week 2, and then he settled in to Week 3 and it looked like he did again. I need to see the film, but it's a really important position for us, obviously right now with K.J. not ready for us yet. I'm anxious to see how he did."
Also worthy of a mention is Austin Calitro, who started at middle linebacker for the Seahawks with Bobby Wagner getting the night off. Calitro had five tackles and a sack, all in the first half.
2. Austin Davis took advantage of his opportunity.
The Seahawks finalized a trade for quarterback Brett Hundley earlier Thursday, which obviously wasn't great news for the two quarterbacks already competing to be Russell Wilson's backup, Austin Davis and Alex McGough. But if that trade means Davis is left off the roster when cuts are made Saturday, he put some good stuff on tape for the rest of the NFL to see while playing the entire first half.
Davis' day started with a couple of good throws on back-to-back third downs to keep Seattle's opening drive going, though that possession was eventually undone by a sack and a pair of holding penalties. In the second quarter, Davis made one of the plays of the game, hitting Damore'ea Stringfellow in stride down the right sideline for an 81-yard touchdown. Davis finished his one half of action 13 for 20 for 194 yards and a touchdown, giving him a passer rating of 113.3.
McGough also had a solid outing while playing the entire second half. The rookie quarterback finished his two quarters of action completing 12 of 23 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, giving him an 83.8 passer rating. Those numbers don't include the best throw he made, however, an apparent 52-yard touchdown pass to Malik Turner that was overturned when replays showed Turner didn't get a second foot down in bounds. One of the things Seahawks general manager pointed to when Seattle selected McGough in the seventh-round of this year's draft was his accuracy on the run, and on that throw, he threw a 50-plus-yard strike that hit Turner in stride while running nearly at full speed to his right.
"I was really happy for Austin, to get a chance to start the game and all that," Carroll said. "Come through, put together a nice performance and had the touchdown called back unfortunately. Good job on him. Alex came in and did some nice stuff, too. It was a good job. Both those guys, with the news that comes in from the weekend, into the weekend, going into Thursday, they both competed really beautifully and showed well."
3. Mike Davis made a strong final statement heading into the regular season.
When the Seahawks have been healthy at running back this summer, it has been one of their deepest and most competitive positions. And while there has understandably been a lot of hype surrounding Chris Carson, who has looked great heading into his second season, as well as first-round pick Rashaad Penny, it's worth remembering that Mike Davis was pretty darn good late last season after being called up from the practice squad. And in his last chance to bolster his case for a role in the offense this year, Davis had a very strong evening, rushing for a team-high 45 yards on nine carries, all in the first half. Davis, who had a 1-yard touchdown run late in the half, also had one catch for 11 yards.
"I just think Mike Davis is good," Carroll said. "He's a good player. He plays with great intensity. He has good suddenness always; he comes through. He's tough. Helps us on teams. He's a nice football player. We all think a lot of him."
4. Michael Dickson has created what are probably unfairly high expectations for himself.
Seattle's rookie punter has been so good this preseason, it's almost alarming when he has something resembling an average NFL punt. After downing 56- and 57-yard punts at the 3-yard line in last week's game, Dickson looked mortal at times on Thursday, such as when an attempt to pin the Raiders deep was fair caught at "only" the 11-yard line, or when a 52-yard punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback instead of defying physics and bouncing sideways out of bounds.
But if anyone was worried about the growing legend of Michael Dickson, they were no doubt comforted by his fourth-quarter punt that was caught by Seattle cornerback Akeem King at the 3-yard line.
5. Even when he doesn't play, Marshawn Lynch makes his presence felt.
Marshawn Lynch returned to CenturyLink Field for the first time since being traded to the Raiders last year, and while he didn't play, he was still pretty noticeable in his return to Seattle. Before the game, Lynch caught up with, among others, former teammates, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom. He also put general manager John Schneider in a playful headlock and gave Skittles to the Sea Gals.
During the game, Lynch, who was not in uniform, ran out to the middle of the field following a Keon Hatcher touchdown catch, drawing a 15-yard penalty. And for whatever reason, Lynch also held onto a football throughout the entire game, never putting it down, only to throw it to a lucky young fan as he walked off the field.
Former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, now a member of the Oakland Raiders, returned to CenturyLink Field Thursday night for the first time since coming out of retirement to join his hometown team last year. The Seahawks and Raiders will close out the preseason against one another for the 13th straight year.