OAKLAND, Calif. — With Seattle’s starters mostly making only a token cameo appearance in the final exhibition game, the Seahawks were often unrecognizable Thursday night in Oakland.
Both in name and in play.
After the first-team offense scored quickly and easily on its only drive of the night to open the game, the Raiders took advantage of a Seattle team that often couldn’t get out of its own way to open up a three-touchdown lead and go on to a 41-31 win at the O.Co Coliseum.
“It was really good when the first unit was in there on offense,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said later. “That was four plays. And then after that it wasn’t very good. We had a terrible time tonight.”
Seattle ends the preseason 2-2 after having gone 4-0 the past two years.
But Seattle has weightier issues on its mind now as it must cut its regular-season roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 1 p.m., and then being preparing for a rapidly-approaching season opener Thursday against Green Bay at CenturyLink Field, a night when it will also celebrate its win in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle looked like a Super Bowl winner in this one only on that first drive, when quarterback Russell Wilson led a quick four-play, 80-yard march for a touchdown, hitting tight end Luke Willson for a 25-yard score to make it 7-0.
That was the 11th score in 13 drives in the preseason for the first-unit offense, which was forced to punt only once — on the first drive of the preseason at Denver.
“When I look back at this preseason, the thing that jumps out at me is what our offense was able to do when our first unit was out there,” Carroll said.
Wilson, who played just the opening series for Seattle, went 3 for 3 for 77 yards and a touchdown and finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, opening the game with a 44-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse down the side line.
Wilson ended the preseason 33 of 42 for 437 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, which Carroll called “phenomenal.”
The rest of the game, though, was far from that for the Seahawks, who hadn’t allowed more than 27 points in any exhibition game since Carroll took over as coach in 2010, and had won 11 of their past 12 in the preseason.
Oakland rookie quarterback Derek Carr, attempting to beat out veteran Matt Schaub for the Raiders’ starting job, shredded the Seahawks apart early, leading the Raiders to touchdowns on all four possessions he was in. Carr finished 11 of 13 for 143 yards and three touchdowns and a passer rating of 152.1.
“Gosh, he was really good,” Carroll said. “I thought the Raiders played great tonight. They tore us up in every way.”
Carr’s first TD drive came against Seattle’s first-team defense, a 12-play 68-yard touchdown drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said the Seahawks got caught being too impatient against some of Oakland’s counter plays.
Wilson and most of the first-unit players then departed and the game got sloppy.
Miscues helped lead to two Carr touchdown passes that came in dizzying fashion to cap drives of seven and six seconds. The first followed a fumbled kickoff by Bryan Walters, after which Carr threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore.
Then, a 45-yard punt return set up another Carr touchdown pass and one-play drive, this time a 20-yard toss to tight end Mychal Rivera. Typifying the night for the Seahawks, linebacker Malcolm Smith tipped the ball right into the hands of Rivera, causing Smith to leap in frustration.
The last of Carr’s three first-half TD passes put the Raiders ahead 28-7 early in the second quarter before Seattle tried to rally.
Oakland’s Phillip Adams tipped a pass into the hands of DeShawn Shead, who got up off the ground and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-14 late in the second quarter. And Terrelle Pryor, in a final audition to make the team., hit Phil Bates for a 33-yard TD late in the first half to make it 35-21 at halftime.
But Seattle could get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Carroll, though, was happy Seattle suffered no major injuries to key players in the preseason.
“All in all, we are ready to go,” Carroll said.