This was not the way the Raiders hoped to end the preseason, with two ugly losses in which they got destroyed on the ground. As bad as the Raiders were against the Cardinals last week when the starters played three quarters, they were equally bad with backups vs backups.
The most shocking statistic in this 31-21 Seahawks win was the run game differential - 224-18. That's 224 yards on the ground for the Seahawks vs 18 yards on the ground for the Raiders. At least against the Cardinals, the Raiders defense showed up. In this one they showed they weren't quite as deep as perhaps we thought they were.
Even still, there were some positives, and my job was to weed them out along with the negatives. There were no starters in this one (Well, except for DJ Hayden), so this week is all about those guys trying to make a team and fight for playing time.
With the best performance by any receiver this preseason. He did it all in this one. He caught almost everything thrown anywhere near him, he showed quickness/elusiveness after the catch, and he put points on the board.
His first catch of the day was the Raiders first third down conversion on a slant for 8 yards on third and 7 from Christian Ponder. When Matt McGloin entered the game in the second quarter, he too knew where to look on third down. And again Roberts showed great field awareness to reach across the sticks for a 10-yard catch on third and 9. Next third down on the same drive, and McGloin again looked to Roberts who picked it up for a 10-yard gain on third and 6. The Raiders wouldn't need another third down conversion from Roberts because he scored the touchdown on a six-yard pass which he deftly tapped his toes in the back right corner of the end zone to put the Raiders on the board.
Roberts next saw a pass in the third quarter. And guess what? It was another third down that he converted with an 8-yard catch on third and 5. That's four third down conversions and a touchdown for Roberts on five catches. And he wasn't done. In fact, he may have save his best for last.
On the Raider final scoring drive of the game, Roberts picked up nearly every yard on the drive. On the second play, he went on a post route that, had he been led properly, would probably have been gone for a touchdown, but it was thrown behind him. No matter, Roberts adjusted and caught the ball behind him for a 27-yard gain.
A few plays later on, wouldn't you know it, Third down and 13, Roberts caught a 9-yard pass from Ponder... then he juked two defenders, ran left, juked two more defenders, turned up field, split two more defenders and streaked for 39 yards before being tackled by the ankles. That's six prospective tacklers for those of you counting at home. And the Raiders set up at the Seahawks' 15-yard line.
A couple plays later, he had his man so out of sorts that he grabbed him while Roberts was trying to break open and was called for pass interference. It was a spot foul that put the Raiders at first and goal at the 2-yard-line and they punched it in a few plays later. Masterful game by Roberts. We knew he was a steady hand as a receiver, but this performance seemingly came out of nowhere. Now, he may do more than just make the team, he could be vying to be the team's third receiver.
Another guy who staked his claim in this one was one Matt "Red Rifle" McGloin. So much so that the team will reportedly be releasing Christian Ponder today, leaving the primary backup job to McGloin alone. We've seen this before. This is what McMoxie does. But it wasn't without a rough start.
His first drive was destroyed by horrible offensive line play. The first play was a tackle for loss on the running back, the second play was a holding penalty that backed the Raiders up to their own goal line. And the third play, Seahawks Frank Clark came around the edge so fast that even a three-step drop and immediate pass by McGloin wasn't fast enough to get the ball away. Clark hit McGloin's arm as he threw and the Seahawks recovered it for a touchdown.
That play was in no uncertain terms not even slightly McGloin's fault. Though the fumble goes in his stats, it was Matt McCants who completely whiffed on his block. McGloin never had a chance. With the strip and score, McGloin had no time to dwell on what had happened before taking the field again... and leading them on a touchdown drive.
That drive was a flawless one for McGloin and he was still having to overcome serious offensive line issues the whole way. He had no help from the run game which had 3 yards on 4 carries. McGloin threw a 16-yard pass to Butler, a 10-yard pass to Seth Roberts on third and 9, a 3-yard pass to Rod Streater, another 10-yard pass to Roberts on third and 6, and a perfect strike from 20 yards out for what would have been a touchdown had Roberts not bobbled it on his way to the ground and it was ruled incomplete. Two plays later, McGloin went back to Roberts for a 6-yard touchdown perfectly placed on the back right corner of the end zone. On the drive, McGloin went 6 for 8 for 45 yards and a touchdown with both of his incompletions being on-target drops. That's how you answer.
McGloin would get one more shot to score before half time and he nearly did it. He completed a 22-yard pass to Brian Leonhardt, a 13-yard pass to Brice Butler, and then when pressured, he kept the team in field goal range by escaping right and while stumbling, throwing an underhand pass past the line of scrimmage and out of bounds. Unfortunately, the 52-yard field goal attempt by Giorgio Tavecchio missed wide left and the Raiders headed into half time down 17-7.
The third quarter McGloin was given the ball again to see if he could continue his momentum. And he did, driving them for a touchdown. On the drive, he completed a pass to Gabe Holmes for 7 yards, to Kris Durham for 14 yards on third and 9, and finished it off with a well-placed back shoulder touchdown pass to Rod Streater from 28 yards out. And suddenly the Raiders were within three at 17-14.
That was as close as the Raiders would get in the game, which would likely have been a tie game had Sebastian Janikowski been the one kicking field goals in this one. McGloin would get two more series with a couple of good passes including a 25-yard connection with Brice Butler up the right sideline before calling it a day. He finished going 16 of 24 for 186 yards and two touchdowns for a 117.7 passer rating.
His career shows that he may not hold up as well against a team's top players, but against the backups Thursday, he held his own. He was one of just three defensive players for the Raiders who played the entire game. While you would expect he would be more productive than players given far fewer snaps, you would also expect he would be more exposed. He wasn't.
The first Seahawks' drive lasted two plays, with starters in the game, and that second play was a 63-yard touchdown strike from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. Their second team came in after that and led a sustained drive. Along the way, Mays was held on a play which would put them in third and 12. They would get as close as the 37-yard-line and on third down they went long. DJ Hayden was in tight coverage and turned late, and had the ball bounce off his back, giving the receiver another shot at the ball. At that same instant, Mays swooped in and nearly picked it off. At very least he kept the receiver from making a tipped catch. They settled for a 55-yard field goal.
Later in the game, with the very quick and elusive BJ Daniels in the game at quarterback, Mays twice stopped him on a scramble. Later in that same drive, he teamed up with Ben Heeney for a run stuff to keep the Seahawks out of the end zone on first and goal at the two. That tackle became even bigger after a Seattle false start penalty followed by a holding penalty that backed them up to the 16-yard line. They were able to get the touchdown anyway, but that doesn't cheapen the tackle at the goal line. He finished fourth on the team with 4 tackles (3 solo).
Tevin McDonald, Dexter McDonald (no relation)
The McDonalds both played well in this one as both are fighting to grab a roster spot. Both had interceptions right in their hands only to watch them fall to the ground. That sucks, but they deserve credit for the pass defended just the same. Tevin played 43 snaps to Dexter's 10, but neither gave up a catch that I could tell, with Tevin tying for second on the team with 6 tackles (3 solo).
Denico Autry - Got in on three tackles in the game, all run stuffs at the line for little or no gain. He also had a QB hurry. He did this with just 21 snaps in the game.
Jamize Olawale - Gave the Raiders a bit of a spark on their final drive with a 6-yard catch and a 7-yard run. He then recovered the onsides kick to give the Raiders another shot to score at the end.
Khalif Barnes - Stepped in at right tackle and was the only halfway decent lineman in this game for the Raiders. Just showing the Raiders he will once again be a viable option as a backup swing tackle deserves a pat on the back.
Rod Streater -- Caught 3 passes on 5 targets for 37 yards including a 28-yard touchdown catch in which he made a great adjustment to haul in the back shoulder grab.
Tough to not put a guy who (again) led the team in tackles (11), but I just can't celebrate his good plays without also mentioning the ones that weren't so great. Because while he led the team in tackles, he also led them in missed tackles (3).
The Seahawks' second drive does a fine job of encapsulating his day. He starting with a tackle on a run 4 yards downfield, had a missed tackle on a run on third and 12 that went for 15 yards, was blocked on a 17-yard run, and then made a brilliant tackle in which he shot over from the middle to stop a catch on the outside for 2 yards.
He had two more tackles on the next drive - one after they had picked up the first down and the other on a 10-yard dump pass. He almost single-handedly stopped the next series with a run stuff at the line and a tackle on a quarterback scramble for 3 yards on third and 5. That quick series gave the Raiders another shot at scoring before halftime.
The next drive he joined a team tackle at the line, was blocked on a 9-yard run, and teamed up for a stop at the goal line. Early in the fourth quarter, he had a great open field tackle on a receiver to stop them for minimal gain. Two plays later, on third and nine, he got pressure to help Neiron Ball get the sack and end the series. His final play of the game he was blocked on a 3-yard touchdown run.
If you go by the second play of the game, he is a Buster. If you go by the rest of the game, he was a Baller. Therefore, Betweener. That second play, Tyler Lockett put a move on McGill and he stumbled just enough for Lockett to leave him in a vapor trail 63 yards for the touchdown. Not a good look. McGill failed to get a jam on Lockett at the line and without the quick feet to shadow him, it was over as soon as it began.
After that, things got better for McGill. He played all but one snap on defense in this game. And gave up just two catches - the 63-yarder and an 11-yarder. On the same drive as the 11-yard catch, he also had a pass defended and on third and 9 had tight coverage to force in incompletion to end the drive. He had two more coverage incompletions after that as well and gave up no catches in the second half.
He went 4 for 7 for 62 yards in this game. Not a bad line. But the misses were pretty glaring. The first pass to him came on the team's final offensive snap of the first quarter. Butler had torched his man and was wide open up the right sideline. Christian Ponder aired it out and it hung in the air and was so short that Butler had to completely stop and wait for it to arrive. It was a terrible pass to be certain, but one Butler absolutely should have caught. The defender was closing on him and with the prospect of getting it defended or being lit up, Butler DHB'd the ball. For those new to this, that means he jumped unnecessarily, had it go through his hands, to his body and fall incomplete.
He had a couple nice catches in the second quarter and showed the speed we know he has on those catches. He also drew a couple pass interference calls. Then in the third quarter, he went long again, this time up the left sideline, and again misplayed the ball. The defender stayed with him in tight coverage this time, but instead of going over the top of the defender and utilizing his height and leaping ability, he tried to catch the ball through the defender and it was defended. That too came on third down.
He added his fourth and longest catch in the fourth quarter that went 25 yards up the right sideline from McGloin. Overall Butler has had a great preseason, but those two misses didn't do him any favors. Especially with the kind of game Seth Roberts had.
Much like Keith McGill, Chekwa had really just one bad play to give up a touchdown catch and played well the rest of the day. The touchdown he gave up was in the third quarter. It was as 16-yard catch in which Chekwa had tight coverage but didn't turn around in time to defend it. The Seahawks took a 24-14 lead on that score.
Other than that, Chekwa gave up one catch for 7 yards. He also forced three incompletions in tight coverage and finished second on the team with 6 tackles (4 solo).