Well, that was fun! Thus far this preseason the Raiders have played three Super Bowl contenders in Arizona, Green Bay and Seattle and have looked more than competent doing so. Not every team is going to be as good as those teams are in Oakland's schedule.
Some good things happened in tonight's game and some things happened which were less than optimal. Let's get right to the winners and losers from the evening's festivities.
1) Darius Latham
Oakland has found themselves a prime time playa here, boys and girls. Darius Latham is an absolute beast and a terror to opposing linemen. He lived in Seattle's backfield tonight and he will appear in the nightmares of both Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin tonight. Ciara better have a cold washcloth ready for when Wilson wakes up in a sweat.
Oakland's defensive line was completely dominant tonight, and Latham was the biggest reason why. He has made this team with aplomb and will be a huge asset to the Raiders in the absence of Mario Edwards Jr. I would not be shocked to see him be a huge part of the defensive line rotation next week in New Orleans.
2) Michigan State boys
Coming into this game, Shilique Calhoun had drawn the ire of Raider fans for his "soft" play and being easy to block and not playing tough. In Seattle's first drive, Russell Wilson lofted a pass right over Calhoun's head to their tight end for a huge gain. Here we go again. But Calhoun had other ideas. He stepped up huge for the rest of the game, showing off tremendous ability as a pass rusher and collecting a sack on Trevone Boykin. He shouldn't be covering tight ends yet, but he has serious value as a situational rusher.
Connor Cook came into the game and, frankly, didn't do a whole lot. He was good, not great. He made some good throws and some bad throws. He threw a touchdown pass to the other team. But he also led a touchdown drive for Oakland late in the fourth quarter and kept the team in the game. Even with a limited knowledge of the system, Cook seemed poise and in control. He will keep improving going forward, but you can see that a pro talent is there.
3) George Atkinson III
I have to be honest, in my initial notes I had Atkinson on the Losers list. He dropped a potential touchdown pass from Cook and then had a key fumble. But then he had some great rushes and scored a touchdown. I considered not mentioning him at all. Then he had a huge kickoff return for a touchdown. He got knocked down, but he got up again, you ain't never gonna keep him down. After the game I hope he celebrates with a whiskey drink, a lager drink, a cider drink and a vodka drink.
He may not make this team, but with the ability he showed tonight he will probably make A team. That makes him a winner in our hearts.
4) Marquette King and the Special Teams
Once again, King showed why he is potentially the finest punter on Earth. He boomed punts consistently inside the opposing red zone and pinned Seattle deep every chance he got. The return game for Oakland was on point, and although there were penalties on returns the effort and talent is clearly there. Janikowski has been stellar so far. Return coverage has been so bad for so long that it's refreshing to see improvement.
1) Seattle's offensive line
I'm not sure these guys knew there was a game tonight. Oakland had a ton of "jailbreak" rushes where the entire defense was in the quarterback's face instantly. I may not be an offensive line guru, but I don't think that's supposed to happen. Seattle was expected to have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL this year and I think that's a safe bet. Best of luck to them against Arizona and Los Angeles. If our second team can shred them like this, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald will eat their lunch and Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche and Calais Campbell will look like the Purple People Eaters.
2) Thomas Rawls
Oh, you poor schmuck. You have so much talent, but you have to run behind this line. Say your prayers and eat your vitamins, brother. If Seattle is winning anything, it will be on the back of Russell Wilson and his Straight Edge Jesus Magic.
3) Matt McGloin
Okay, so the Raiders had a plan. They knew the Seattle defense was in there, they knew it was going to be tough. The coaches wanted a well-executed game and LEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOY JENKINS
Matt McGloin ran around the field like he was double-parked and fired the football wherever he damn well pleased. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the plan. McGloin was responsible for zero points and that's an excellent representation of how effective he was.
4) Kenneth Durden
Let's not crap on Durden too much. He was targeted quite a bit and he had a huge pass defensed in the end zone. He looked athletic and capable of blanket man coverage. He was okay.
BUT the preseason is about making the most of your opportunities, and Durden dropped two interceptions. One he actually had in his hands and dropped on the ground, but the other he fell down trying to catch like he was Jose Canseco in center field. I'm shocked the football didn't bounce off his helmet into Seattle's bench.