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Raiders preseason week 4 Ballers & Busters vs Seahawks

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders Neville Guard-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s installment comes a little bit late, what with all the final roster cuts and all. But if you thought I would be taking a week off, sorry to disappoint.

It was all about the depth and roster hopefuls in the final preseason game and you may see some commonalities between these player performances and those who made the squad and did not.

Ballers

Denico Autry

Autry was outclassing the Seahawks’ backups all day. The Seahawks got the ball at the Oakland 9-yard line off a turnover. Autry had the run stuff on the first play and two plays later batted the ball down at the line to hold them to a field goal.

Next series, Autry chased Trevone Boykin out of bounds for a 3-yard scramble to start another three and out. Autry got another pressure on the next series, but a blown coverage resulted in a 24-yard reception. Another blown coverage would result in a 34-yard touchdown and a 10-0 Seahawks lead.

The following series Autry held his gap to force a 2-yard run and on the next play hit the QB as he threw to force an overthrow and Shalom Luani made the interception.

All that was in the first quarter alone. He played just 15 snaps. How he continues to not get the same respect as some of the other Raiders defensive linemen continues to confuse me.

Darius Latham

After a relatively quiet first few games, Latham was a force in the middle in this one, both in the run game and as a pass rusher. Early on, he bulled his way into the backfield and his defender had to hold him to keep him from tackling the runner for a loss. A couple plays later he made the run stuff for a 2-yard gain.

To begin the third quarter, he was held again. Next play he got a pressure that forced the QB to throw the ball away. He ended that drive a few plays later with a run stuff for a loss and Seahawks’ kicker Blair Walsh would miss the 49-yard attempt short.

The next drive, he had another pressure, hitting the QB as he threw incomplete. Two plays later, he hit the QB’s arm on the follow thru to help force another incompletion on third down. This former undrafted defensive lineman earned a return to the team.

Keon Hatcher

His five catches led the team. He also scored the Raiders’ only touchdown. Hatcher had the game’s first catch for 9 yards. He had the second catch too for 7 yards. In fact, those were the only two catches by anyone on the Raiders until the final seconds of the first quarter when running back John Crockett caught a 5-yard pass.

Hatcher had the next catch too for 8 yards. That catch got the Raiders drive in the second quarter going. Just as it started with a Hatcher catch, it ended with a fantastic back shoulder catch by Hatcher from 18 yards out for the touchdown.

He very nearly had a leaping grab that would have put the Raiders in first and goal, but just barely came down with his heel out of bounds.

In the third quarter, with the score tied at 10-10, he had an 8-yard catch on third and seven to keep the drive alive. A field goal would give the Raiders their first and only lead of the game. He added a 6-yard catch on the final drive on a pass that was low and behind him to finish with 5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. The former Arkansas receiver without a single drop in 2016 was waived and brought back on the team’s practice squad.

LaTroy Lewis

This undrafted rookie’s standout preseason continued. He had the second tackle of the game for the Raiders on a 4-yard catch to help force a three-and-out and keep the Seahawks out of the end zone off a turnover. Later he came up to help make another run stuff. Late in the first half, he made the tackle on the kick return to stop the return man at the 9-yard-line.

To begin the third quarter he had a pressure to force an incompletion and two plays later came up to help make a run stuff for a loss. The Seahawks would miss the 49-yard field goal attempt.

Early in the 4th quarter, on third and 7, he came around the left edge to sack the quarterback. It was his third sack of the preseason. His 7 tackles (4 solo) in this game tied for the team lead and capped his stellar preseason. The Raiders waived him with the intention of bringing him back on the practice squad, but he chose to join the Houston Texans instead.

Dexter McDonald

In the first quarter, he fell down on a deep pass to give up an easy 34-yard touchdown. It was kinda one of those ‘shit happens’ moments. Especially when you look at the game he had otherwise. Jut the series before that, he had tight coverage on third down to force an incompletion and a three-and-out. The drive after, he assisted on a run stuff for one yard and it helped result in another three-and-out.

The next drive, he gave up a 9-yard catch and followed it up with a coverage incompletion. The next drive, which was the last for the Seahawks, McDonald laid out and nearly had an interception to set up third and ten. The QB was sacked on the next play to send the two teams to halftime.

McDonald had tight coverage again on a deep pass up the right sideline to ensure his receiver would get nowhere near the ball on third and 5. In total, McDonald gave up just 2 catches for 14 yards in the game. A fitting end to an outstanding training camp and preseason for the former 7th rounder making his third 53-man roster.

EJ Manuel

Switching off at 2 drives each, Manuel got off to a slow start, completing just 2 passes for 14 yards in the first quarter. But come the second quarter, he picked things up. On one drive in the second quarter he went 6 of 8 for 63 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown pass was a masterful back shoulder throw to Keon Hatcher from 18 yards out. He also added a 6-yard scramble on the drive.

Manuel returned in the 4th quarter and drove the Raiders for another score. He completed an 8-yard pass to Keon Hatcher on third and 7 to keep the drive alive. Then on the next play, he eluded pressure and after he released the ball was hit helmet to helmet for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on the Seahawks. The rest of the drive was John Crockett runs and the Raiders added a field goal to take the lead. He finished going 9 of 14 for 85 yards and a touchdown with a 104.8 passer rating.

Shalom Luani

He was a lock to make the squad before this game so he didn’t play long. He only needed 15 snaps to be in perfect position to pick off an overthrown ball. He even had a tackle on special teams. He wasn’t charged with surrendering a catch either.

Honorable Mention

KJ Brent – He led the Raiders with 55 yards receiving. He was targeted 11 times, catching just 4, but that was mostly due to poor throws. He was waived by the Raiders after a season on the practice squad. Hopefully he will find a home somewhere. He has earned it.

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