Tonight the Raiders prevailed over the Seattle Seahawks, 30-19 at CenturyLink Field. It’s the last time we’ll see the team in action until their Monday Night Football matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Tonight being the fourth preseason game, what players clothed themselves with honor and which ones embarrassed their ancestors?
1) Keon Hatcher
As an undrafted player out of Arkansas a few years ago, Hatcher hasn’t done much in a Raider uniform. He hasn’t had much opportunity to get playing time. But tonight he was in the role of the #1 receiver, and he shined.
Hatcher caught eight passes for 128 yards and a whopping three touchdowns, two from EJ Manuel and one from Connor Cook. He displayed terrific hands, quickness to go with his big body, and a knack for the big play. Those are all things you look for when evaluating receivers. Hatcher may or may not make the Raiders team, but he will land somewhere, and this performance may just have made guys like Seth Roberts and Johnny Holton expendable.
2) EJ Manuel
Much of the talk for the last few weeks has been how putrid the play of the Raiders’ backup QBs has been. Manuel and Connor Cook have both had issues with accuracy and ball security. But tonight, EJ Manuel went full HAM, going 18/22 for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Connor Cook got about a quarter of action and was fine, but Manuel’s performance was electric and he may have put the backup QB competition to bed.
3) Austin Davis
Rams Legend Austin Davis apparently plays for the Seahawks now, but the Seahawks yesterday traded for Brett Hundley from the Packers. After watching this game, I’m wondering why they would have done such a thing. Davis was elusive in the pocket, decisive, and had a rocket arm. He torched the Raiders for 190 yards in the first half, going 13/20 and a gorgeous touchdown pass. He will be on someone’s roster this year.
4) Fadol Brown
If there’s one guy in my mind on the Raiders defense who has exceeded expectations this year, it’s Fadol Brown. He’s been an absolute beast all preseason and had two tackles and a pass breakup in this game. That one was way downfield. What was Brown doing there, you question? The answer is, his best.
Brown is a good bet to make the roster at this point, and he’s shown remarkable improvement and deserves it.
1) Pharaoh Brown
Brown caught two passes for 27 yards on two targets including a nifty 22-yard scamper to the sideline, But he also was called for holding AGAIN. You can tolerate holding penalties from star tackles, but from third-string pass-catching tight ends? No, that will not be tolerated.
2) Kyle Wilber
The defensive back didn’t have a terrible game, recording six tackles. But he also dropped a potential interception and was called for a pass interference penalty. When you’re on the roster bubble, fighting for a spot, that’s the sorts of things you cannot do.
3) Sebastian Janikowski
Surely, the longtime Raiders kicker wanted to show his old team that he still has what it takes to play in the NFL. But he didn’t get much opportunity with the Seahawks going for it on fourth down constantly. He kicked three extra point tries, and missed two of them. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em, Jano. Mike Nugent, on the other hand, was perfect from the field and 3/4 on extra points.
4) Pete Carroll
It’s all come crashing down for Pete. Again. Once he was on top of the world at USC, winning national titles and basking in adulation and the love of the Song Girls. And then it turned out someone had given Reggie Bush’s mom a free house, and USC was given the smackdown from the usually toothless and incompetent NCAA. By the time those sanctions hit, Carroll was long gone, abandoning his recruits and forcing them to deal with his mess.
He escaped to Seattle, where he has the adulation of thousands of liberal arts major Starbucks baristas with $40,000 in student loan debt. He built a powerhouse team led by its defense, but those players are all gone now. He doesn’t have an offensive line. He doesn’t have a running game. His team just gave a mega-extension to a wide receiver who will probably go undrafted in your fantasy league. Seattle is posed to go 5-11 this year, and once that domino falls, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. Checkmate.
And Pete will skip town again. But where to this time? My guess is, Ohio State. And we can all keep rooting against him until he abandons them too.