In their final preseason game, the Oakland Raiders hit the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks, and picked apart their secondary all night.
In a game that meant everything to those still fighting for a roster spot, the Oakland Raiders went up to Seattle to take on the Seahawks inside CenturyLink Field. With most of their starters on both sides of the ball sitting this one out, the show belonged to the guys on the bubble, and some made their case to stay as we head to the regular season.
The Raiders got the scoring going first, as EJ Manuel got the start over Connor Cook. Cook had been the first backup after Derek Carr through the first three preseason games, but he has been wildly ineffective as of late. Manuel put the Raiders on the board with a little under four minutes left in the first quarter, as he hit Keon Hatcher on a 45-yard strike.
Hatcher showed incredible athleticism on the play, spinning on the defender on the ground, and then sprinting for the score. The first quarter would end with Oakland up 7-0.
Mike Nugent put the Raiders up 10-0 with a field goal early in the second quarter from 51 yards out. Nugent, who is filling in for the injured Eddy Pineiro, just may be the kicker in Week 1, as Pineiro continues to miss time with a groin injury.
Seattle responded in a hurry, as Raysean Pringle was burned by Damore’ea Stringfellow on an 81-yard touchdown. Incredibly, former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed the extra point, making the score 10-6. Oakland extended their lead later in the second, as Manuel found Hatcher for the second time in the half on a beautiful 19 yard hook up to go up 17-6.
Mike Davis scored on a short touchdown run with under a minute left in the half on a nice two-minute drill by the Seahawks, and the teams went into the half with the Raiders up 17-13.
Manuel went back to work in the third quarter, hitting Saeed Blacknall for his second 45-yard touchdown pass of the game. Manuel would exit the game for Connor Cook later in the third, but he really took advantage of his opportunity to start in this one.
Oakland took a 23-13 lead into the fourth quarter, and once again, Hatcher made his presence felt. This time it was Cook hitting Hatcher for the score, his third of the game, as the Raiders extended their lead over the Seahawks with a score of 30-13.
Seattle found the end zone with a little over three minutes left in the fourth, as Alex McGough hit Kyle Carter for a ten yard score. Janikowski missed his second extra point of the night, giving the Raiders an 11 point lead at 30-19.
That would be the final score, as Oakland finishes the preseason with a 3-1 record. Seattle went winless this summer, but as we see every year, preseason records mean absolutely nothing in correlation to what the teams will do in the regular season.
Overall, it was a very successful preseason for Gruden in his return to the sidelines.
The Raiders got the scoring started in the first quarter, as EJ Manuel hit Keon Hatcher for a 45-yard touchdown. Manuel looked good all night for Oakland.
Manuel hits Hatcher for the second time in the first half. Hatcher makes a nice catch and takes it in from 19 yards out.
Marcell Ateman continues to make his mark on this team this summer, and likely locked up a spot on the 53-man roster with another solid performance on Thursday night.
Third touchdown pass of the night for Manuel, as he hits Penn State product Saeed Blacknall for 45 yards. That would end Manuel’s night.
Hatcher puts the finishing touches on a breakout night, catching his third touchdown of the game.
1. EJ Manuel
For the first time all preseason, EJ Manuel was above Connor Cook on the depth chart, and he took advantage of his opportunity. The veteran connected on two first half touchdown passes to Keon Hatcher, and then another in the third to Saeed Blacknall, and may have earned himself the backup quarterback job in Oakland for 2018.
2. Keon Hatcher
Hatcher had a monster first half for the Raiders, catching two touchdown passes from quarterback EJ Manuel, and another from Connor Cook. Hatcher has no shot to make the Raiders regular season roster, but he put some nice tape together on Thursday night, and just may have earned himself a roster spot with his performance.
3. Fadol Brown
The big fella continues to make his move up this depth chart, and it is going to be very hard for the Raiders to keep him off the 53-man roster. He got push up front, deflected passes, and even went downfield and made plays. Former Raiders linebacker Matt Millen said on the telecast he looks like Deacon Jones coming off the edge.
Hatcher’s breakout game put Seth Roberts on notice, as the veteran did not play in this one. The Raiders have to get their roster cut down to 53 men by 4pm ET on Saturday, and after Thursday night, they have a lot of decisions to make.
The games finally count for real next week, as it will be Week 1 of the 2018 NFL regular season. The Raiders do not play until next Monday night, as they host the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener. That will be a solid test for Oakland, as Los Angeles won the NFC West last season, and loaded up with talent on their defense this offseason.