By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — As the NFL preseason draws to a close, the Raiders will host Oakland native Marshawn Lynch and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at O.co Coliseum Thursday night as both teams look to finish off strong before the games start to really count.
Oakland is coming off their third preseason game, losing to the Packers, 31-21, in Green Bay last week. The Raiders first-team defense played strong early, forcing the Packers into back-to-back three-and-out drives and three straight punts in the first quarter. Rookie linebacker Khalil Mack was active all over the field, collecting five tackles and an interception.
Linebackers Miles Burris and Nick Roach each finished with six tackles, while defensive end LaMarr Woodley recorded his first sack as a Raider.
Offensively, Oakland’s first-team showed progress, after running back Maurice Jones-Drew stormed for a 40-yard touchdown run on the Raiders’ first possession to tie the game at 7-7, after Eddie Lacy’s 1-yard run on Green Bay’s first possession.
Quarterback Matt McGloin, who has made a strong case to be the Raiders’ No. 2 quarterback, finished 10-of-17 for 162 yards passing, and two touchdowns, both to wide receiver, Bryce Butler. Butler added three catches for 60 yards receiving.
Even with McGloin’s impressive play, rookie quarterback Derek Carr is slated to start Thursday. Carr sat out the Green Bay game to rest his bruised ribs he suffered in Oakland’s second preseason game.
Seattle showed why many experts believe that they can repeat as Super Bowl champions with another dominating performance, dropping the Chicago Bears, 34-6 at home.
Quarterback Russell Wilson looked in midseason form, scoring three touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing) while passing for 202 yards on 15-of-20 passes. Wilson also had a robust 140.o quarterback rating.
Lynch, who held out the early part of training camp after being unhappy with his contract, had three carries for 16 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run on the Seahawks’ opening drive of the game. Lynch would watch the remainder on the game from the sidelines, tossing the cleats for some basketball shoes.
Even the Seahawks’ punishing defense appears to be ready for another run at the Lombardi trophy, having surrender only 20 points in three preseason games.
Oakland will also see a familiar face Thursday, with Terrelle Pryor returning to the Black Hole. It will be a good test for the Raiders’ defense who haven’t faced a quarterback with the frame and elusiveness quite like Pryor.
Both teams will see each other during the regular season, when the Silver and Black travel to CenturyLink Field for a Week 9 match-up.
With all 32 teams having to reduce their rosters down to 53 players by Saturday, August 30, it will be a busy week in Oakland. The Raiders have 10 open positions on the practice squad to fill as well.
After Thursday night’s game, the Seahawks will open up their title defense on Sept. 4 when they will host the Green Bay Packers, while Oakland will begin the season on the road when they will travel 3,000 miles to New York and face the Jets on Sept. 7.
You can watch the game on KTVU/FOX 2, or listen on 98.5 KFOX.