LOS ANGELES, September 3, 2015 — The Oakland Raiders wrapped up their 2015 preseason by traveling to play the Seattle Seahawks. The third preseason game, as is typical, featured significantly playing time by the starters. The fourth preseason game, as is typical, featured virtually none.
The Raiders took no chances. Quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and running back Latavius Murray all learned how to develop their clipboard-holding skills on the sideline.
Russell Wilson was in for only two plays. His one pass was a 62-yard touchdown bomb. The Oakland defense was even worse on Seattle’s second drive, led by backup quarterback R.J. Archer. Seattle was pinned with a third down and twelve inside their own 10, and a draw play picked up the first down. Steve Hauschka would drill a 55-yard field goal as Seattle led 10-0 after the first quarter.
The Raider Nation can point out that the Raiders played the entire game with backups, but backups still have to be able to play professional football. Backup Raiders quarterback Christian Ponder did nothing. Ponder went deep incomplete and was lucky enough to draw a defensive pass interference penalty. Ponder went deep again and underthrew a wide open receiver. A gift touchdown instead turned into what was still a very catchable ball that Brice Butler just dropped. The Raiders punted again after having only 13 net yards in their first three possessions, with negative rushing yards.
Early in the second quarter, Ponder headed to the bench and third stringer Matt McGloin came in. McGloin went back to pass in his own end zone and was belted from the blind side. The resulting fumble was recovered for a Seattle touchdown and a 17-0 Seahawks lead. McGloin never had a chance because the blocking on the outside was awful. He had no idea the hit was coming.
McGloin did bounce back, firing to the end zone corner for a touchdown again as the Raiders got within 17-7. The 12 play, 85-yard, 7-minute drive showed that McGloin can do the job when given a chance to stand upright. McGloin on his next drive led the Raiders to a field goal try. The backup kicker from 52 missed it by a country mile. McGloin kept firing in the third quarter, hitting Rod Streater for a 35-yard touchdown to get the Raiders within 17-14.
Unfortunately, the Raiders have little to no depth, especially on defense. Seattle traded an R.J. for a B.J. as third string quarterback B.J. Daniels moved the Seahawks 80 yards for another touchdown and a 24-14 Seahawks lead. Seattle pounded it in on the ground for the 31-14 lead. For some reason Christian Ponder was brought back in the game. A garbage touchdown completed the scoring.
The loss could not be blamed on Trent Richardson, who was cut before the game. Seattle is one of the best teams in football, especially at home. Even without Kam Chancellor, who is still in a contract holdout, the Legion of Boom is still scary. However, Oakland is trying to convince the football world that the 13 straight non-winning, non-playoff seasons will finally be coming to an end. Performances like this do nothing to give the Raider Nation a ray of hope. The running game in particular is dreadful.
The Raiders are a very young team. 21 of the 22 projected starters on offense and defense have been with the team three years or less. Only fullback Marcel Reece has been a Raider longer, since 2009.
The team has drastically cut down on their penalties, but the offensive line has struggled the last couple weeks against two of the league’s best defenses. Defensive backs twice dropped easy interception on drives that led to Seattle points.
The Raiders finished the preseason 1-3. For the first time since 1969, they start the regular season with consecutive home games. The stars for the most part played well in the preseason, but this team has no depth, with the possible exception of McGloin. Even he is a significant drop-off from Carr. One injury to any of their key players means the Silver and Black may be having another 4-12 season or worse.