The Oakland Raiders defense thoroughly smothered the Seattle Seahawks as part of the Silver and Black’s 33-3 drubbing of their former division foe.
The three points is the lowest point total allowed b a Raider defense since they shut out the Kansas City Chiefs in week 17 of the 2002 campaign. Whilst, it could be noted that Olindo Mare missed two field goals and could have upped the point total to 9, the fact of the matter he missed the field goals because the Raiders defense would not allow the Seahawks to convert on third down. Mare missed from 51 yards at the close of the first half after the Raiders defense forced Matt Hasslebeck to throw incomplete on third and one. Mare missed a 29 yard chipshot in the third quarter after the Seahawks had their deepest penetration of the game. On a 3rd and 9 from the Raiders 11 yardline Hasselbeck could not connect with Mike Williams and Mare set up for the field goal and it sailed wide left. When Mare finally hit from 47 yards with 9:02 left in the game, it was already decided. It made the score 23-3. There was not much the ‘Hawks could do at that point with it being 4th and 26.
Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley said that they were disappointed they couldn’t hold the shutout. “As a defense, you want to go out and stop the opposing offense from scoring. I think we got down to the last quarter and they hadn’t put up any points. We were definitely eyeing it. Unfortunately they got the field goal, but we came up with the win and we’re happy about that.”
The Raiders struggles against the run have become the stuff of legend. However, they held the Seahawks to 47 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 2.9 yards per carry average. This was not a result of the score being out of hand because it was only 10-0 at the half. It was a matter of the Raiders defense winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. These numbers were skewed upwards by a garbage time 21 yard run by Leon Washington with 7:16 left in the game and down 26-3. Starter and former Cal standout Marshawn Lynch carried 9 times and could only muster 7 yards for an average of 0.8 yards per carry with a long of 7. Justin Forsett carried 5 times for 11 yards with a 2.2 yards per carry and a long of 5. Washington carried 5 times for 29 yards for an average of 5.8 which looks good until the long of 21 is factored in.
Head Coach Tom Cable spoke glowingly of the emergence of the run defense after their earlier woes, “It’s exciting for that group of players and coaches because they have been up against it a few times. Certainly the Houston game we got it handed to us. I think like everything, if you just say it was one of those days or that’s really not us, you kind of sweep it under the rug and you have a problem. I don’t think we’ve done that. We’ve dealt with it the right way and we’ve taken responsibility for it and I think it’s starting to show now. “
Not to be outdone, the pass defense only allowed 115 net yards. They were able to sack Hasselbeck 8 times for 45 yards with a forced fumble. Wimbley and Richard Seymour each had two sacks. Lamarr Houston had a sack and a forced fumble even though the ‘Hawks were able to recover it. Tyvon Branch, Desmond Bryant, and Tommy Kelly each added sacks of their own. Once again, Raiders All Pro defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha’s name is absent from the score sheet, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have an imact on the game. His man was targeted four times, and none of them were complete. Safety Tyvon Branch was in the right place in the right time for a freak interception in the fourth quarter. Stanford Routt tipped a pass and the receiver made a diving play but the ball popped out of his hands and Branch was able to play the carom perfectly and had a 14 yard return.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said of the sack parade, “It’s like a snowball effect. I get one, he gets one, everybody wants to get one. It’s like, can;t let them have all the fun. Everybody wants one.”
This is their best performance yardage wise as a defense since December 3rd, 2006 when they held the Houston Texans to 124 total yards in a 23-14 loss. In that game they held the Texans to -5 in total passing. December 3rd of that year the Raiders held the St Louis Rams to 103 yards passing, which is the most recent total lower than Sunday’s 115. The rushing defense put on their best display since November 7th, 2004 when they held the Carolina Panthers to 37 yards rushing in a 27-24 win.
Of the Seahawks 10 first downs three of them were via penalty, and they only had two first downs for the first half. Probably the most telling statistic of the game to demonstrate the complete domination by the Raiders defense was the Seahawks going 1 for 16 (6%) on third downs. The ‘Hawks only third down conversion came with 12:03 in the 4th quarter as part of their only scoring drive.
The Raiders defense completely dominated the line of scrimmage and never let the Seahawks get anything going. Cable said, “We’re getting to the point in the line of scrimmage where we have to go out and control it when we have the opportunity. Today was one of those and we were able to do it.”
It was the best performance out of that group in years and gives them something to build on for next week when they face the Kansas City Chiefs.