The Oakland Raiders (4-4) came into their Halloween contest against the Seattle Seahawks (4-3) hoping to prevent a letdown after their dominating victory last week over divisional rival Denver. Since the last time the team won two games back to back was at the end of the 2008 season, there was plenty of reason to be concerned.
The concern paid off for the Silver and Black as they dismantled the visiting Seahawks 33-3 Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the same dominating fashion as they had the week before. While the score doesn’t tell the full tale, it could have been a larger margin of victory, the game was still in doubt until early in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders started the game on offense, but when their first possession stalled, the defense came out and began making a statement immediately. On Seattle’s first play, Tommy Kelly plowed through the middle of the line and sacked Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on the Seahawks’ 28. Two plays later, Richard Seymour got into the act by sacking him on the 21.
On the day, the Raiders posted eight sacks in all and allowed just 162 yards, (47 rushing, 115 passing). The Raiders defense smothered whatever game plan Pete Carroll came in with so well that the Seahawks didn’t record a first down until their was just 2:29 remaining in the first half. At the half, the Raiders had held Seattle to just 69 total yards on offense.
As good as the defense was for the Raiders, their offense again was clicking enough to make history. A week after gaining 508 total yards of offense in their rout of Denver a week ago, Oakland gained 545 yards of total offense to become the first Raiders team to ever post back to back 500+ yard performances.
Despite a second offensive explosion, Tom Cable wasn’t completely happy with his offense. “In terms of the game, we were very sloppy offensively in the first half, never got in sync, never got in rhythm,” said the head coach during his post-game press conference. “But we did a nice job adjusting at halftime and getting settled down there. The coaches did a good job with that and the players were able to execute.”
It took three possessions before the Raiders offense finally converted a first down. After Jason Campbell connected with Jacoby Ford for a 13-yard play, Darrius Heyward-Bey took an end around 30 yards to get to the Seattle 12 yard line. The Raiders would get to the eight before calling on Sebastian Janikowski for the 31-yard field goal to put the Raiders on top 3-0.
Just after the start of the second quarter, Campbell led the Raiders on a 12-play, 87 yard, touchdown scoring drive that was capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass to fullback Marcel Reece. With the Raiders on the Seattle 30 on fourth and one, Cable chose to gamble by going for it. Reece wheeled around to the left flat, covered well, and Campbell threaded the completion through two defenders. Reece made the catch and rumbled to the end zone untouched. The first half would end with the Raiders up 10-0.
The Raiders offense was more successful in the third quarter, but points were hard to come by. On their first possession of the second half, the Raiders marched from their own six to the Seattle 18, before calling on Janikowski for a 36 yard field goal to extend the lead to 13-0. Janikowski, who kicked four field goals on the day, missed a 45 yard try at the conclusion of the Raiders’ next possession.
At the end of the third quarter, the Raiders were in the process of driving from their own 14 to the Seattle four yard line. The drive nearly stalled on their 15, but thanks to a pass intended for Heyward-Bey bouncing off of his knee, then off the hands of rookie receiver Ford, and into the hands of Michael Bush, third and nine from their own 15 turned into first and 10 from the Seattle 30. The crazy pass, which was thrown to the right flat, deflected to the middle of the field, and caught by Bush, gave the running back an open field in which to sprint towards the end zone, but he was caught from behind by two Seattle defenders. The drive would eventually stall at the Seahawks’ four yard line and give Janikowski some redemption with a 22 yard field goal with 14:56 left in the game.
The Raiders’ next possession gave Heyward-Bey an opportunity for redemption…and he made the most of it. The drive, which began on Oakland’s 31, lasted just one play, and put the game out of reach. Campbell dropped back and lofted a ball on the left sidelines to Heyward-Bey, who turned his back to the end zone to catch it, complete the 360 spin, and turn on the afterburners for a 69 yard touchdown — making the score 23-0 with 13:36 left in the game. Heyward-Bey finished the game with a game-high five receptions for 105 yards and the score.
Heyward-Bey’s touchdown grab came on the heels of another odd bounce of the ball. A play before, Seattle was near midfield at their own 43 on first and 10. Hasselbeck through a deep pass along the right sideline to a diving Deon Butler. Butler extended, made the catch, but when he hit the ground the ball bounced straight up off of his arm. Tyvon Branch, who was on the coverage, had the ball pop right into his hands at the Raiders’ 16, then returned it to the 31 for 15 yards.
Seattle finally scored with a field goal at the 8:57 mark, then attempted an onside kick that Raiders’ backup safety Stevie Brown returned for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the rookie, his first career touchdown was called back due to an officiating mistake which blew the play dead after Brown’s recovery. The recovery led to a 49 yard field goal by Janikowski and a 26-3 lead by the Raiders.
Less than two minutes later, the Raiders would again drive down the field for a touchdown. The final scoring drive lasted six plays and went 66 yards before concluding with a four-yard Bush touchdown run with 1:56 left in the game.
Four Raiders’ players accounted for more than 100 yards of offense, led by Darren McFadden’s 135 yards (111 rushing, 24 receiving) of total offense. Bush had 106 yards (56 rushing, 55 receiving), Heyward-Bey had 135 yards (30 rushing, 105 receiving), and Reece had 122 yards (32 rushing, 90 receiving).
- Nnamdi Asomugha had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Cable said that the X-Ray’s are negative and that the injury was a sprain, but didn’t have any information on how long it might keep the Pro Bowl corner out of action.
- When Seattle kicked their field goal in the fourth quarter, it squashed any hope that the Raiders would have their first shutout of an opponent since 12/28/02 — when they beat Kansas City in Oakland 24-0. The last time the Raiders shut out Seattle was in the Kingdome on 10/18/92, when they beat the Tom Flores led Seahawks 19-0.
- The Raiders have outscored their opponent 92-17 in the last eight quarters and 101-34 in the last 12.
- With the victory, the Raiders improved their franchise record on Halloween to 2-4-1. The previous Halloween games are below:
10/31/65 – Loss at KC 14-7
10/31/71 – Tie vs KC 20-20
10/31/76 – Win vs DEN 19-6
10/31/93 – Loss vs SD 30-23
10/31/99 – Loss vs MIA 16-9
10/31/04 – Loss at SD 42-14