By John Boyle Herald Writer
OAKLAND — A defense that has won games for Seattle with turnovers and sacks this season ended up on the wrong end of big plays in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders.
And while it would hardly be fair to blame the defense for the 33-3 loss given the struggles of the offense, it was not the kind of day the Seahawks have come to expect from a defense that entered the game ranked fifth in the league in scoring defense.
On their way to 545 yards of offense — the most by a Seahawks opponent since 2002 — the Raiders broke off plays of 69, 55, 51, and 49 yards, and had eight plays of 30 or more yards. Some were fluky, like Michael Bush’s 55-yard catch that deflected off two of his teammates, but bad bounces or not, it was a rough day for Seattle’s D. That yardage total exceeded the combined total of the Seahawks’ last two opponents.
“You’ve got to eliminate the big play if you want to win in this game,” Seattle safety Lawyer Milloy said. “We knew their offense is built around speed, speed and more speed. I though we were ready for it, and even when they hit some early, I thought we answered the call, especially with our red zone defense. We just didn’t get it done as a team. Period. Point blank.”
Oakland came into the game ranked third in the league in rushing offense, while the Seahawks had the league’s No. 2 run defense, and in a battle of strengths, the Raiders came out on top. Led by 111 yards from Darren McFadden, the Raiders rushed for 239 yards, by far the most the Seahawks have allowed this year.
The Raiders were hardly one-dimensional, however. Jason Campbell passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns, including 105 yards by second-year wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who scored on a 69-yard pass.
“We just can’t allow plays like that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “They popped things. … There were some huge plays that happened that don’t really tell the story of how we played up front.”
Pitts makes debut
Chester Pitts has been trying all season to get back from microfracture knee surgery, and the offensive lineman was finally able to make his Seahawks debut Sunday. Pitts came into the game at left guard in the first quarter for Ben Hamilton, who left with a concussion. Pitts also played briefly at left tackle when Tyler Polumbus suffered a leg injury, but Polumbus was able to return to the game.
Big day for a former Husky
Raiders fullback Marcel Reece had by far the most productive day of his career, including a 30-yard touchdown on a fourth-down pass. Reece, who played receiver at the University of Washington, caught three passes for 90 yards, and added 32 rushing yards on a pair of carries.
“I love making a play,” Reece said. “I don’t like the ball hitting the ground. That’s one thing I kind of pride myself on is just making plays, so it feels good to finally be able to do it.”
Washington takes on a new role
Leon Washington has already established himself as one of the game’s best kick returners, and on Sunday he proved dangerous on punt returns as well. Returning punts for the first time as a Seahawk, Washington had 81 yards on three returns, including a 43-yarder on his first return.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog