By John Boyle
The Seahawks beat the Raiders… wait, hold on, looking up the score… 21-3 on Thursday night to wrap up their preseason with a 4-0 record. Now winning preseason games is better than losing them, but it’s also pretty darn insignificant. In 2009, the Seahawks were 4-0 under Jim Mora, then went on to a 5-11 season that got Mora fired. So yeah, let’s hold off at least a little while on those Super Bowl plans.
But just because the results didn’t matter much on Thursday—as the Seattle Times’ Danny O’Neil put it, this is the most meaningless of the meaningless football games—there were a few significant things to take out of the game.
If nothing else, dominating the preseason is a pretty good sign for a team’s depth.
“The depth on this team, it showed up,” Carroll said. “You could see it in the Denver game and again last week and this week. We can match up really well with other people’s backups.”
What might have stood out the most is the play of Bruce Irvin, Seattle’s first-round pick who has been excellent in practice, but had done very little in his first preseason games. In his introductory press conference after the draft, the defensive end said he enjoyed eating quarterbacks, adding, “They’re delicious, and they’re healthy for you too.” But through three games, Irving had not yet eaten much of anything, recording not only no sacks, but no tackles. Well that changed Thursday, when Irvin forced a fumble on special teams, had 1.5 sacks, and hit the quarterback three times.
“It feels good to finally have a little success, but it don’t count,” Irvin said. “The stat sheet starts over next week. That’s why I wasn’t really concerned when people were worried. It doesn’t count.
He also added, “It felt like I had a newborn baby, that’s how I felt. It felt good, man.”
What also was apparent Sunday was that the Seahawks are in a much better position at quarterback than they were a year ago. Yes, it is fair to wonder if Carroll made the right choice picking rookie Russel Wilson over Matt Flynn, but what was clear after watching Flynn complete 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown is that the combination of Wilson and Flynn represents a very significant upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst.
“He was solid,” Carroll said of his backup quarterback. “I thought he was solid as a rock. He hit almost everything… We have a terrific quarterback position right now. I’m really happy about it.”
The Seahawks were also fortunate to get out of their final preseason game without any apparent serious injuries. Golden Tate did twist his knee on a punt return, but Carroll said, “He’s stable, it’s not bad. We need to see how he bounces back tonight.”
Fullback/running back Vai Taua, who had a very good game, left early with a knee injury that Carroll called a PCL strain. That’s not necessarily a serious injury, but it’s bad news for a player who was fighting an uphill battle to make the team anyway.
Leon Washington was held out of the game after getting poked in the eye in Tuesday’s practice, and Red Bryant apparently chipped a tooth celebrating a safety by Seattle’s defense long after he had come out of the game.