The Seattle Seahawks improved to a five and three record on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, after beating back a late-game surge by the Oakland Raiders to win 30-24.
The team, finally back at home after a two-game East Coast road trip, dominated the first two quarters of play. Star running back Marshawn Lynch rumbled into the end-zone not once but twice, marking what fans hope is the return of Beast Mode. An interception by Hawks’ linebacker Bruce Irvin—that he tipped to himself—led to a 35-yard return for another score. Seattle’s stalwart kicker Steven Hauschka added three of his own on a 34-yard field goal early in the second.
The powerhouse performance handed the Hawks a 24-3 lead at halftime, hardly a surprise given Oakland’s zero and seven record at the start of the game. Seattle appeared to be so thoroughly shutting down the Raiders that it was hard not to feel at least a little bit sorry for Oakland, a team whose average record since 2003 has been a mere four and twelve.
Perhaps the Hawks decided to take pity on the lowly Raiders and dial back their game a bit, which might explain how Seattle managed to slowly squander away a 21-point lead in the second half and nearly blow it (again).
View the full slide-show of Sunday’s game here.
It started early in the third, as a Seattle punt on fourth down was improbably blocked and recovered in the endzone by Oakland’s Brice Butler to shrink the gap 24-10.
Raider’s quarterback Derek Carr bounced back from his underwhelming first-half performance, trading his two interceptions for a pair of touchdowns, one each in the third and fourth quarters. The second, a one-yard pass to Oakland receiver Miychal Rivera with 1:52 left in the game, pulled the Raiders to within six points.
An Oakland onside kick nearly wound up in Raider’s hands after being muffed by Seattle’s Cooper Helfet, though teammate Jermaine Kearse fell on the loose ball to stop the Raider surge. Seattle ran out the remainder of the clock for the win, as Oakland advanced to its 14th straight loss.
A look at the stats confirms what any viewer of the game could plainly see: This was hardly a resounding win for Seattle. Hawk’s starting quarterback Russell Wilson had one of his worst performances of the season. He completed only 17 of 35 for 179 total yards, along with a 39% third-down conversion rate. The Hawks’ defense gave up 21 points in the second half, though it should be noted that the squad was missing several of its usual starters due to injuries.
Fortunately Lynch’s performance offset Wilson’s down day. The running back demonstrated his versatility on the ground and in the air, leading the team in both pass receiving (76-yards) and rushing (67-yards) for the game. His total yardage, 143, was over one third of the team total. It would have been even more had penalties not resulted in 74-yards worth of turf being recalled.
The win, however unimpressive, nevertheless gives the team a much needed boost as it heads into a challenging back half of the season. The team, currently in second place in the NFC West, faces both the first-place Cardinals and third-place 49ers twice each over the next two months.