Matt Hasselbeck barely plays as Seahawks complete 4-0 exhibition season
Don't get too excited. Detroit was undefeated in exhibition games last year and never did manage to win a game in the regular season. Records don't mean much this time of year, readiness does and Seattle made its final preparations Thursday night.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Matt Hasselbeck was on the field for five plays and didn't throw a pass before trading his helmet for a cap and taking a seat on the bench.
The Seahawks' starting defense didn't even make it that far into Thursday's game, getting the whole night off with the exception of rookie starter Aaron Curry.
Seattle beat Oakland 31-21 at Qwest Field after leading by as many as 24, but the reality is the Seahawks rolled past the Raiders in cruise control. That concluded the Seahawks' warm-up lap around the AFC West, which they completed 4-0. Then again, Detroit was undefeated in exhibition games last year and never did manage to win in the regular season.
Running back Edgerrin James' Seahawks debut didn't last much longer than a handshake. He carried twice on the first two plays, gained 11 yards and called it a night. Seattle's first-string offense played only that first series.
"I wanted to get Edgerrin a couple carries," coach Jim Mora said, "and I didn't want Edgerrin in there with anyone but the first group."
The Seahawks were undefeated in exhibition games for the first time in franchise history, but that didn't answer the real questions about the upcoming season. In fact, it only made the questions more difficult as Seattle must finalize its 53-man roster on Saturday.
"A lot of men in that room are making our job awfully tough because of the way they performed in the preseason," Mora said. "And that's a good thing."
Thursday's game was a proving ground for players seeking to make a name or earn a regular-season paycheck.
This was the final audition for defensive lineman Michael Bennett to show he can hold his own, which he did with a couple quarterback knockdowns, a fumble recovery and a batted pass. Defensive end Nick Reed also had a sack, recovered a fumble and perhaps more importantly was solid against the run.
It was also a last chance for receiver Jordan Kent, who caught a third-down pass in the third quarter but suffered a left ankle injury and did not return. He was using crutches after the game.
Ben Obomanu may have grabbed hold of a job with his 38-yard touchdown reception from Mike Teel in the second quarter. He caught two passes for 58 yards and also had a special-teams tackle and fielded punts.
Logan Payne caught a 44-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter after the Raiders failed to touch him down. Teel replaced Hasselbeck. Seneca Wallace did not play. Teel, a rookie fifth-round pick, completed 11 of 19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie receiver Deon Butler scored Seattle's first touchdown, demonstrating he's ready to contribute. His first catch showed toughness, the 5-foot-10 Butler running over the middle and holding onto the ball for a 23-yard gain. Butler's second reception showed his playmaking ability outside. He caught a ball going toward the sideline and then cut it up inside for a 22-yard TD.
Former UW back Louis Rankin scored on a 45-yard TD run for Oakland in which it didn't appear he was touched.
• Olindo Mare may have kicked his way to a second season in Seattle. He made the one field goal he attempted in the first half, and three of his four kickoffs went deep into the end zone for touchbacks. Brandon Coutu did not have a touchback in his three kickoffs in the third quarter.
• Rookie Max Unger will start at right guard for Seattle when the season begins. Justin Griffith started at fullback with Seattle's first-unit offense, and he may have supplanted Owen Schmitt as the starter.
• S Courtney Greene suffered a knee injury and didn't return. T Andre Ramsey was carted off the field after suffering a third-quarter injury.
• Seattle placed lineman Cory Withrow on injured reserve and signed cornerback Nate Ness, a defensive back who went to college at Arizona.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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