The Seahawks suited up 59 players Thursday, the Raiders 46 with neither team playing anyone who is established as a starter.
Welcome to the fourth — and thankfully final — game of the NFL preseason, in which it’s only the games within the game that matter.
Here are a few thoughts on what stood out in Seattle’s 17-15 win over the Raiders, which left the Seahawks with a 3-1 record to end the preseason (who knows what that means — Seattle went 0-4 last year before going 10-6 in the regular season).
Geno sews up backup QB job
The backup job was maybe briefly in doubt following the preseason opener when Paxton Lynch played well and Geno Smith then had surgery on his left knee to remove a cyst.
But Smith returned for the final two games and played well, capped off by completing four of seven passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the first half Thursday night.
He left late in the second quarter with a left knee injury. But it didn’t appear serious as Smith did some dropbacks on the sideline and then had his helmet back in as the first half ended.
He then stood on the sidelines in the second half with his left knee wrapped, the assumption being he wouldn’t have been standing on the sidelines if the injury were a big deal.
Smith ended the preseason 18-34 passing for 282 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, a rating of 100.37.
That, coupled with his 31 career starts, looks like enough to give him the nod.
Prosise runs away with a job?
After C.J. Prosise’s comeback outing last week against the Chargers, coach Pete Carroll said he wanted to see him do it again.
Prosise did as asked Thursday with 42 yards in the first half, including a nifty 30-yarder in which he bounced off a defender and sped down the sideline.
He came out shortly after, having gained 84 yards on 10 carries in the last two games, with one big point having been made.
BBK is everywhere
What didn’t former Husky Ben Burr-Kirven do to make the Seahawks notice him?
He had five tackles by halftime (and 12 by the end of the game), including a nine-yard sack on a fourth-and-goal play at the 1 when he sniffed out a rollout and got to Mike Glennon before he could get rid of the ball.
He also tipped a pass and came hard on another blitz in which he forced a hurried throw. Burr-Kirven was called for a penalty for landing squarely on the quarterback on the play. But Carroll will undoubtedly like the want-to.
While Burr-Kirven played substantially, Shaquem Griffin — another young player trying to make the roster as a backup linebacker and special teamer — did not play at all on defense, though he was on special teams, making an early tackle on a punt.
Griffin has battled a knee injury and that may have been the issue as he watched the end of the game standing on the sideline without his helmet.
Mingo making things murky?
Veteran rush end Barkevious Mingo got substantial action early and was hardly impressive, getting knocked down on an early play by former Seahawk Luke Willson and then losing contain on a 17-yard run. He appears squarely on the bubble, especially thanks to his $3.4 million base salary the team can save releasing him.
Blair’s back flares up
The Seahawks saw very little of another player they hoped to see a lot of — rookie safety Marquise Blair. Blair started the game but didn’t play after the first series after his bruised back that held him out last week flared up again.
That had Seattle going with Lano Hill and either Ugo Amadi or Shalom Luani as the backup safeties for most of the rest of the game — Tedric Thompson joined Bradley McDougald among those who sat out, indicating they will be the starting safety duo when the regular season begins.
Blair had some big moments in the preseason opened but the injury limited him since and Seattle could have something of a decision to make if it thinks the injury could linger.
Shead plays a ton at cornerback
One player who could help as a backup safety is DeShawn Shead. Shead played a lot of safety in the first two preseason games.
But Thursday he played mostly at right cornerback — he moved back to safety in the fourth quarter.
Shead was a cornerback when his previous stint with the Seahawks ended but the initial plan when he returned this year was that he would help out at safety.
Is Seattle just trying to get him work at corner to test his versatility? Or is Seattle unhappy enough with some of its backup cornerback play that Shead could be a factor there as well?
Young receivers continue to be a mixed bag
Especially once Smith left the game, Seattle’s passing game as a struggle — a backup offensive line playing some deep reserves due to injuries didn’t help.
That made it hard for many of the team’s young receivers to stand out much — Seattle had just five completions through three quarters.
Neither of draft picks Gary Jennings or John Ursua had a target through three quarters — leaving Jennings to that point with just one catch for 12 yards for the preseason.
Jennings’ status as a fourth-round pick has led to the idea he’d be a tough player to cut. But Seattle had to be hoping for more production in the preseason.
Meanwhile, Jazz Ferguson turned in one more big play — a 41-yarder from Smith that keyed a touchdown drive.
Ferguson had been quiet since the opener against Denver. But he has shown a knack for the big play — entering the fourth quarter he was the team’s leading receiver in the preseason with seven receptions for 119 yards, 17 yards per catch.
Metcalf does some running
Maybe as interesting as much of what happened in the game was the sight of DK Metcalf running some hard sprints on the field about two hours prior to kickoff — he also stopped off in the end zone to catch a few passes from Wilson.
Carroll said on Wednesday to “wait and see’’ if Metcalf will be available for the regular season opener on Sept. 8 against the Bengals after having minor knee surgery a week ago Tuesday.
But he also noted with optimism that Metcalf was set to run after practice on Wednesday.
That session obviously went well enough that Metcalf was able to again run on the turf at CenturyLink Field Thursday.
At the least, it seems to show that Metcalf may indeed be on his way to a quick recovery, as Carroll has said all along he thought would be the case.