SEATTLE - Just days after being named the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback, rookie Russell Wilson was the last guy out of the tunnel — greeted by the loudest cheers during the pregame pomp and circumstance.
Even though he's now the starter nothing felt different to Wilson.
Maybe that's because for the last 50 games that have counted, Wilson has known he's the starting quarterback. It's a streak that will continue when the Seahawks begin the regular season next week.
"I wouldn't say I had a different feeling. ... The feel of the game, no, not any different. Just the reps were different," Wilson said.
Wilson played just one quarter in his final tuneup before the regular season, so high-priced backup Matt Flynn led Seattle on three scoring drives. The Seahawks (4-0) closed out the second perfect preseason in franchise history with a 21-3 win over the Oakland Raiders (1-3) on Thursday night.
Wilson saw limited action just days after winning the quarterback competition and being chosen the regular-season starter. He is one of five rookies expected to start for NFL teams when the season begins next week.
Flynn played most of the second and third quarters and led Seattle to two touchdowns. That was more than the Seahawks needed thanks to a stingy defence that continued to impress.
"We have a very good quarterback situation right now," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "I'm very happy about it."
Wilson played the first quarter and probably would have added yet another touchdown to his preseason total. But Vai Taua dropped a pass in the flat inside the 5 with a clear path to the end zone. Wilson finished 5 of 11 for 73 yards, his least productive appearance of the exhibition season.
Flynn, who sat out last week's game at Kansas City with a sore elbow, threw a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Cooper Helfet in the third quarter, and he finished 11 of 13 for 102 yards and a quarterback rating of 125.0.
"I thought he was solid as a rock. He hit almost everything. He handled all of the situations, all of the calls. He was comfortable," Carroll said. "He hasn't had a chance to throw a lot coming back. I thought he was very much in control."
What Seattle's quarterback duo did was ultimately moot compared to a defence that continued to impress. Seattle's starting defence allowed just 17 points during the preseason. It wasn't just the starting defence that was dominant for Seattle. The reserves were pretty good too, as the Raiders were held to 101 yards total offence and five first downs. Seattle first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin had 1 1-2 sacks and a forced fumble, and fellow rookie Jaye Howard tackled running back Mike Goodson in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.
"It felt like I had a new born baby," Irvin said of his first sack. "I felt good. I finally got a chance to break the ice and get going there."
Eddy Carmona's 31-yard field goal with 15 seconds left kept the Raiders from being shut out for the second time this preseason. Oakland opens the regular season on Sept. 10 hosting San Diego.
"We have all started thinking about the San Diego Chargers," Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer said. "I have already started watching film on them. That was our main objective, you want to get a win but to get out of this game healthy and be ready to roll for Week 1."
The last time Seattle went undefeated in the preseason was 2009. That season ended with the Seahawks going 5-11, losing their last four games, and then coach Jim Mora got unceremoniously fired.
With Wilson seeing limited time, it was Flynn's turn to get the bulk of the work and make up for missing last week's game at Kansas City with a sore elbow. Flynn led Seattle on two second-quarter scoring drives, once taking advantage of an Oakland turnover and on the other leading Seattle 78 yards — mostly on the legs of Taua and Kregg Lumpkin. The 11-play drive was capped by Taua plowing in from the 2 for a 13-0 halftime lead.
Taua suffered a knee strain in the second half and Seattle was so limited with running backs that wide receiver Jermaine Kearse ended up having to carry the ball three times for 9 yards. Taua wasn't the only injury worry for Seattle. Receiver Golden Tate danced backward on a punt return and was tackled awkwardly. He was limping on the sideline and shaking his right leg while being looked at by team physicians.
Running back Leon Washington did not play after getting poked in the eye during practice this week.
Palmer saw six snaps and handed off all of them, including two third-down running plays. Darren McFadden never saw the field.
With Palmer getting a short stint, Matt Leinart played the remainder of the first half and was unimpressive. Leinart was 3 of 11 for 14 yards with an interception and a passer rating of 1.7. Terrelle Pryor played the entire second half for Oakland and was 6 of 9 for 55 yards, but was sacked twice and was forced to scramble out of trouble plenty of other times.
"We were not good enough. We got overmatched, upfront on both sides of the ball," Oakland coach Dennis Allen said. "I think defensively we got worn down. But effort wasn't to our standard upfront."
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