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OAKLAND –- The Raiders planned on giving quarterback Derek Carr approximately 25 snaps in Thursday’s exhibition finale against the Seattle Seahawks.
The rookie second-round pick took exactly 22.
What he did with them was pretty remarkable. Carr was 11-for-13 for 143 yards and three touchdowns in four series. The Raiders scored a touchdown each time.
And, yeah, we know this was a meaningless preseason game that ended 41-31 at O.co Coliseum. It was as much how Carr performed as it was about what he he did that will promote talk of a quarterback controversy heading toward the regular season opener at the New York Jets. He was accurate. He kept the ball out of harm’s way.
His passes had zip.
Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub also contributed to that discussion with three lackluster preseason efforts and a current bout of elbow soreness that kept him out of Friday’s game.
What happens over the next week is not determined. There will be plenty of discussion about this over the next few days, but we can say that Carr gave this preseason effort real buzz with a performance that certainly excited the fan base.
Carr orchestrated a 12-play, 68 yard drive against many key members of the Seahawks first-team defense. He threw touchdowns on the first play of his next two drives. His night concluded with an 8-play, 61-yard drive and a second touchdown pass to receiver Denarius Moore.
Matt McGloin played well after taking over with roughly 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter, but this game will be remembered for what happened in the first 22 snaps.
Murray makes an impression: Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden were scratched for the last preseason game, leaving Latavius Murray to run with the first and second units.
The second year pro ran pretty darn well. Murray had eight carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. He was particularly effective on the first drive, where he had 26 yards on four rushes and finished things off with a five-yard touchdown.
Murray has proven to be a solid third option to the veteran backs who, along with fullback Marcel Reece, will see most of the regular-season work.
Very special teams: Lost in Carr’s brilliant effort, Murray’s hard running and some solid defense, was a quality showing from the kicking game.
Murray brought Seattle’s first kickoff back 38 yards. Carr led a 68-yard touchdown drive and, on the ensuing kickoff, rookie Keith McGill stripped possession from Bryan Walters and Jack Crawford recovered the fumble.
Carr scored again, the defense forced a three-and-out, and then TJ Carrie returned a punt 46 yards. In what became predictable fashion, Carrie set up yet another Carr TD pass.
Changing of the guard (and tackle)??: Right tackle Menelik Watson played Thursday night, a week after injuring his hip, but he didn’t take his customary place with the first team.
Khalif Barnes moved out from left guard to Watson’s spot, and third-round pick Gabe Jackson started for Barnes.
We’ll know next week whether this switch takes root in the regular season.
Pryor’s shows well: Former Raiders quarterback Terrell Pryor returned to O.co Coliseum with the Seattle Seahawks, and played a ton in the preseason affair.
The man who made nine starts for the 2013 Raiders was more effective as his night wore on, and he had some solid moments.
Overall, he was 11-for-17 for 134 yards, and a touchdown. His best throw came on a 33-yard touchdown strike to Phil Bates. He also had four rushes for 12 yards in a game where he was fighting for a roster spot as the Seahawks’ No. 3 quarterback.
Injury update: The ultimate goal of the final preseason game is to stay healthy, and the Raiders did a decent job of that. No injuries were reported during the game, though a more detailed injury update will be provided after the game.
Sitting it out: The Raiders scratched 18 players prior to the start of Thursday night’s game.
In addition to Schaub, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, running backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, fullback Marcel Reece, cornerbacks Taiwan Jones, Carlos Rogers, Chimid Chekwa and Tarell Brown, safety Charles Woodson, receivers Rod Streater and James Jones, linebackers Nick Roach, Sio Moore and Kaelin Burnett, tight end David Ausberry, defensive end Justin Tuck and defensive tackle Justin Ellis.
It was interesting that Burnett, a player who seemed to be on the bubble last week, didn’t go. That’s a good sign he has a roster spot locked up. He was praised by Allen last week, and has proven a strong special teams player and a decent reserve defender.
What's next: The Raiders will cut their roster to 53 men on Saturday afternoon but won’t formally practice again until Monday, when they start preparations for the regular-season opener in earnest.
The Raiders will practice Monday-Wednesday before traveling to the New York Jets on Thursday, a day earlier than normal to help adjust to the Eastern time zone.