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Austin Davis’ late TD pass rallies Seahawks past Raiders 17-13

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 31, 2017, 10:59 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks’ Cyril Grayson Jr. runs in front of Oakland Raiders defensive back Marcus McWilson during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks’ Cyril Grayson Jr. runs in front of Oakland Raiders defensive back Marcus McWilson during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Seahawks’ exhibition season began with Trevone Boykin appearing to have just about locked up the backup quarterback position.

It ended with the battle between Boykin and Austin Davis looking as muddled as ever, and the decision of which to keep looms as the Seahawks will have to decide by the time rosters have to be cut to 53 on Saturday at 1 p.m.

That the backup quarterback spot was the main source of conversation said all you needed to know about the fourth and final exhibition game between the Raiders and Seahawks Thursday.

Thanks to a new rule allowing teams to still have their full complement of 90 players for the fourth game, the Seahawks and Raiders played almost none of their starters.

Seattle’s only certain starters who played were on the offensive line with the Seahawks wanting to give that group one more chance to develop some continuity heading into the regular season (though left guard Luke Joeckel sat out after having Regenokine treatment this week). The starting line played three series.

Otherwise, it was nothing but backups and deep reserves, which maybe made it fitting that the game featured 14 penalties in the first three quarters, at which point it was tied 10-10. The Seahawks eventually won, 17-13.

Davis’ 16-yard pass to Kenny Lawler with 1:10 remaining was the winning score.

Boykin led Seattle to 10 points on six first-half possessions, including an 86-yard touchdown drive.

But he also 13 of 21 for 166 yards with one TD for a 62.9 passer rating in playing the entire first half. Those are the numbers he finished with.

After two three-and-outs on to begin the game, Boykin got the Seahawks on track, going 3 of 4 for 45 yards to lead Seattle’s only touchdown drive of the first half.

The scoring pass was a little fluky as Oakland cornerback Dexter McDonald fell down, leaving Rodney Smith wide open for a 34-yard catch and run.

But it went downhill from there as Boykin threw interceptions on the next two drives, each passes that were not close to the intended receiver. On the first he overthrew Lawler, with former WSU Cougar Shalom Luani picking it off.

On the next, he underthrew Lawler near the end zone, allowing Breon Borders to intercept it at the 6.

Boykin almost threw a third interception on the next series when he underthrew Smith in the end zone, with McDonald simply dropping the pass.

Davis didn’t do much better early on completing just 3 of 8 passes for 52 yards in the third quarter with two series ending in a punt and a missed 49-yard field goal. Davis finished 10 of 16 for 123 yards.

A few other players also stood out in both good ways and bad:

Cornerback Pierre Desir got the start at left cornerback with Richard Sherman taking the night off, the latest indication that Desir is making a strong bid for a roster spot. Desir started alongside Neiko Thorpe, with whom he may be battling for a final spot. Seattle’s logjam at cornerback took an unfortunate hit when DeAndre Elliott suffered an apparently serious ankle injury in the second quarter — he was taken off the field on a cart after his ankle was put in an air cast.

Defensive end Marcus Smith played throughout the first half and showed a consistent pass rush and also came from the other side of the field to make a tackle on a John Crockett run for just 1-yard in the first quarter. But he later had a personal foul on a third-and-one play that keyed Oakland’s touchdown drive.

Receiver Kasen Williams, regarded as close to a sure thing for a roster spot after a strong preseason, may have solidified his spot with catches of 21 and 36 yards.

Receiver Amara Darboh, who has been regarded as close to a lock due to his status as a third-round pick, made his first catches of the exhibition — he had two for 17 yards through the first three quarters. Darboh had played just 12 snaps in the first three games due largely to injury.

Up next

Seahawks: Open the season at Green Bay on Sept. 10.

Raiders: Begin the season at Tennessee on Sept. 10.

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