Another close call. Another week where, no matter the improvement, the Oakland Raiders showed why they still remained winless.
"I think it's coming. This team is far better than we were, I'll tell you that," veteran safety Charles Woodson said. "Our record says what we are, but we are a far better team than what we were previously."
Marshawn Lynch scored on a pair of first-half touchdown runs, Bruce Irvin intercepted Derek Carr's pass and returned in 35 yards for another score and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Raiders 30-24 on Sunday.
The loss was expected. There was a reason the Raiders were more than two-touchdown underdogs going on the road to face the defending Super Bowl champions. But Oakland made the second half uncomfortable for Seattle and nearly got the bounce it needed to have one more chance at the victory in the final minutes.
"This thing is starting to turn," interim Oakland coach Tony Sparano said. "We're playing better and better here as we go on. We've just got to get all phases to play better so that we can get the feeling of what it's like to be in their locker room right now."
Down 24-3 at halftime, the Raiders twice pulled within one score. Oakland got a spark from its special teams when Denico Autry blocked Jon Ryan's punt on the first possession of the second half and Brice Butler recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. It was the first punt block for a touchdown against Seattle since 2003 and the second for Oakland in the past two seasons.
After another brief possession by the Seahawks, T.J. Carrie returned Ryan's punt 27 yards to the Seattle 30. Carr hit Darren McFadden for 23 yards and on fourth-and-goal at the 1, Rivera hauled in a pass at the back of the end zone to cut Seattle's lead to 24-17.
Then down 30-17 in the fourth quarter, Carr led one more scoring drive hitting Rivera again on a 1-yard TD with 1:52 left to pull within six. Sebastian Janikowski's onside kick was misplayed by Seattle's Cooper Helfet, but Jermaine Kearse fell on the loose ball and Seattle ran out the clock to hand the Raiders (0-8) their 14th straight loss dating to last season.
"I know you all would like it easier and smoother and cleaner and all that, but it's a battle. Suck it up," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Oakland could not overcome its first-half mistakes that included two interceptions by Carr. Irvin tipped Carr's pass intended for James Jones, located the ball in the air then beat Carr to the pylon for his first career touchdown. Later in the first half, Richard Sherman got his first interception of the season, getting better position than Andre Holmes on a back-shoulder pass and pulling in the pick with his left hand. T.J. Carrie also fumbled a kickoff that Hauschka recovered.
"In the first half, I was doing too much," Carr said. "In the second half, I came out and was like, 'You know what, I've just got to do my job and trust everyone else will do there's and all these things.' You saw how we battled in the second half."
Carr was 24 of 41 for 194 yards passing, but the Raiders had no run game. Already the worst in the NFL, Oakland finished with 37 yards rushing.
Lynch finished with 67 yards rushing and another 76 receiving, but the day could have been far more productive for Seattle's bulldozing back. Lynch had gains of 43, 20 and 11 yards on either runs or passes called back by penalties. He scored on a 3-yard run on Seattle's opening drive, carrying Oakland defenders and teammates into the end zone. His 5-yard run at the end of the first half gave the Seahawks a 21-point lead that seemed plenty comfortable at the time.
Not all was perfect for Seattle. Russell Wilson struggled through one of his worst passing games and the Seahawks failed to capitalize on numerous chances to rout the winless Raiders. Wilson was 17 of 35 passing for 179 yards with stretches of inconsistency. Seattle was also limited by injuries including three starters on the offensive line out at one point of the second half.
"Whatever I was trying to do, it just wasn't working," Wilson said. "But, the thing is, we won."
NOTES: Janikowski hit from 48 yards in the first quarter, but missed a 51-yarder on the final play of the first half. ... It was the second time this season Oakland has been held to less than 50 yards rushing as a team. Raiders were held to 25 yards in Week 1 by the Jets. ... Seattle paid tribute to the recent school shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School with a moment of silence before the game and "MP" decals on the Seahawks helmets. DE Greg Scruggs also ran out of the tunnel during pregame intros carrying an "MP" flag.
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