The Seattle Seahawks had a 24-3 lead over winless Oakland at halftime. The injury-ravaged defending Super Bowl champions ended up barely holding on.
"This week, came out, played three quarters and then the fourth quarter we took our foot off the pedal or whatnot," Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril said. "We just have to be consistent and be able to put a full game together."
Seattle escaped with a 30-24 victory Sunday, leaning heavily on Marshawn Lynch and a stingy defense that gave rookie quarterback Derek Carr headaches. Russell Wilson struggled through one of his worst passing games, going 17 of 35 for 179 yards.
The Seahawks (5-3) won't look back on this victory with any reverence, other than the ability to grind out their second straight win.
Lynch had two first-half touchdown runs and his day would have been much bigger if not for penalties calling back some significant gains. Lynch finished with 143 total yards rushing and receiving and had 26 touches.
"It's a team game. We played as a team," Lynch said.
Oakland (0-8) lost its 14th straight game dating to last season. The Raiders have been competitive, but continue to make critical mistakes they can't overcome. This time it was three first-half turnovers, including Carr's two interceptions.
"I'm just trying to do too much," Carr said. "I just needed to settle down. I came in at the half and said 'Man, I just need to play football. I'm here for a reason and I just need to settle down and do my job.'"
Here are other things learned from Seattle's victory:
IRVIN'S IMPACT: The past two weeks has shown the potential of Bruce Irvin and why the Seahawks can often live with some of his mistakes.
Last week against Carolina, Irvin had two key sacks on Carolina's final possession that displayed his pure pass rush ability. Sunday his pure athleticism was on display. Irvin's interception showed everything Carroll has admired about Irvin since he was recruiting him at Southern California. Irvin dropped into coverage and jumped to deflect Carr's pass into the air. He came down and located the ball, grabbing the interception, then used his speed to beat Carr to the pylon for the first touchdown of his career.
"Tried to be opportunistic and try to make a play when I can. I was just fortunate enough that it bounced straight up and came back down," Irvin said.
THIRD PHASE: Oakland was able to get back in it in the second half because of its special teams. Denico Autry blocked Jon Ryan's punt on the first possession and Brice Butler recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. It was the first blocked punt for a touchdown against Seattle since 2003 and the second for Oakland in the past two seasons.
T.J. Carrie made up for a first-half kickoff return fumble with a 27-yard punt return to set up Carr's first touchdown toss to Rivera late in the third quarter.
"We needed something to be able to turn the tide a little bit," coach Tony Sparano said.
LINE DANCE: Seattle's injuries continued to pile up and led to more shuffling especially on the offensive line. Patrick Lewis started at center because of injuries to Max Unger and Stephen Schilling. Russell Okung was inactive, leaving Alvin Bailey to make his first start at left tackle. Left guard James Carpenter went down in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Garry Gilliam — a tackle. The shuffling up front certainly didn't help Seattle's struggling pass game although Carroll didn't want to use that as an excuse for Wilson.
"He wasn't concerned about that going in and didn't feel it during the game either," Carroll said.
SHERM'S TURN: Seattle's Richard Sherman was patiently waiting for a ball to come his direction that he could make a play on and finally get his first interception of the season.
Carr was willing to oblige, attempting a back-shoulder throw for Andre Holmes. Sherman had better position and was able to pull the ball in with his left hand. It was his first interception since Week 16 of last season and was welcomed after going through games earlier this season where he wasn't even thrown at.
"Just waiting. There hasn't been a year yet I haven't got one," Sherman said. "I knew eventually; if you're out there long enough and you're in position and you're playing the game the way you are supposed to, the football Gods will get what you need."
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