Takeaways finally come for Seahawks in win over Raiders
Takeaways were among Seattle’s biggest deficiencies over the first seven games of the season.
On Sunday, they were the biggest difference in a 30-24 victory over Oakland in which the Seahawks scored 10 points off of three of the turnovers they forced on successive series in the first half, a spate that included a pick-six by Bruce Irvin, an interception from Richard Sherman and a fumble recovery on a kickoff.
The three takeaways were the most in any game for Seattle this season.
“Our guys were all over the football,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The ball was coming out.”
And the Seahawks were coming up with it, something they had largely been unable to do this season. Seattle only had seven takeaways through the first seven games after leading the league last season with 39. Facing a rookie quarterback – in the rain and at CenturyLink Field, no less – might have been just what the Seahawks needed.
Turnovers come in bunches, as the football aphorism goes. On Sunday, they came in a span of 3 minutes
It started with Irvin’s interception, which he returned 35 yards for a touchdown. He had lined up on the line of scrimmage, dropped into coverage and then used every inch of his 6-foot-3 frame to make a leaping one-handed tip, which he caught before outracing Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to the end zone.
“I tipped it, fortunately enough it came back down,” he said. “I tried to be opportunistic and make a play, and I did.”
The Seahawks entered the game with only three interceptions this season. They came away with two of them on consecutive Oakland possessions as Sherman followed Irvin’s interception with one of his own, turning his body just in time to pick off a back-shoulder throw from Carr. It was Sherman’s first interception since Week 16 of last season.
“I just finally got an opportunity,” he said. “I got my head around, I was able to spot the ball and grab it. I tried to make a big play and spark the offense.”
Seattle kicked a field goal four plays later for a 17-3 lead then got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff when Jermaine Kearse forced a fumble and kicker Steven Hauschka recovered it.
Seattle’s defense can point to a number of positives from this game. It held Oakland to only 226 yards of offense, including 37 on the ground. It allowed only two touchdowns, one of which was scored after the Raiders took over with a short field. And it stopped Oakland 10 of 15 times on third down.
But it was the takeaways that stood out most because of how much they’ve been missing.