You can't blame Pete Carroll for his grin after the Seahawks' 31-21 win over the Oakland Raiders to finish up the preseason.
Not only was he likely pleased with the final score, he may be ecstatic with the manner in which the club won this game - starting with a 63-yard touchdown toss from Russell Wilson to star rookie Tyler Lockett on Seattle's second play from scrimmage.
Not to be outdone, Seattle's "other" splashy rookie, defensive lineman Frank Clark, continued his dominating performance, appearing unblockable at times and forcing a fumble on a strip sack in the end zone that was recovered by Jordan Hill for Seattle's second touchdown, giving the Seahawks a 17-0 second quarter lead.
How much did Seattle dominate this contest? The Seahawks ran for 224 yards in this game. The Raiders ran for 27.
All of that said, the real reason why Carroll might be smiling though is the competitiveness shown by the fringe players battling for the final spots on this roster.
From the "wow" athleticism and positional versatility demonstrated by B.J. Daniels, the jump-cuts, burst and power from Thomas Rawls or former safety-turned-linebacker Eric Pinkins showing power and pass rush moves at the point of attack, many of the so-called "bubble" players popped Thursday night.
Other strong performances were put forth by former University of Washington wide receivers Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams, safety Ronald Martin and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill, each of whom were undrafted free agents. Demarcus Dobbs and Jesse Williams also made nice plays on the defensive line, a well. Christine Michael enjoyed arguably his most impressive game of his young career, as well.
It is, of course, important to note that rather than risk injuries to their starters, the Raiders elected to play mostly backups on both sides of the ball from the get-go. Seattle, too, held out its starting defense, as well as Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse on offense. Wilson, left tackle Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy were only in for the two-play first series score.
The only blemish on Seattle's night were injuries suffered by projected starting strong safety Dion Bailey and bubble cornerback Mohammed Seisay.
Bailey was seen with a heavily wrapped hand on the sideline but did return to play on special teams later in the game. Seisay appeared to injure his arm in the third quarter and later was in obvious discomfort lying in the end zone after getting pinned on a last-minute Raiders touchdown. Seisay, who missed the past two preseason games due to a groin strain, was twice escorted to the sideline by Seahawks trainer Elias Khalfayan.
Following the game, Carroll said that Seisay suffered a dislocated shoulder.