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NFL Preseason Preview - Oakland (1-2) at Seattle (3-0)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The quick rise of Russell Wilson already has the Seattle Seahawks brimming with optimism over the prospects for their upcoming 2012 campaign. The newly anointed starting quarterback can also enable his team to achieve a perfect preseason record with a victory in its final warm-up affair with the Oakland Raiders at Qwest Field.
Wilson, Seattle's third-round selection in this past draft, overtook the heavily favored Matt Flynn in an open competition to become the Seahawks' No. 1 option under center with dazzling performances in each of the first three preseason games. The young playmaker sealed Flynn's fate with a tremendous individual outing in Friday's clash at Kansas City, showing off both his passing and running skills in leading the Seahawks to a 44-14 rout.
Seattle scored on its first six offensive drives with Wilson at the controls to build a commanding 30-7 lead early in the third quarter, with the 23-year- old rookie capping two of those possessions with a touchdown pass. He finished his night 13-of-19 for 185 yards through the air in addition to ripping off runs of 31 and 27 yards.
That display prompted head coach Pete Carroll to name Wilson as the team's starter for its regular season opener at NFC West rival Arizona on Sept. 9.
It's a honor Wilson certainly has earned. Through his three pro appearances, the former North Carolina State and Wisconsin star has completed 35-of-52 attempts (67.3 percent) for 464 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception. He's also rushed for 150 yards and a score on 10 scrambles.
Wilson's sudden emergence and the offseason signing of Flynn, who spent the last four years as Aaron Rodgers' capable understudy in Green Bay, made 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson expendable, with the Seahawks trading the veteran to Buffalo on Sunday in exchange for an undisclosed future draft choice.
Jackson wasn't the only name player taken off the Seattle roster over the weekend, with the club derailing Terrell Owens' comeback bid by releasing the decorated wide receiver on Sunday. The 38-year-old, who did not play in the NFL last season, did come up with two catches for 41 yards in the Kansas City game, but wasn't needed with the re-emergence of fellow reclamation project Braylon Edwards in camp and a return to health from oft-injured top target Sidney Rice.
Carroll said that Wilson will start Thursday's contest, though it's likely he'll play only sparingly before giving way to Flynn and project Josh Portis.
Seattle also got big nights out of a few other young prospects in its shellacking of the Chiefs. Rookie running back Robert Turbin rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while third-year wideout Golden Tate contributed a 92-yard punt return score to the win. Safety and 2010 first- round pick Earl Thomas got the defense into the act by intercepting a pass and racing 75 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Seahawks last went 4-0 in preseason play in 2009, though the team slumped to a 5-11 record in what turned out to be Jim Mora's only year as head coach before being replaced by Carroll.
Oakland also comes in off a good result, a 31-20 home decision over Detroit on Saturday that gave first-year head man Dennis Allen his first-ever preseason triumph.
The Raiders were paced by their own dual-threat quarterback, with third- stringer Terrelle Pryor throwing two fourth-quarter scoring passes and coming through with a scoring run as well. The Ohio State product compiled 90 rushing yards on just five attempts and 137 passing yards on only three completions.
Rookie wide receiver Juron Criner hauled in both of Pryor's scoring strikes, one from 39 yards out and another a 76-yarder.
Starting signal-caller Carson Palmer put up 181 yards on 17-of-26 passing for Oakland, but was also intercepted twice and has yet to throw for a touchdown this preseason.
Palmer is expected to receive only scant playing time in a reunion meeting with Carroll, the former college coach for both he and backup Matt Leinart at the University of Southern California.
Notable Oakland players slated to sit out in advance of the team's Monday night Week 1 matchup with San Diego include wide receivers Denarius Moore (hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (foot), center Stefen Wisniewski (calf), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (groin).
Seattle has won seven of its 10 previous preseason bouts with Oakland and recorded a 20-3 victory over the Raiders at Qwest Field in last year's meeting.
08/29 12:49:43 ET
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