Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks starters watch Boykin, Davis battle for backup-QB role in preseason finale

OAKLAND, Calif. Trevone Boykin may have played himself into roster jeopardy.

C.J. Prosise played – which for the oft-injured running back was progress in itself.

And Austin Davis may have just won the backup-quarterback job.

Boykin, starting because Russell Wilson was watching only Thursday night’s preseason finale, threw a touchdown pass in the first quarter because Oakland’s defender fell down. He then threw two interceptions and fouled up a sequence at the end of the first half for a field-goal try to complete his poor end to the preseason.

Davis replaced Boykin for the entire second half. He helped his push to win the No. 2 job at quarterback by completing five of six passes for 65 yards on the final drive, including the winning score with 1:10 remaining to rally Seattle to a 17-13 win in this junior-varsity game at the half-full Oakland Coliseum.

Playing behind the third-string offensive line, Davis drove the Seahawks from their own 25 to the Oakland 34 late with a 25-yard dart to Darreus Rogers as he was getting hit. Former University of Texas QB Tyrone Swoopes rumbled 11 yards with a swing pass to covert a third and 11. Then Davis found Kenny Lawler at the goal line for a 16-yard touchdown. Most of the 70-plus Seahawks on the sideline ran off it to celebrate the score.

Davis completed five of six throws for 65 yards on that final drive. He was 10 for 16 for 123 yards in all.

Wilson was the first Seahawk off the bench into the middle of the end zone. Boykin, noticeably, was the last.

“Oh, man, this team just loves to play ball,” Davis said with a smile of the celebration over his winning play. “I mean, it doesn’t matter if it’s the preseason or what. That’s the one thing I’ve really enjoyed about being on this team. There’s so much joy in playing the game. They are like little kids out there.

“It was no suprise that they did that. We are playing to win.”

Even in August.

The Seahawks finished the preseason 4-0 for the first time since 2013 -- on their way to winning their only Super Bowl title.

Wilson’s biggest contribution was greeting Oakland running back and former Seahawks teammate Marshawn Lynch before the exhibition.

Neither star got on the field besides for that. At one point, Lynch, who came out of one-year in retirement and signed with his hometown team this spring, entertained himself by kicking field goals into a net behind the Raiders’ bench.

Thomas Rawls didn’t dress. Richard Sherman didn’t come on the trip. Tyler Lockett was in a hoodie. Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril did early pregame work with their line coaches. Then they watched the game from the sidelines wearing shorts and T-shirts on the un-Bay-Area-like, 87-degree evening.

Bennett sat during the national anthem for the fourth consecutive preseason game, his statement against how minorities are treated in our country. Teammate Justin Britt was again standing at his side, his right hand on Bennett’s left shoulder while Bennett sat.

The Seahawks realized their worst fear of these exhibitions for the second time in three games. Reserve defensive back DeAndre Elliott, who ended last season playing in the divisional-playoff loss at Atlanta in January after DeShawn Shead got a major knee injury, went down midway through the second quarter. Just as with starting left tackle George Fant’s season-ending knee injury earlier this month against Minnesota, Elliott’s injury to his right leg prompted a cart and an air cast to come onto the field.

As Elliott was lifted into the cart, every player came off the Seahawks’ bench to surround him in support. Carroll said Elliott has a broken ankle. That will leave him off the 53-man active roster the team must finalize by Saturday afternoon.

The Seahawks started reserves on both sides of the ball, except along the offensive line. That group, seeking much-needed continuity after the season-ending knee injury to left tackle George Fant two weeks ago, started Rees Odhiambo at left tackle, Oday Aboushi at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Mark Glowinski at right guard and Germain Ifedi at right tackle.

That apparently will be the starting line in Seattle’s opener at Green Bay Sept. 10—with the exception of Aboushi. The veteran signed this offseason was starting because Luke Joeckel got the night off after a week away getting treatment on his knee. The Seahawks expect Joeckel to be ready for the Packers game next week.

Boykin threw one touchdown pass, an easy one because the Raiders cover man fell down, and two interceptions in his first 13 throws in the first half. Boykin’s first interceptions was just before he got hit, and the pass sailed 5 yards past intended receiver Kenny Lawler. His second one was a sin in coach Pete Carroll’s system: A turnover on a forced mistake in the red zone. Boykin was late throwing on an in route by Lawler, after Boykin had stared down his receiver to give the defender ample warning the throw was about come that way.

Those mistakes gave veteran and one-time NFL starter Davis a full second half to win the No. 2 quarterback job. He may have done it, too.

“I’ve played a lot of football,” Davis said. “I think I deserve to be a number two somewhere, whether it’s here or somewhere else. I believe in myself. I believe I can play. I just need more reps. I need more practice.”

Kasen Williams made his sixth extraordinary catch in four preseason games. With Boykin getting a lot of time to look at multiple receivers behind his starting offensive line stonewalling Raiders reserves, Williams reached out between converging defenders to grab a pass. Then he ducked to avoid a hit to complete the 22-yard catch.

That got Seattle moving on a first-quarter drive. It included Tanner McEvoy hurting his chances in the crowded wide-receiver race for a roster spot with a dropped pass. It ended with Boykin again having time, to watch Oakland cornerback Dexter McDonald fall down covering Rodney Smith. Smith walked to Boykin’s pass at the 10 and strolled to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown. The Seahawks led 10-0.

Boykin’s interceptions and a poor throw on a would-be touchdown kept it from being 24-7 before halftime. The Seahawks had an edge in total yardage of 174-55 at the time of Boykin’s second interception, early in the second quarter.

Boykin’s bad half—bad two games—continued in the final seconds of the first half. He had Smith breaking free on an improvisational route to the end zone after the QB scrambled for time. But Boykin underthrew Smith so badly he allowed Oakland’s McDonald to get back in time to have the ball bang off his back at the goal line instead of into Smith’s hands for a 17-7 lead.

Boykin was 0 for 6 with an interception last week in the win over Kansas City. Thursday, he was 13 for 21 for 166 yards, the one touchdown that should have been two and the two interceptions for a passer rating of 62.9 in the first half.

Last year’s backup to Wilson as an undrafted rookie had a 40.6 passer rating in his final two preseason games.

Carroll was not happy with Boykin taking a sack on the final play of the first half and squandering a chance at a field goal.

Yet Boykin said after the game “I made a huge step from last preseason to now.”

Davis, praised by Carroll for his smarts and experience, entered for Boykin to begin the second half. Davis’ second pass was a deft one, a plop over a Raider into Williams’ arms. Williams bulled for 36 yards across midfield.

The former University of Washington receiver was mostly on Seattle’s practice squad his first two NFL seasons. But no more. He’s on the team as sure as the sky is dark at night.

Davis then deftly escaped a pass rush, threw for a first down on third down -- then confidently signaled first down with an extended arm in the direction of Seattle’s bench.

Rookie wide receiver pick Amara Darboh’s first two catches of the preseason, for 17 yards to spark a 2-minute drill late in the half into Raiders’ territory, underlined his likely place on the regular-season roster Saturday despite a quiet August. Teams don’t routinely cut third-round picks months after drafting them.