OAKLAND, Calif. – The Seahawks' offense got off to a running start on Thursday night.
Wait. That's not quite right. Actually, it was the passing game that was the most noteworthy part of the most noteworthy series for Seattle as quarterback Russell Wilson completed all three passes he threw, accounting for 77 of the 80 yards in the four-play touchdown drive to begin the game.
"We played really good when the first unit was in there on offense tonight," coach Pete Carroll said afterward. "That was four plays. Then after that, it wasn't very good."
Seattle lost 41-31, but that final result didn't do justice to the head start Seattle's offense has gotten this August. The Seahawks' first-unit offense scored on 11 of the 13 possessions in which Wilson was on the field. The only time the group punted: the first possession of the first preseason game in Denver.
Wilson finished the preseason completing more than 75 percent of his passes (33 of 42) for three touchdowns without being intercepted. He also rushed for three scores.
The Seahawks were tied for eighth in scoring last year, averaging more than 26 points per game, but given the performance this August, Carroll declared Seattle an improved offense.
"We've moved ahead," he said. "We're better than we were in the past, and I think it's the growth of the quarterback and his connection with all his guys."
Nine touchdowns in 13 possessions with Wilson at quarterback is proof of Seattle's offensive proficiency in the preseason. Wilson was asked if he agreed with his coach's assessment.
"We'll have to find out and see," Wilson said. "If think when you look at the team, what we have done offensively in the preseason is a very good thing. And you've got to remember this is going to be my third year. So I'm still young. I'm still learning."
Running back Christine Michael did not play because of a sore hamstring, and for the second time in four preseason games, the Seahawks had a quarterback lead the team in rushing. In Denver, it was Terrelle Pryor. In Oakland, it was B.J. Daniels, who rushed twice for 34 yards.
Demitrius Bronson, the rookie from Eastern Washington who was re-signed this week after being let go, carried seven times for 31 yards.
Okung plays whole first half
Seattle's starting offense was on the field for only the first series. Make that most of the starters. Left tackle Russell Okung played most of the first half, his most extensive action in August after missing the first couple of weeks due to his recovery from offseason foot surgery.
"I felt good," Okung said. "I felt strong. I felt powerful."
Safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Malcolm Smith also played later into the game than other front-line defensive players as those two are also coming back from surgery.
Defensive lineman D'Anthony Smith suffered a biceps injury. Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis suffered a strained hamstring. He had been limited by a strained oblique earlier in training camp. Defensive lineman Cassius Marsh strained his hip flexor.
Cornerback Tharold Simon did not travel with the team, remaining in Seattle with a sore knee that Carroll characterized as "boggy."
The Seahawks are still hoping linebacker Bruce Irvin will be ready to begin practicing next week. The team will have to activate him from the Physically Unable to Perform list for Sunday to have him available for any of the first six regular-season games.
"We'll see how healthy we can get in the next week or so," Carroll said. "Other than that, we're ready to go."