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OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 2: Jeremy Ware #23 and Mike Mitchell #34 of the Oakland Raiders celebrate against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 2, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jeremy Ware;Mike Mitchell
Jason Campbell would not be on display for the hometown fans at Oakland Coliseum Thursday. But Raider Nation had to enjoy his understudies.
Bruce Gradkowski picked right up where he left off last week -- moving the Raiders downfield with a non-stop litany of results. He was helped rather conspicuously by a 38-yard pass interference penalty on the opening drive. But he converted big-time two plays later when a short pass to Manase Tonga went for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Raiders have now scored on the opening drive in three consecutive preseason games. Their second drive went for 41 yards, capped by a Swayze Waters' 41-yard field goal.
Gradkoski oversaw a three-and-out on his third drive, and the Raiders had to punt. But Seattle rookie Golden Tate muffed the reception, and Raiders safety Stevie Brown recovered at the Seahawks' 16. That meant a short field for Grads, who hit Johnnie Lee Higgins for a nine-yard touchdown.
And barely ten minutes into the game, the Raiders found themselves up 17-3.
The fun would not last. Eight minutes before halftime, Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst caught the Raiders with only ten men on the field. He called for a quick snap, and easily burned the Raiders unprepared for a 26-yard touchdown pass to Deon Butler.
Advantage, Charlie Whitehurst. Looking at him, you'd swear Whitehurst was one of those werewolf guys from "True Blood".
And who did Seattle bust out at quarterback in the second half? Our old friend J.P. Losman! Losman as you will recall was a Raider briefly last season, appearing for one snap in the early December Denver game.
Louis Rankin showed he was a far more dangerous ex-Raider. Rankin shocked his former team with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to trim thee Raiders' lead to 27-23.
Presumable Raiders third-string quarterback Kyle Boller did not go quietly into the exhibition twilight. He connected on a 52-yard bomb to Jacoby Ford, then floated a pretty fader to Nick Miller for a 16-yard touchdown.
Boller had 157 yards and a touchdown, and zero interceptions. Gradkowski had 128 yards and two touchdowns, with zero interceptions. At the very least, the backup quarterback situation looks solid this season.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who advises the Seahawks that you can't win with a quarterback whose name is pronounced "loss-man".