OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The end of the exhibition season brought encouraging signs for the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks when it comes to their backup quarterbacks.
Bruce Gradkowski threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter and the Raiders mostly used backups to end the preseason with a 27-24 victory over the Seahawks on Thursday night.
``I've been trying to do everything I can and the rest is out of my hands,' Gradkowski said. ``You always have to be ready because you never know when your time will come.'
Gradkowski's time for the Raiders (3-1) apparently won't come to start the season even though starter Jason Campbell missed this game with a stinger and sore wrist he sustained last week against San Francisco. Campbell did not practice Tuesday but said after the game he's confident he'll be on the field when the season starts Sept. 12.
``I can't talk about the injury or anything that is going on right now, but come the Tennessee game I'll be ready,' Campbell said.
Charlie Whitehurst threw for 210 yards and a touchdown in the first half while starter Matt Hasselbeck rested up for the season opener. Whitehurst hit three deep passes to Deon Butler, Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu against one of the few defensive starters in the game for Oakland, cornerback Chris Johnson.
``When you play Oakland you know you're going to get a lot of man coverage and you know that you're going to have to win outside,' Whitehurst said. ``We were able to do that a few times.'
Former Raider Louis Rankin also scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and Olindo Mare kicked three field goals for the Seahawks (1-3).
Receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch, linebacker Lofa Tatupu and defensive backs Marcus Trufant and Lawyer Milloy were among the Seahawks to get the night off.
Running back Darren McFadden, receiver Louis Murphy, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, and linebackers Rolando McClain and Kamerion Wimbley were among the healthy Raiders sitting out.
``I felt like the guys who didn't start the game, we know who they are and what they bring to the table,' Raiders coach Tom Cable said. ``It gave us as a coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate some guys having played for an extended period of time.'
There were only a few more fans in the stands than starters on the field as most chose to stay away from the final exhibition game of the preseason. Those who did come saw another fine preseason performance from Gradkowski, who also threw two TD passes last week against San Francisco.
The Raiders scored an opening drive touchdown for the third straight exhibition game although this time it came from Gradkowski and the backups this week.
Gradkowski dumped a screen pass off to undrafted free agent Manase Tonga, who rumbled 32 yards for the score. A 34-yard pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey - one of the few projected starters to play - set up a 41-yard field goal by Swayze Waters on the second drive to make it 10-0.
Oakland's second touchdown was set up when Stevie Brown recovered a muff punt by Justin Forsett at the 16. Gradkowski capped it with a 9-yard TD pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins to make it 17-3.
Gradkowski finished 7 for 14 for 128 yards in his one half. Kyle Boller led one touchdown drive, completing a 62-yard pass to rookie Jacoby Ford and a 16-yard TD pass to Nick Miller.
Whitehurst got off to a slow start for the Seahawks as he tries to establish his role as a backup. But he started clicking late in the first half, throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Deon Butler.
Whitehurst could have had an even bigger day except a 45-yard TD pass to Cameron Morrah on the final play of first half was negated by a holding call on Mansfield Wrotto.
Seattle only score of the second half came on Rankin's return following Miller's touchdown.
``It opened up quickly,' Rankin said. ``I know all those guys on the Raiders and I know they're all fast. Once the kicker slowed me up, I was thinking 'I really have to get on my horse.' Fortunately I was able to break one.'
NOTES: Oakland P Shane Lechler received the Golden Toe Award given by the Pro Football Weekly to the outstanding kicking specialist in a pregame ceremony. ... Raiders S Mike Mitchell had the hit of the game, breaking up a short pass to Forsett in the second quarter in a play that drew ``oohs' and ``ahhs' from the crowd when it was replayed. ... Former Raiders WR Mike Williams had two catches for 28 yards for Seattle. ... Raiders LB Travis Goethel was away from the team with an undisclosed injury.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved