BY Art Thiel 05:57PM 10/14/2018

Thiel: Seahawks win over the Brits, and Raiders

Embraced by the international sellout crowd at Wembley Stadium, the Seahawks responded with wall-to-wall dominance in a 27-3 win over the Raiders that wasn’t that close.

WR Doug Baldwin somehow came up with this 42-yard catch, one of six for 91 yards. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

To paraphrase a famous English athlete with jersey number 007, the Raiders were shaken, the Brits were stirred.

In London this week, the Seahawks found two things: A home away from home, and a turning point.

A sold-out Wembley Stadium gathering of 84,922 — an NFL record for the British series —  embraced the Seahawks, who hugged back with a 27-3 domination (box) of a withering 1-5 Raiders franchise that failed to weaponize Marshawn Lynch.

Heading into a bye — the reward for a round trip of nearly 10,000 miles — they now know an important thing about themselves: They’re doing what they do best well enough to dare opponents to stop them.

“We’ve put together four weeks of pretty good football,” said an ebullient coach Pete Carroll. “I’m really pleased with where we are.

“We don’t mind saying we want to run the football. We want to be the most physical running team in this league.”

The demonstration began with the first series, when the Seahawks ran the ball for the first seven plays. The 14-play drive that ate up half of the first quarter resulted in the first opening-possession touchdown for Seattle in 34 games. After that, the Raiders were close to inert.

Russell Wilson spent a few minutes pre=game signing autographs at Wembly. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks ran 37 times for 155 yards, and needed only 23 pass attempts to accumulate 369 yards of total offense. The number would have been significantly larger if not for eight penalties and 64 lost yards, several of the fouls negating big offensive plays.

“We totally changed (from the first two weeks of defeats),” said Carroll of his 3-3 team. “We should have won last week (a 33-31 home loss to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams), if we had just taken care of business. We would have won four in a row and would be obvious we’re on a roll.

“We can feel it. Players know it.”

They played the NFC-favorites Rams to a near-standstill, and Sunday crushed perhaps the worst team in the AFC, which is mandatory for any team with serious ambitions. Based on recent results, it appears the Seahawks have advanced from the mild-amusement category to, as the Brits might put it, bang on.

Everything about the franchise’s first trip to London — travel, logistics, accommodations, time-change management and especially fan support, even the drizzly weather — checked every box.

To use Carroll’s word: “Impeccable.”

He gushed about the team’s support staff, the hosts and the fans.

“The whole experience, culminating in playing a really complete football game, jut makes it a special week,” he said. “As we got closer to the game, we realized how much energy there was for the Seahawks here. Not only were (fans) so much for us, they made it hard on the other guys too.

“(British and other European fans) supported us, as well as those fans from home who made the trip. We’re really grateful . . . it felt like a home game. If we come back again, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Regarding football, another Seattle breakthrough came in the pass rush. An asterisk is required because the battered Raiders offensive line was down to a third-stringer at left guard, and lost top WR Amari Cooper to a concussion after a vicious, Chancellor-esque hit from SS Bradley McDougald.

Nevertheless, QB Derek Carr was sacked eight times, but only six counted because of Seahawks defensive penalties. His 106 yards passing and 3.9 yards per pass attempt were futility marks rarely seen for a healthy, fifth-year NFL QB. Lynch labored valiantly, making potential two-yard losses into four-yard gains, but 45 yards on 13 carries (and 14 yards on three receptions) wasn’t close to what he had hoped to lay on his former team from 2010-15.

DE Frank Clark had 2½ sacks and forced two fumbles recovered by teammates as his role  grows as heir to a franchise legacy of big-play defense. This despite missing a chunk of the second half because of illness.

“He’s turned his outlook in a really positive way,” Carroll said. “He’s playing as a great teammate. He’s taken a leadership role reminiscent of guys here before. It’s not so much what he says as how he works. I’m really fired up about him.”

QB Russell Wilson, the team’s biggest celebrity, navigated the hype — “an almost Super Bowl-like experience, to be honest,” he said  — to hit on 15 of 23 passes, including three touchdowns, to eight receivers. Only one went to a tight end — a career first for Tyrone Swoopes for 19 yards — because starter Nick Vannett was a late scratch (back problems). None among Swoopes, Darrell Daniels and George Fant (yes, the 320-pounder) was on the tight end roster that began the season.

But the Seahawks offense, behind an O-line that seems to grow more efficient weekly, seems capable of working around injuries. WR Doug Baldwin finally had a strong game — six catches for 91 yards — and four rushers, including Wilson (sacked only once), had at least six carries apiece.

The development of balance and diversity prompted an observation by Wilson that was more trenchant than his usual happy-speak.

“Sometimes,” he said, “people love the result more than the process.”

He means that fans and media usually stop to draw major conclusions from single outcomes, rather than see the whole road.

Sunday, despite being on the wrong side of the ocean as well as the road, a smooth patch was found.

Pete Carroll’s side was a whole lot more ready for London than Jon Gruden’s Raiders. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

 

 


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YourThoughts

  • Husky73

    This is a new team, with a few important holdovers. The torch has been passed.

    • art thiel

      I say hold the torch for now. Flashlights are acceptable.

  • jafabian

    Early on both teams seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the field but as the game progressed the only team that was uncomfortable was the home team Raiders. Maybe because by the third quarter the English crowd started doing the Wave and chanting “SEA! HAWKS!” With the amount of booing that was raining down on them you’d think they’d have felt at home.

    The Seahawks offense and defense finally showed up for the same game. Not only did the running game continue on the pace they’ve set this season but out of six rushers the most carries was by Chris Carson with 14 and the lowest YPC was by Russell Wilson at 3.3. By comparison the leading rusher for the Las Vegas Raiders was Marshawn Lynch with 13 carries for 45 yards for a 3.5 YPC. The Hawks O-Line is starting to come around. Tom Cable would be proud. And the D-Line harassed Raider QB Derek Carr like he was Marc Wilson. Can’t wait to get past that bye week silliness.

    • art thiel

      Ooh. Marc Wilson. Former local prep star. Good pull.

  • Diamond Mask

    At some point the national media should be talking about Frank Clark. Very impressive. The NFL should be happy with the impression the Seahawks made in London…from the amount of fans that traveled to the amount of fans they converted in London once they arrived. We can be irresistible. I feel for Gruden/Chuckie. He maybe should have stuck with MNF. His team is not up to the task right now.

    • John M

      Yes, Frank, I thought this would be a big year for him, not that we didn’t all know his native ability, but he’s had some kind of attitude adjustment and it shows in his game. The Hawks are close to syncing up and it’s getting interesting, dampened greatly by the news a couple hours ago regarding Paul Allen. I’m sure Art will give us a good piece about Paul . . .

      • art thiel

        Allen’s loss is a blow for the franchise. The wealthiest owner in sports leaves an unknowable future for his teams.

    • art thiel

      His contract at $10M per buys a lot of solace.

      Clark will get his due — and his deal — if he stays healthy.

  • Theyfinallyfiredcable

    The penalties are a concern ; they were last week also . There’s some broken tackles in the secondary that are a continuing issue as well , they need to wrap up rather than just shoulder tackle . Ok , I’m done nitpicking ..

    Honestly , it was a nice win against one of the worst teams in the league so I’m not going to get too excited . The schedule gets especially nasty now . Thankfully we should have Ed Dickson and KJ back after the bye .

    The thing I think I’m happiest about at this point in the season is the complete about face the offensive line has done since Fluker came in and Sweezy switched to the left side . They’re keeping Russell clean and opening running lanes for Carson , and today I actually saw Germaine Ifedi walk away from a fight ! It seems Solari may have indeed succeeded in fixing our pathetic mess of an O-line .

    • art thiel

      Not sure that O-line about-face is an accurate term as much as improved through experience together, and the add of Fluker. Look around the league and see how few teams have stability and competence along the O-line. But you are entitled to be happy as hell about it.

  • coug73

    The Raiders are not a good team. The Hawks did what was needed to win. Beat a bad team without mercy.

    • art thiel

      The minimum requirement. Jon Gruden has a heavy lift.

  • ll9956

    A nice win for sure, but the Raiders’ offensive line is on life support with injuries to some of their best players, according to the announcers. For this reason IMO the victory should be enjoyed, but doesn’t justify a big-time celebration.

    • art thiel

      No kazoos? Bloody harsh.

  • Kevin Lynch

    The Tomases and Laveon Bells of the world are seeing that their teams can win without them. But I would mirror what the other bloggers are saying. Good win against a yikes! terrible Raidahs team. Hawk offensive line is opening some running lanes and they have the ball carriers that can hit them. That’s progress. But it’s a long slog to January. The true test will be to beat a good team on the road with their fans going crazy. This has always been the Seahawks crucible. In their history the hawks have had one 6-2 road record, I believe. And that has been their best. Yesterday’s win was not a typical road win. Beat the Rams in LA and we’ll talk.

    • Diamond Mask

      So in order for you to give the Hawks any credit at all they have to go on the road and beat the best team in football right now?

      • Kevin Lynch

        As I said in the blog, a good win against a terrible team. Offensive line is improving. Credit is there as due. But no need for anyone to get carried away. Hawks have had great achievement when they have won their division and used home field to get to a Super Bowl. They have never made a ‘road warrior’ run to do it like some teams have. That has to be their biggest goal at this point. The division is as good as gone this year.
        Maybe they’ll do it on the road. But the proof is in the pudding.

        • art thiel

          I was hoping the pudding was 86 proof.

      • art thiel

        Kevin is strict.

    • art thiel

      Good of you to leave open the dialogue.

  • woofer

    An easy and fun outing for the locals. But what about Chuckie? Does he have any kind of plan for getting better? And how much longer will Marshawn hang around? I know he’s an East Bay kid and all that, but still…

    • art thiel

      Lynch was just about as good as ever. But Gruden, the QB guriu, has made Carr’s season a hash.

  • Alan Harrison

    I. Was. Wrong. I had this team winning 6 and, barring major injury news, the rest of the conference teams have me thinking they can squeeze 6 more out of the rest of the schedule (2 vs 49ers, @ Lions, vs Packers, vs Cardinals, and either vs Vikings on a Monday night or vs Chargers (but probably not both). Yes, they beat a horrible team. But it was the way they beat them that impressed me. At 9-7, who knows? Playoffs, maybe, but more importantly, a beginning to something special. Did I mention how wrong I was about this team?

    • Husky73

      You’re still right.

    • art thiel

      Admirable of you be honest. I said 8-8, and I’m going to stick with that. After preseason, I thought the adds of Fluker, Dissly and Penny would produce an upgrade on offense, which is partly true. What I didn’t anticipate was a solid secondary. But the absence of a pass rush — the Raiders were so hurt up front it almost doesn’t count — is the vulnerability that will deny the postseason.