Sunday 14th October 2018

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Thanks to a Moody Blues friend Nick Kounoupias who generously got the tickets and gave them to us we were able to attend this NFL game and what was great is that the Hawks won 27-3. So a BIG thank you to Nick.

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Raiders 3 Seahawks 27

The Seattle Seahawks marked their first ever regular season game outside of North America with a comfortable win over the hapless Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium.

Russell Wilson threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Seahawks ran out 27-3 winners in the first of three NFL International Series games to be played in the capital this season.

The organisers did their best to make it clear that this was a Raiders ‘home’ game, with cheerleaders and fireworks greeting their arrival on the field, but the London crowd were having none of it.

The Seahawks have a more established UK fan base and though technically the away side, it was clear from the moment Russell Wilson led his men out to warm up, that only a Seattle win would appease the home crowd.

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Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, struggling badly for form having thrown more interceptions than anyone else in the league through the first five games, was once again playing behind an offensive line with more holes than a golf course, and was sacked six times.

It rained, a lot, as in the Pacific north-west. And there were large packs of fans in dark blue and lime green jerseys, who shouted “SEA!” then “HAWKS!” with ever greater urgency and booed if the Raiders looked like getting something going, which was not often.

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To make things even sweeter, Seattle dominated both sides of the ball, with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing three touchdowns and their defence punching holes in the Raiders’ offensive line at will.

“It felt like we were playing at home, honestly,” said the wide receiver David Moore, who scored the second Seattle touchdown. “The rain, the fans, the atmosphere. It was great.”

The Seattle coach, Pete Carroll, agreed. “We had a great time,” he said, smiling. “As we got closer to the game we realised how much energy there was for the Seahawks. And the whole experience was great – it made for a special week.”

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The Seahawks dominated from start to finish in a game that saw Russell Wilson throw for three touchdowns while, on the other side of the ball, Seattle’s pass rush rumbled to life. Even 4,801 miles away from Seattle, they said it felt like a home game.

And while there may still be questions about where their season is headed as they take a week off — one they asked the NFL for following the long trip — what can’t be doubted is they are beginning to become the team Pete Carroll envisioned when he spearheaded an offseason of dramatic change in both the coaching staff and roster.

Carroll wanted to make the running game again a significant factor. That has happened, as Seattle ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing at 127.8 per game and has averaged 157.25 over the last four, which for the season would top the 154.3 of the league-leading Rams.

He also wanted a running game that could take some pressure off the passing game, which could then be used more to attack than out of necessity.

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That also has happened as Russell Wilson has 13 touchdown passes — ranking Seattle seventh in that category and on pace to tie his career-high of 34 — while averaging 7.9 yards per attempt, ninth in the NFL and almost a yard better than the 7.2 of last season. But unlike last year, when 19 of Wilson’s 34 TD passes came in the fourth quarter — many in desperate times — this year nine of his 13 have come in the first three quarters.

Carroll also wanted the defense to again be a hard-hitting, ball-hawking group despite the massive turnover in personnel — for the last two weeks, only Bobby Wagner has played of those who remain from the last Super Bowl team.

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That, too, has happened as Seattle has a plus-seven turnover margin, tied for the best in the NFL, while having allowed just 6.8 yards per pass, which is fifth in the NFL, and an opponent passer rating of 79.9, which is third.

“I’m just really pleased where we are right now taking up to this break,’’ Carroll said after Sunday’s 27-3 win over the Raiders. “We’ve put together really four weeks of pretty good football here and I like the way that we’re playing, the style that we’re playing with, how physical we’re playing.’’

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Despite seeming like they’ve been on the road all season, Seattle will still have three of the first five games following the bye away from home. But if they get through that in playoff position, then comes a mostly favorable December featuring four home games.

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