Energized by a frenzied record-setting crowd at Wembley Stadium, the Seattle Seahawks put together their most complete football game of the season in a 27-3 throttling of the Oakland Raiders.
Some closing thoughts as the Seahawks climbed back to .500 in Sunday’s historic victory in London:
- Quarterback Russell Wilson doesn’t look 100 percent healthy as a runner and has been listed on Seattle’s injury report with a hamstring injury, but he did use his legs more frequently as a magician maneuvering the pocket and picking up a couple key first downs. He finished with six rushes for 20 yards, including converting a 3rd and 5 opportunity by stiff-arming a defender and picking up seven yards on a read-option keeper. His finest improvisation play came early in the second quarter, as he recovered a low snap off the ground, stepped up into the pocket, and then threw a perfect pass to receiver David Moore in the back of the end zone to extend Seattle’s lead to 14.
- One week after Chris Carson and Mike Davis combined to rush for nearly 190 yards against the Rams, first-round pick Rashaad Penny saw an increased role out of the backfield and took advantage with arguably his best game as a pro. The former San Diego State star has been frustrated by the lack of playing time after seeing the field for only one snap last week, but he looked explosive picking up 24 yards on a screen in Seattle’s opening scoring drive and played the role of closer at the end of regulation. With the game already well-decided, Seattle allowed the rookie to finish off the Raiders on the game’s final drive, as he ran eight times for 33 yards while facing stacked boxes. His final carry went for 13 yards and moved the chains, allowing Seattle to take a couple knees before celebrating victory.
- If there were any doubts about Tyler Lockett deserving the three-year extension Seattle gave him August, the fourth-year receiver continues to silence his critics. Finally recovered from a broken leg that hindered him for much of the 2017 season, the speedy receiver has caught 23 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns so far this year. He’s also caught three touchdowns that have gone for 39 or more yards, becoming Seattle’s most lethal big play weapon on the outside. If he can maintain his current pace, the former Kansas State star will shatter his previous career-highs in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns.
- Seattle’s success running the football over the past month has been well-documented, but I don’t think anyone is talking about the offensive line’s improvements in pass protection near enough. During the first two weeks, the line looked every bit like the one that struggled to keep Wilson upright over the past several years, but the unit has surrendered seven total sacks in the last four games. The presence of D.J. Fluker alongside him has brought the very best out of Germain Ifedi, who looks night-and-day better than he did at this time a year ago. Duane Brown has been worth every penny of his three-year extension so far locking down the left side, while J.R. Sweezy’s noticeable strides in pass protection with the Buccaneers have carried over nicely in his second stint with the team.
- Coach Pete Carroll indicated the Seahawks want to keep the core of their offensive line together for a long time, but the defensive front has two cornerstones who also need to be prioritized. With free agency rapidly approaching, the price tag for defensive end Frank Clark continues to skyrocket upward and the organization may be hard pressed to pay him less than $20 million per year in his next deal. He single-handedly wrecked Oakland’s game plan on Sunday, whipping rookie tackle Kolton Miller off the edge every single play while recording 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Ascending defensive tackle Jarran Reed will also command a lucrative new contract when he becomes eligible for one after this season, as he added five solo tackles, two quarterback hits, and his fourth sack in another dominant effort on Sunday.
- The Seahawks will benefit from the return of K.J. Wright after the bye week, but Barkevious Mingo deserves mad props for how quickly he’s picked up the weakside linebacker position after Mychal Kendricks was lost to suspension. For a second straight week, the former first-round pick out of LSU played outstanding football, leading the team with seven tackles and recording a tackle for loss. He’ll see a bit of a reduced role when Wright comes back, but he will give defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. extra flexibility on defense with his ability to play SAM linebacker as well as rush off the edge in passing situations. Add in his special teams contributions and aside from Fluker, Mingo may be the best free agent signing Seattle made this offseason.
- This was a tough game to evaluate the secondary because Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had minimal time to throw while under constant pressure, but aside from a few missed tackles, the young group featuring safety Tedric Thompson as well as cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers played sound coverage on Sunday. When Carr wasn’t being smacked around by Clark and Seattle’s defensive line, he often didn’t have options open downfield and had to resort to living as “Captain Checkdown,” averaging only 4.6 yards per pass attempt. The Seahawks front four played its finest game of the year, but it was also a nice bounce-back game for a youthful secondary that had some trouble with the Rams high-octane passing attack and continues to make strides by week.
- After botching a couple extra points in the preseason finale against his old team, kicker Sebastian Janikowski fared much better in the game that counted in the standings, booting both of his field goal attempts and three extra points through the uprights. Counting his game-winning field goal against the Cardinals as redemption for two prior misses in the contest, the “Polish Cannon” has made his last five field goal attempts and looks to have rediscovered his confidence, a great development for Seattle moving into the second part of the 2018 schedule.