Frank Clark, Seahawks stymie punch-less Raiders in London

Sacking Derek Carr six times, Seattle’s defense and a physical rushing attack set the tone early in an eventual rout.

Thriving in front of a raucous record-setting crowd at Wembley Stadium, the Seattle Seahawks used a ferocious pass rush and physical ground attack to set the tone in a commanding 27-3 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Playing in London for the first time in franchise history, Seattle established the run and controlled the line of scrimmage early, handing off to running backs Chris Carson and Mike Davis on seven straight plays after receiving the opening kickoff. The Seahawks put an exclamation point on the 14-play, 82-yard drive with a touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to receiver Jaron Brown, giving coach Pete Carroll’s squad an early 7-0 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.

Wilson wrapped up Sunday’s contest with his second straight three touchdown performance, capitalizing on consistently clean pockets to throw for 222 yards while completing 17 of 23 pass attempts. Along with hitting Brown for his second touchdown of the season, he also connected with David Moore and Tyler Lockett for touchdowns to help Seattle pull away on the scoreboard.

Feeling the love from a pro-Seahawks crowd all evening, Moore said “It felt like a home game, honestly.”

Once again, though no running backs individually hit the 100-yard mark for a fourth straight game, Carson, Davis, and Rashaad Penny still combined for 123 rushing yards as a group, giving the Seahawks much-needed balance and eventually closing out the game with eight straight runs. As has been the case the past several weeks, Carroll pointed to a renewed identity spearheaded by a physical, nasty offensive line as the main culprit for Seattle’s rejuvenated rushing attack.

Reflecting on Seattle’s previous struggles running the football in recent seasons, Carroll stated these issues were now in rear-view mirror, saying “We’re in great shape and Duane Brown, and [D.J.] Fluker and [Justin] Britt and all those guys are doing a fantastic job up front. [J.R.] Sweezy has been a great addition for us and of course [Germain] Ifedi is doing well too so, I’m fired up about it.”

With the offensive clicking on all cylinders thanks in large part to the blocking of Brown, Fluker, and company, Frank Clark and his defensive line counterparts were able to pin their ears back and feast on a Raiders offensive line with two rookie tackles as well as multiple backups attempting to fill in for injured left guard Kelechi Osemele.

Led by Clark’s monstrous 2.5 sack effort, the Seahawks fed off the CenturyLink Field-like energy in the crowd to sack Raiders quarterback Derek Carr six times, hit him on several other occasions, and recover two fumbles deep in Oakland territory. And the onslaught could have been much worse, as Seattle had multiple sacks in the first half nullified by defensive penalties.

Assaulted throughout the game, Carr couldn’t get the Raiders aerial attack off the runway and Seattle held its opponent under the 200-yard passing mark for the fourth time in five games. Along with losing his best receiver Amari Cooper due to a concussion, he also didn’t receive much support from Marshawn Lynch and the run game, as the Seahawks bottled up their former star running back, holding him to only 45 yards on 13 carries.

Unable to move the ball on the ground or through the air behind a makeshift offensive line, beleaguered Raiders coach Jon Gruden simply couldn’t find any answers as the Seahawks limited his team to a pedestrian 3.3 yards per play.

“Anytime we got anything going,…” Gruden said. “It was either called back [by penalty] or we got a sack and losing Amari Cooper the way we did, I just hope he’s okay.”

With the victory, the Seahawks climbed back to .500, inching itself within half a game of a playoff spot, a far superior position in comparison to the last-place Raiders. Though it’s still only Week 6, Carroll loves the brand of football his team has played over the past month heading into the bye week.

“I’m really pleased with where we are taking off for this break.” Carroll said, reiterating the value of the home field atmosphere at Wembley. “We needed to be better, but we made the most of it.”

Better times may yet still be in front of the Seahawks, as linebacker K.J. Wright, running back J.D. McKissic, and tight end Ed Dickson could return when Seattle plays in Detroit on October 28. With reinforcements coming and the team exiting this game healthy for the most part, they should have much left to play for in the second half of the season.

But for now, Seattle will let this historic victory 5,000 miles away from home soak in for a few days before the team begins preparation for the stretch run.