Seahawks beat Raiders 27-3 on other side of 'The Pond'
UPDATE -- The Seahawks beat the Raiders 27-3 in London on Sunday.
LONDON -- The Seahawks will make their London debut Sunday when they face the Raiders at Wembley Stadium. The NFL has played games in London since 2007 and this is the first time the Seahawks have made the trek across the pond for a regular season game.
Here are 4 things to watch for in Sunday’s game against the Raiders:
1) The Speed
Flying all night and getting adjusted to the time change in London is not easy and it can take a toll on the body. I still feel a little out of whack and I don’t have to play a football game Sunday.
The Seahawks have done everything possible to get adjusted quickly. They even have some extensive sleep research that is helping them to get proper rest. Their accommodations in the countryside about 20 minutes outside of London are posh and relaxing, by the time kickoff rolls around they should be ready to play.
The Raiders didn’t arrive in London until Friday and their adjustment period will obviously be shorter. The question for both teams is will they be ready and rolling from the first snap or will it take a quarter or two to get their legs underneath them? My gut feeling is most of these players are in their 20’s, they won’t have too much trouble rebounding from some interrupted sleep patterns and should be just fine come Sunday.
2) Michael Dickson
Seahawks rookie punter Michael Dickson is bringing an international element to the Seahawks roster this season and is also bringing some intrigue to the London game. Dickson’s ability to kick with such precision and his ability to basically make the ball do what he wants will be watched closely in a country where Soccer and Rugby are pretty high up the sports ladder.
Dickson has had no trouble adjusting to the London time change after the 9 hour flight over. He didn’t think it was a big deal because his flights home to Australia when he was a college player at Texas took 18 hours.
3) Seahawks Running game
The Seahawks have run the ball with considerable success the last 3 weeks. Three weeks in a row they have had 100-yard rushers and they will continue the run-first approach Sunday against the Raiders. The stretch of 100 yard rushers has coincided with the return of right guard DJ Fluker. A mountain of a man that demands the Seahawks run the ball toward his side as much as possible. That attitude and approach to running the ball has rubbed off on the rest of the line and is a big reason the Seahawks are running the ball again with any success.
Pete Carroll is pleased with his team's ability to successfully run the football and he talked about it this week. "The guys up front are doing a great job," he said. "The running back group, whoever is out there, is really giving us the kind of intensity and aggressive focus that we want that I think it fits us together. We have to keep doing it, we have a long ways to go here.”
It’s the first real success the Seahawks have had running the ball since Marshawn Lynch “retired”. Coincidentally Lynch, unretired, will be running the football on Sunday for the Raiders.
The game here in London is a sellout and a significant chunk of the seats at Wembley will be filled by Seahawks fans. My flight to Heathrow on Tuesday was loaded with Seahawks fans and there has been a steady stream of 12’s filtering into London all week.
But that’s not all: There is a loyal group of fans here in the UK called the UK Seahawkers that have been gathering all week, nightly, at a local pub and there enthusiasm is palpable. But the international reach goes beyond the UK. A group of 300 Seahawks fans from Germany are traveling to London for the game this weekend as well. The London games often don’t have a fan tilt, but this one should and the Seahawks should have a significant edge when it comes to crowd noise.
I will be here in London all weekend covering the Seahawks and getting ready for their London debut. Catch our London reports daily at 5, 6 and 11. Cheers!