LONDON – Pete Carroll became the winningest coach in Seattle Seahawks history Sunday, and he did it in classic Pete Carroll fashion.
The Seahawks put together their most complete game in recent memory, rolling over old friend Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium, 27-3.
Strong running attack? Check. Big game from Russell Wilson? Check. Stifling defense that forced turnovers and kept constant pressure on the quarterback? Check, check, check. The win was Carroll’s 91st in Seattle, giving him one more than Mike Holmgren.
And there’s more reason than Sunday’s numbers to be optimistic. The Seahawks have now won three of four, and weren’t too far off in that one loss to the Rams.
"We put together four weeks of pretty good football here," Carroll said after the game. "I like the way we’re playing, the style we’re playing with, how physical we’re playing. We ran for a bunch of yards again today and finished the game on offense running the clock out, which is exactly how we love to do it. I’m really pleased where we are right now taking off for this break. We needed to be better, but we made the most of it."
Carroll has been saying for a very long time that Seattle needed to re-establish the rush, and it finally seems to have done so for the first time since Lynch left. The Seahawks passed the carries around this time, as Chris Carson had 14 for 59 yards, Rashaad Penny had nine for 43 yards and Mike Davis had six for 21 yards. All told, they had 36 carries for 155 yards – and only four of those carries and 22 of those yards were Wilson’s.
They made their commitment clear from the get-go, rushing on their first seven plays before dumping it off to Penny for a 24-yard gain on a screen. Three plays later, tight end Tyrone Swoopes - who the team signed from the practice squad Saturday – came up with a 23-yard reception. Jaron Brown made it pay off, hauling in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson that gave the Seahawks their first opening-drive touchdown in 34 games.
The Seahawks got back on the board early in the second quarter, as defensive end Frank Clark showed the first sign that he was about to have a big day. Clark sacked Derek Carr and forced a fumble, which Jarran Reed recovered at the Raiders’ 24. Three plays later, Wilson recovered after fumbling the snap and found David Moore wide-open in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown with 14:10 to play that made it 14-0. They would get one more score as time ran out in the first half, capitalizing on the Raiders’ failed fourth-down conversion with a 44-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal that made it 17-0.
Clark knocked another fumble loose early in the second half. Jacob Martin recovered it, and the Seahawks recovered at the Raiders’ 11-yard line. A penalty on D.J. Fluker and a sack of Wilson made a touchdown a tough ask, but Seattle did get another Janikowski field goal out of it – this time a 26-yarder - to make it 20-0.
The Seahawks officially sealed it on the first play of the fourth quarter. Tyler Lockett capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive when he hauled in a 10-yard pass from Wilson to make it 27-0.
The Raiders prevented the shutout about halfway through the final quarter. Matt McCrane hit a 43-yard field goal with 8:25 left to bring it to 27-3.
Wilson had an efficient day, completing 17 of 23 passes for 22 yards and three touchdowns with one interception – the Seahawks’ first turnover since Week 2. Doug Baldwin looked like he was finally back from his injury, catching six passes for 91 yards, while Moore caught two balls for 47 yards and his third touchdown of the season.
"What changed?" Baldwin said in response to a questino after the game. "We threw the ball my direction. I mean, that's really what it is. Sometimes it's like that. Sometimes you don't get any targets, and sometimes you get 20 targets."
Clark continued to drive up his price tag as he heads toward free agency, racking up 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
"Frank’s been playing great football," Carroll said. "He’s been really aggressive and on the attack. More importantly … he’s just turned his outlook in a really positive way. He’s playing as a great teammate and he’s so strong and so supportive with his message. His effort, daily, every single day that he practices out there is great. He’s taken a leadership role really reminiscent of some of the guys that were here before, and it’s almost like he’s picked up the mantle and made a statement about that."
All told, the Seahawks sacked Carr six times and held him to 23-of-31 passing for 142 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo led the Seahawks with seven tackles in filling in for the injured K.J. Wright.
Lynch had 13 carries for 45 yards and caught three passes for 14 yards.
The Seahawks managed all that after traveling across the world to play in front of 84,922 fans at Wembley Stadium.
"It was like a big-time bowl game," Carroll said. "I’ve been to a few of those, and this is what that was like."
Seattle has a bye next weekend, then returns to the field Oct. 28 with a 10 a.m. game against the Detroit Lions that will be broadcast on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.
"The travel was interesting. The time change was interesting. I'm so grateful we have a bye week after this," Baldwin said.