LONDON—The Seahawks won big at Wembley Stadium not just because of how they executed for a few hours on Sunday, but also because of what took place over the previous few days.
Sunday’s 27-3 victory over the Raiders at Wembley Stadium was Seattle’s first regular-season game outside of North America, but the Seahawks played like a team that had done everything right to get themselves ready for a game played so far away while dealing with an eight-hour time difference.
“This whole ordeal, coming over here, the trip and all of that, I’m so proud of our players, and all of the support group that made this travel and the whole way we functioned so smooth,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We had a great time. It was like going to a college bowl game. Our players’ attitude about it was incredible, they practiced hard, they worked hard, they rested well, they did a little bit of sightseeing—they didn’t do too much. That led us up to the game, then as we got closer to the game, we realized how much energy there was for the Seahawks here. That was a great crowd. Playing at Wembley was great… The whole experience, culminating with us playing a really complete football game just makes it a really special week.”
The Seahawks actually began preparing their players for this game a full week in advance, giving their players suggestions for adjusting to the time difference that included going to sleep progressively earlier through the week, as well as tips for how to best handle the time change once they arrived. Wednesday night’s flight time was also chosen to give the players a chance to get as much sleep as possible, allowing them to function on Thursday, get a light practice in, then get a fairly normal night of sleep.
And from the travel to the team’s set up at the Grove, a resort outside of Watford, England, to the massive undertaking it took to get all the equipment needed for a longer trip to London, everything ran very smoothly. That was the result not just of hard work going on this week, but also of months of advanced planning by the likes of Erik Kennedy, the team’s director of equipment, Jeremy Young, the director of team travel, Matt Capurro, the director of team operations, and Sam Ramsden, the director of player health & performance.
“What we did worked out great,” Carroll said. “We felt the stages of the recovery, and guys mentally just did not let it affect them, and we made it through it. I think everybody felt great today, which is the whole point. Our guys who set up this whole thing—Matt Capurro, Jeremy Young, Erik Kennedy, those guys who organized the whole thing, Sam Ramsden who did the science behind how we did this, I think it was impeccably done. It was just great. The Grove was awesome, the food was great, they took care of us across the board. The facilities were beautiful. This was just an amazing week. It was really like a big-time bowl game. I’ve been to a few of those, and this was what that’s like. I’m really fired up about that.”
The Seahawks demonstrated just how ready they were for Sunday’s game by opening with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, a physical possession that set the tone for a dominant victory. And perhaps in a sign of just how well all of the preparation went leading up to this game is the fact that Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass to Jaron Brown at the end of that series was Seattle’s first opening-drive touchdown in the regular season since Week 3 of 2016. Seattle’s defense followed by forcing a quick three-and-out, and players in all three phases were on top of their games throughout the evening.
“I thought our coaches and our organization prepared us the best way possible for us to come here and be ready to roll,” Wilson said. “Everyone took on the challenge and looked at it as an opportunity instead of a problem… I thought we had great practices all week, the flight over here was great. Everything was just top-notch in how we prepared, and I think that showed on the field.”
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' 27-3 win in London in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season.