PHILADELPHIA—For the sixth time this season, Seahawks players walked off a bus and onto an airplane following a road game.
And for the sixth time this season, Seattle's veteran players took their seats in first class, relegating coaches and team executives to coach, a post-victory tradition that has been in place for the past few seasons.
And you won't hear coaches complain about a lack of leg room on a cross-country flight these days, because those seats downgrades are the result of the Seahawks pulling off a road victory, this time a 17-9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles that saw the Seahawks improve to 9-2 overall, and even more impressively, to 6-0 on the road.
There was a time when having an east coast game flexed out of prime time and into the early time slot might have proven problematic for the Seahawks.
That time has long since passed, however.
With their win over the Eagles on Sunday, the Seahawks improved to 6-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history, also matching the highest road-win total in team history, tying the 2013 team that went 6-2 on the road. Perhaps most impressively, the Seahawks are now 4-0 this season in road games that kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, a time slot that in past years was considered disadvantageous for Seattle.
"This was a terrific win for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Go back on the road again and do it and played really good football across the board. I'm really fired up about that. And I'm so happy with the guys and the way we have approached these games mentally. And it's the challenge of flying across the country and playing in the morning, we're there. We understand how to do it and I'm really fired up about that. That's such a good accomplishment, and these guys know how to get it done."
The Seahawks are a good road team first and foremost because they're a good team, period. With loads of talent on both sides of the ball, a MVP-caliber quarterback and one of the best coaches in the NFL, the Seahawks are set up to win plenty of games regardless of the venue or opponent, but they've been particularly good in all of these down-to-the wire road games in part because of the poise and leadership demonstrated by this particular collection of players.
"We don't care what kind of game it is and if it's a close game we're fine about that," Carroll said. "If it goes all the way down to the nub, we don't care. It doesn't bother us a bit. But going down 3-0 right off the bat didn't faze anybody. We were fine about it the whole way through. And so I do think, I do think we understand what it takes to win in those situations and now we just got to keep proving it."
Carroll added that his players have "embraced the challenges" of going on the road together to take on their opponents in hostile environments.
"They have embraced the challenges of it," Carroll said. "They welcome that we're going to a hard place to play and it's the circumstances and all that. They know our routine really well and they're taking advantage of it, so they're very clear in what it takes. I'm so fired up about Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright) and Russ (Wilson) and Duane Brown, the way they lead our guys to get prepared mentally so that we can play like we're capable, regardless of the situation. That's an enormous strength of a team if you can have that. We got to hold on to it. We ain't done yet, got a lot of work to do."
Playing well on the road isn't exactly anything new for the Seahawks. Dating back to 2013, the Seahawks are now 34-19-1 in road games, including a 15-6 record in the once-dreaded early time slot. But this year's team seems to have found a particularly successful road formula.
"I just think we're battle tested," Wagner said. "We've had so many games, we've come together a lot, and the road victories show how close we are as a team.
Said Wilson, "I think it's our unwavering belief. I've said this to you guys before, but we have unwavering belief. We believe in each other, we believe in our system, we believe in what we're doing. To get all these wins has been a great thing. To be 9-2, to be where we are right now, fighting for first place in our division and the NFC, is a great thing to be. We're playing great football, but the great thing is we can play even better, that's the scary part. That's the scary part for the NFL and the great thing for us. We're ready to roll, ready to keep getting better.
"It's been an awesome experience as we continue to grow, continue to get better as a team, continue to make plays, continue to find a way, and continue to rise to the occasion. We were able to rise to the occasion today in a tough environment, coming all the way out east again. To be 6-0 (on the road) and right where we want to be is a great thing."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 12 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.