Game Day was finally here and London was ready! The sun was shining (Cali style) and the fans were in full voice, it was the perfect day for a football game. A lot of focus was placed on Manchester-born Menelik Watson and his ‘homecoming’ however unfortunately for him and his fellow Oakland Raiders it may be a trip to London they might want to forget. The men in black and silver were absolutely slaughtered 38-14 by the Miami Dolphins, one of the most one-sided NFL games to date at Wembley. The Raiders came into the game on a (0-3) record in desperate need of a win. Miami didn’t look too much stronger on (1-2) dealing with lots of controversy surrounding their starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin.
The game started well for the Raiders with a strong opening drive enabling them to take an early lead that no one expected! Derek Carr started convincingly, connecting well with Darren McFadden and James Jones, but it was Carr to Brian Leonhardt who put the points on the board. Oakland were leading at London and Wembley erupted. There was no mistaking Raidernation were most definitely in the house! So, the UK love an underdog, however even with the huge support of the crowd, everything seemed to go down hill for Oakland from the moment play began again. Miami dominated for the rest of the game, this domination was led by the man in the middle of all the controversy throughout the first 3 games of the season. Ryan Tannehill proved he was the right man for the starting QB position by driving his team to victory after he threw 2 touchdowns, ending on 278 yards. Tannehill connected well in the 2nd quarter with his offense. Mike Wallace, Dion Sims and Lamar Miller all completed touchdowns and lead the Dolphins into the locker rooms at half time up 24-7. The Dolphins were most definitely in the driving seat with Oakland struggling to score any points in the 2nd period.
Things seemed to go from bad to worse for The Raiders in the 3 rd quarter as QB Derek Carr fell awkwardly twisting his knee. He was replaced by backup Matt McGloin. A Raiders mistake allowed Dolphins corner back Cortland Finnegan to pick up the ball and run it back 50 yards for yet another touchdown. Miami now looked to be running away with this one and continued to stretch the lead to 38-7 in front of a Wembley crowd totalling – 83, 436.
The Dolphins continued to entertain and you began to wonder just how many more points could they score? The most points in a regular season game at Wembley was by the New England Patriots in 2012 when they beat the St Louis Rams 45-7. Was that record about to be put under threat? It certainly looked like it, Miami were now in cruise control going into their bye week with a big win overseas. However, the next points actually went the Raiders way. Oakland managed to break Miami’s momentum and steel a sneaky touchdown. McGloin was able to find Andre Holmes to make it 38-14 with 8:40 remaining. Raidernation finally had something to cheer about, and they did.. loudly, after almost 2 hours of near silence. Some spoke of a comeback, most realised that was wishful thinking. Tannehill and the Dolphins were just too good for The Raiders.
At moments in the game Oakland’s defense were simply a myth, nowhere to be seen, giving Tannehill far too much room to find various members of his offensive line. Raiders looked strong defensively the week before against The Patriots, however consistency was needed in all parts of their game for them to get that all important win. Sadly for the majority of the fans at Wembley and in Oakland, the only consistency they saw and felt was yet another loss.
Miami now go into the bye week (2-2) while The Raiders are at a worrying (0-4). The next game of the International Series (Game 10) is at Wembley stadium on October 26th when the Detroit Lions face the Atlanta Falcons. For more information on tickets check out – http://www.nfluk.com