BALTIMORE- A broken ankle for Thomas Rawls, a bruised tailbone for Kam Chancellor, and a pair of turned ankles for Deshawn Shead and Marcus Burley couldn’t add up enough for the Baltimore Ravens to score a single touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson threw five TDs in a decisive rout of the Ravens, 35-6.
The offense felt like it was the object of a voodoo doll for most of the game. Rawls broke his ankle within 6:00 to go in the first quarter, right after he had obliterated the weak Baltimore defense for 44 yards (longest single run of 19!). Wilson responded with an 8 yard floater to Tyler Lockett in the endzone, 7-0, Seattle. Fred Jackson and DuJuann Harris stepped in for relief at running duties, but were largely unable combine for anything spectacular. Then Kam Chancellor left the game with his injury, and shortly thereafter Seattle went three and out. The Hawks allowed a pair of Justin Tucker Field Goals in the second quarter, and that was all the Ravens could do to put points on the board. A dropped pass by a wide open Luke Willson in the end zone led to a DuJuann Harris fumble on the next play, which was recovered by Baltimore. The Ravens ‘Buck’ Allen would fumble the ball in the air a few series later, which was recovered by Bobby Wagner with :47 to go in the first half.
Baldwin would score on the ‘Hawks next possession, a 14 yard strike in coverage. Baldwin would be the recipient of two more TD passes, from 22 and 16 yards out. Tyler Lockett would benefit from a 49 yard bomb from Wilson in the beginning of the 4th quarter.
For the second consecutive game, the Seattle defense allowed no touchdowns. Though they gave up 274 yards through the air, they played a tremendous part in the Ravens completing 3 of 11 third down conversions, allowing a mere 28 rushing yards, and holding the opposing offense to two field goals, and both of those came in the 2nd quarter. Jimmy Clausen, backup QB for the Ravens (starting in place of injured Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub), already faced the Legion of Boom earlier in the season, so it’s not wild to think that playing for a different team, he knew where there might be some matchups to exploit.
He did that on a few key first downs, and even caught Cassius Marsh offsides for a crucial 1st down conversion. Regardless, he turned the ball over twice, and one of those turnovers was picked by Richard Sherman; on a blown pass intended for former Seahawk (now Raven) Chris Matthews in the 4th quarter. Michael Bennett registered a sack, bringing his season total to 8.5. DeShawn Shead and Jeremy lane combined for three defensed passes, K.J. Wright led the team in tackles, in a game where 16 members of the defense recorded at least one or more tackles. So, while a shutout did not occur, it’s evident that the defense as a whole is in sync.
Monday morning after the game, head coach Pete Carroll had this to say: “It was a really good game. It was an extension of what we’ve been doing, and that’s what I’m excited about. For a number of weeks now, we’ve been able to put presentations back to back, to back, about what we’re trying to get done, guys playing in the same mode, it’s a continuation we’ve been trying to get. That’s really where you can see your consistency, and we’ll try and crank it again this week.” After two back to back decisive outings, one against an injury ridden team (and a game where Seattle starters went down with a quick fervor), and a near shutout against an NFC North leader, it’s clear whatever Pete Carroll is doing in the locker room is working wonders.
Up next for the ‘Hawks is another team that’s dealt with injuries, the Cleveland Browns. Their star cornerback, Joe Haden, is one of nine Browns players on Injured Reserve. Even though they’ve been outscored by their last five opponents by a score of 73-141, but mysteriously, their head coach, Mike Pettine, has had less than wonderful things to say about Seattle’s star QB, and seems to think Russell Wilson isn’t elite.
With the Browns facing the ‘Hawks at Century link, and Seattle coming off of a five game stretch where they’ve averaged 34.6 points against their opponents and only allowed an average of 19.0 points per game (and these numbers are only well above single digits due to two high scoring outings against the Cardinals and Steelers). The Browns do have a pair of rising stars, in wide receiver Travis Benjamin and tight end Gary Barnidge. Both are benefiting from increased usage in Pettine’s offense, and even with Seattle’s early struggles against deep threats and tight ends, this game seems like an excellent opportunity for Seattle to shut out a reeling 3-10 Cleveland team.