The Seattle Seahawks pulled off a 22-17 upset over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday thanks to two big turnovers on special teams, an interception, and some impressive running by Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks led all four quarters against the Ravens, starting with a 60-yard touchdown drive on their second possession of the game. Lynch caught two passes for more than 20 yards and punched it in from the 1-yard line for the score.
Seattle scored nine of their 22 points off Baltimore turnovers. Michael Robinson had a huge day on special teams causing two fumbles on kickoff returns and David Hawthorne nearly returned an interception for a touchdown.
The cherry on top of this great win was the tribute to military the Seahawks put on before the game ceremonies. Sergeant First Class Richard Giertz led the Seahawks out of the tunnel, more than 100 members were on the field for the National Anthem sung by Air Force Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson, and a C-17 performed a flyover as 52,000 fans held up cards that created a message of thanks to the military.
George Hickman, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II, raised the 12th Man flag. There were also seven service members who reenlisted on the field prior to the game.
Although the Seahawks led for the entirety of the game, the Ravens made it a tight game at the end. Their 65-yard touchdown drive was aided by three Seahawks penalties for 20 yards, including a 5-yard illegal contact penalty on 3rd-and-10 that kept Baltimore’s drive alive.
Ravens running back Ray Rice carried the ball only five times for 27 yards as the Seahawks defense continues to take away the run game. Instead, Flacco was forced the throw the ball 52 times resulting in 29 completions for 255 yards.
With six minutes left in the game, Flacco and the Ravens needed their defense to get a stop to get the ball back for one final drive. But Tarvaris Jackson linked up with Golden Tate for two big completions and Lynch helped run out the clock for the win.
There were two things that were especially nice to see in this game that really stood out to me.
First, I thought Coach Pete Carroll overcame an emotional moment in the second quarter. Lynch had originally been given a first down on a 4-yard pass, but Baltimore challenged the ruling. It turned out that Lynch had stepped out of bound just inches short of the first down. Instead of going for it on fourth down and trying for a touchdown to potentially put Seahawks up 20-7, Carroll opted for the field goal and the 16-7, two-score lead.
Second, when it came down to the final minutes with the game on the line, Lynch and the Seahawks running game punched the Ravens right in the mouth to finish it off. Baltimore fully expects their defense to show up in those situations to be able to get the ball back quickly and give their offense a chance to win. But Lynch just kept pushing it down the field.
In his Monday press conference Carroll said it was a really good all-around win with the offense, defense, and special teams all contributing well.
“We had a really good effort, we got to an energy level that we needed to play against such a good football team, and the plays on special teams obviously set things in motion,” he said. “The consistency on offense and the ability to balance it out on defense gave us a really nice win.”
Carroll was asked how he would explain the wins over the Giants and Ravens in contrast with some of the games the Seahawks have lost this season.
“I think it’s more about the potential that we have,” said Carroll. “We can beat a division leading team when you play good solid football with the right approach and you take care of the football.”
All four NFC West teams won their games this weekend. How long has it been since that happened? I read somewhere that it was the first time in nine years. It sounds like it could be right, so we’ll just go with that.
As unexpected as this Seahawks win may have been, the Eagles were a two-touchdown favorite over the Cardinals. San Francisco went to 9-1 after beating the Giants, and the Rams beat the Browns 13-12. I mentioned that beating the Ravens would help me forget about that game against the Browns, but the fact that St. Louis was able to get the job done in Cleveland brings everything right back again.
Considering Seattle has beaten two six-win teams it got me looking back to the schedule, and this first half of the schedule has been downright brutal for the Seahawks. The 49ers have only lost once, the Steelers and Bengals are six-win teams, and the Cowboys and Falcons have each won five. So as of right now, the Browns are the only team with a losing record to get a win against the Seahawks.
Looking at the final seven games, San Francisco and Chicago are the only two teams with winning records. I’m starting to see the potential for a late season run!