Let us start by sprinkling in some glass-half-full perspective, shall we?
Sure, the Seahawks lost, 30-16, at home to the Baltimore Ravens on a soggy Sunday afternoon. They lost because Lamar Jackson, Baltimore’s dazzling young quarterback, was faster and better than anyone else in the building, and the hot-take analysis doesn’t really need to dive much further than that.
Where does this leave the Seahawks?
Here’s Russell Wilson:
“The reality is we’re 5-2,” the star quarterback said. “We’re not down in the dumps. We’re focused on what we need to do. We got a road game coming up, got to fly to Atlanta, go there and try to find a way to win there. We have been playing great on the road so far, so hopefully we can do that again. We’re encouraged.”
You want the really rosy outlook?
Here’s Justin Britt:
“We’re 5-2. So let’s end up 14-2, you know, and we’ll be all right,” the veteran center said with a straight face. “Just keep going to work.”
The Seahawks are, yes, 5-2 and now two games behind the San Francisco 49ers (6-0) in a rugged NFC West. There is a lot of season left to play.
And the Seahawks can take some solace in the fact they’ve been here already this season. After their first loss — to the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 22, also at home — they turned around and won their next three.
They’re also 3-0 on the road, with a trip to Atlanta to play the struggling Falcons (1-6).
So, no, they say they’re not panicking.
“The two tough losses that we have had, we haven’t done our best; we’ve had some funky plays here and there,” Wilson said, adding, “We have been playing great all year and we’re not going to change, we’re not going to waver from that.”
For so long, and for so many moments already this season, Seahawks fans have been spoiled by a quarterback who makes the magical look routine, who is at his best when the pressure is molten hot in the fourth quarter.
Sunday, that quarterback was Lamar Jackson of the Ravens (5-2).
The Seahawks got their first up-close glimpse of Jackson, who orchestrated a back-breaking nine-minute drive in the fourth quarter as the Ravens wrestled away any hope of another Wilson comeback.
The big play was a 30-yard run on third-and-eight from Baltimore’s 12-yard line with just more than 11 minutes left in the game. Jackson dropped back to pass, saw an open lane up the middle and took off, sprinting past linebacker Bobby Wagner out to the 42.
Two plays later, Jackson scrambled to his left, cut around three Seattle defenders and gained another 13 yards with his feet.
That was part of a 13-play drive that covered 86 yards, setting up a Justin Tucker field goal that pushed Baltimore’s lead to 23-13 with 3:50 left.
Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner out of Louisville, rushed 14 times for 116 yards and a touchdown to become the first NFL quarterback on record to have back-to-back games with 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus. He also threw for 143 yards, on 9-of-20 passing, with several drops from his receivers.
“He’s faster than we saw him on film,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was able to just find the space and get out of things. There really wasn’t any missed tackles. He just ran around people and found a way.”
Seattle’s defenders said they knew what to expect from Jackson. They knew if they let him, he could run around them all day. They knew what was coming, and he did it anyway. He was that good.
“We had a really good plan going in. It’s just, we didn’t execute it as well as we should have,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “At the same time, that dude is special. He’s really special. He’s probably the only one in this league who could do what he does. So hat’s off to him.”
Much of the buildup to the game Sunday centered on Earl Thomas’ return to Seattle in a Ravens uniform. The headlines coming out will center on Jackson’s sensational showing before 69,012 spectators at CenturyLink Field.
A rare off day from Wilson made Jackson’s performance all the more impressive.
Wilson finished 20 of 41 passing for 241 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating of 65.2 was by far his lowest of the season — he had a passer rating of more than 100 in each of the first six games of the season to vault to the top of the NFL’s MVP conversation in the past week.
Jackson figures to step directly into that conversation now.
Wilson’s interception was his first of the season, and it was especially costly. It came on a flat-footed pass from the pocket to the far right side of the field, attempting to find Jaron Brown next to the Seahawks sideline.
Instead, former University of Washington standout Marcus Peters — in his Baltimore debut — stepped in for the easy takeaway and ran 67 yards untouched for the touchdown, the fifth pick-six of his career.
The Ravens added a second defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter when Seahawks rookie receiver DK Metcalf, looking for extra yards after a catch, fumbled the ball near the Seahawks sideline.
Marlon Humphrey recovered the fumble at the Seattle 18-yard line and returned it for a touchdown, extending the Ravens’ lead to 30-13 with 3:47 left in the game.