New Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas got a few taunts from fans when he showed up to work Sunday morning, including one member of the Seahawks faithful who held up a particularly vexing sign that fired up everyone wearing purple pants.
He left with Russell Wilson’s jersey in hand, swinging it wildly over his head as he ran around the field after a 30-16 victory and a jersey exchange with his former teammate.
“Coming out of the tunnel the first thing you see is, ‘The Ravens are big and slow, like Earl,’” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “That was the first thing I saw. I know he saw it too because it was really big.
“If he didn’t have enough ammo, I think he definitely had some after that.”
That sign even fired up Ravens coach John Harbaugh: “I might have said something to the guy. I can’t remember exactly what it was. I guess we proved that guy wrong, and so did Earl.”
Thomas and the Ravens did it in much the same way The Legion of Boom terrorized opposing offenses when he was a beloved member of the Seahawks.
The Ravens’ most recent acquisition, former University of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters, took Wilson’s first interception of the season back 67 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to keep Baltimore in it. Then Humphrey scooped up a DK Metcalf fumble and returned it 18 yards in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
Thomas said he couldn’t help a few told-you-so moments after the game, though his former teammates appeared to greet him graciously.
“You know I’m going to say something, man,” Thomas said. “I definitely said a little of what I had to say, just between me and them. It felt great to see Marcus run down the sidelines and Marlon scoop that big fumble recovery up and score. That’s a good way to close the game.”
The Ravens held MVP candidate Wilson to 241 yards passing and a very pedestrian 27 yards rushing, limiting the Seahawks to a field goal in the second half. Thomas finished with five tackles and nothing else on the stat sheet, but it was impossible to diminish his presence in the game.
It emboldened the Ravens and inspired caution in the Seahawks.
Look no further than a 7-yard scramble in the first quarter that ended with Wilson sliding at the 8 in front of Thomas, the only defender between him and the end zone.
Did he consider throwing a shifty move at Thomas? Hardly.
“No, I knew it was Earl,” Wilson said. “We looked at each other, we knew. He knew it was me and I knew it was him. Like I said, I wish he was on our team just because he’s such a great player, such a great friend, his family and everything else. But when I got out there I was like, OK, that’s Earl, you know, so …”
“Earl didn’t have much to say. He just wanted to go do,” Harbaugh said. “I think he played great. No big plays (by the Seahawks), nothing over the top (by Wilson). … Sometimes you forget about the safety when he’s doing his job so well.”
It’s hard to forget about Thomas’ time in Seattle. Or Peters’, either.
Both left town under cloudy skies.
Who can forget Thomas’ middle finger, aimed coach Pete Carroll’s way, as he was being carted off the field after breaking his leg against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 30, 2018? That was the very public end of his time in Seattle, and he signed with the Ravens in the offseason.
Peters also made an unceremonious exit from Seattle after getting crossways with his Huskies coaching staff. He was ultimately kicked off the team in November 2014 after he was suspended earlier that season for a sideline tantrum. He played in 34 games for the Huskies, finishing with 129 tackles and 11 interceptions.
He decided to enter the 2015 draft and was taken 18th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was named the 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year after leading the NFL with eight interceptions. And he made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2016. Late in the 2017 season, though, Peters had an on-field meltdown that involved tossing an officials’ flag into the stands.
He was traded to the Rams in the offseason, but also had a rough tenure with Los Angeles. The Rams traded him to Baltimore five days before Sunday’s game after acquiring the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey.
Sunday’s pick-six was his second of the year, making him the first player since 1961 to return an interception for a touchdown for two teams in the same season.
“I try to just live life as it comes, man, try not to complain and just work hard and keep moving forward,” Peters said. “I’m not here to complain. I’m just here to do my job and be an excellent teammate.”
Like Thomas, he’s found a home in a secondary that has real need this season.
“We’ll see how it works out,” Harbaugh said. “I loved him when he came out. The thing about MP that I really appreciate, maybe I’ve always appreciated, is his dad’s a coach. I feel like I can get that. I can understand that a little bit. We’ll see. I don’t see all the stuff that people talk about. I’ve never seen it, and I haven’t seen it since he’s been here. We’ll take him as he comes. He’s a great addition. He’s just what we needed.”