For Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, the math is simple.
The difference in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to Baltimore, for him, came down to the Seahawks’ two turnovers, which led directly to 14 points for the Ravens. And when you lose by 14 points, well, yeah, the math is indeed pretty simple.
“It was a game that had a chance to go right down to the nub, but it didn’t because we gave them two big scores,” Carroll said. “Whenever you lose the turnover ratio, you’re in trouble. If you lose the turnover ratio and they score with them, then it’s almost impossible.”
The Seahawks’ defense had four takeaways last week in a victory at Cleveland, and didn’t have any Sunday against the Ravens. Seattle is now plus-two on the season in turnover margin.
OK, some grades from Sunday:
Russell Wilson is mortal.
That, more than anything, is probably the biggest takeaway from Sunday’s loss. Wilson completed 20 of 41 passes for 241 yards with one touchdown and one interception, finishing with a season-low passer rating of 65.2.
He came into the game leading the NFL with a passer rating of 124.7 through the first six games. Sunday was his first game with a rating under 100 this season.
Wilson also threw his first interception of the season — which ex-Husky Marcus Peters returned 67 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
“Obviously just made a bad play,” Wilson said. “Just disappointing. Good player over there and he made a good play.”
Wilson did have a spectacular touchdown throw to Tyler Lockett — edit: yet another spectacular touchdown throw to Tyler Lockett — but he was far from the near-perfect QB he’d shown in the first six weeks of the season, and with as good as Lamar Jackson was for Baltimore, the Seahawks needed that version of Wilson to hang close.
Hard as they tried, the Seahawks could never get much going with Chris Carson.
Carson had 21 carries, but netted just 65 yards on those runs, matching his season low with a 3.1-yard-per-carry average. He also had three catches for 9 yards.
Rashaad Penny was active after working his way back from a hamstring injury but he did not have any carries or targets. C.J. Prosise gained 17 yards on his one carry.
The bad outweighed the good for the receivers.
DK Metcalf was targeted nine times — and had a nice 37-yard grab up the left sideline while also being held by the defender — but had just four catches on those nine targets. He also fumbled for the first time in his career, late in the fourth quarter, which Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey scooped up and returned for a touchdown.
“I was just trying to switch the ball (to his left hand) and it came out. I just have to do better on my end,” Metcalf said.
Lockett was a bright spot, as usual, with two terrific catches — the TD grab in the first half and an over-the-shoulder catch in the middle of the field.
Jaron Brown had one 48-yard catch (that’s good), but also dropped a sure touchdown at the goal line on a sweet cross-field throw from Wilson (that’s bad).
Will Dissly’s absence in the red zone was particularly felt in the first half, when the Seahawks had to settle for two field goals.
As Carroll hinted last week, expect the Seahawks to be active in the next week or so in looking to bolster the position.
Joey Hunt was used as an extra blocking tight end a few times Sunday, the first game since losing Dissly to a season-ending Achilles injury. Jacob Hollister, on the practice squad two weeks ago, had his first three catches of the season, for 20 yards; Luke Willson was targeted once and didn’t have any receptions.
Baltimore is the most aggressive defense in the NFL — blitzing upwards of 60% of the time coming into Sunday — and that pressure was always going to present some unique issues for a Seattle offensive line missing veteran left tackle Duane Brown.
The Ravens were credited with one sack and eight hits on Wilson, who never seemed to get completely comfortable in the pocket.
“They did absolutely everything in their books, which we thought they would,” center Justin Britt said. “So we were prepared. We just didn’t quite execute the way we wanted to.
“Obviously,” he added, “Russ got hit quite a bit today, and he was scrambling. So I think we did OK. I don’t think we did great.”
George Fant started in Brown’s place for the second straight week, and Jamarco Jones made his second start at right guard, despite D.J. Fluker (hamstring) being active.
Carroll said last week he hoped to have Brown back ahead of this week’s trip to Atlanta.
The return of Jarran Reed from a six-game suspension didn’t quite have the domino effect the Seahawks had hoped it would across the defensive line.
But, to be fair, that probably speaks to the challenges of trying to contain a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, who might have been the fastest player on the field. The Seahawks had only one sack — and that was credited to Branden Jackson after Lamar Jackson slipped on the turf in the backfield — but it’s not like the Ravens are a typical drop-back team, so the “pressure” numbers will be a little skewed.
Jadeveon Clowney was as active as he’s been all season, and he had one early tackle for loss. Ziggy Ansah tested out his injured ankle before the game but did not play.
The Ravens came into the game with the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense and No. 2 scoring offense, averaging just over 30 points per game. The Seahawks’ red-zone defense was stout early, holding the Ravens to two field goals in the first half.
But this game ultimately came down to the ability, or inability, of the Seahawks’ mid-line defenders to bring down Lamar Jackson. When it mattered most, they couldn’t do it.
That shouldn’t raise any alarm bells, though. Jackson was just that good, and as Bobby Wagner (13 tackles) said afterward, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a great performance.
Bradley McDougald’s streak of 31 consecutive starts came to an end as he sat out with back spasms. And Lano Hill missed his first game with an elbow injury.
In McDougald’s place, rookie Marquise Blair made his first start — and made a pretty good first impression. The Seahawks believe the rookie out of Utah is a long-term solution at safety and he did nothing to alter that thinking.
Free safety Tedric Thompson continued to struggle with the deep ball — he was beat on a 50-yard pass play on the game’s opening drive. Otherwise, it felt like at least a solid performance from a thin secondary, and a nice step forward for right corner Tre Flowers, who had one big hit and one diving pass breakup.
A decent day for the special teams. Jason Myers made both of his field goals in the first half, from 34 and 31 yards, and another from 35 yards in garbage time. In between, he missed from 53 in the third quarter.
Michael Dickson, after a sluggish start to the season, averaged 51.3 yards on his three punts.