A recap of the Seahawks’ 22-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The obvious choice for player of the game is Marshawn Lynch, after he ran for 109 yards and caught a team-high five passes for another 58 yards. But let’s not be so obvious. Let’s include the offensive line and lead-blocking fullback Michael Robinson.
Yes, Lynch was in “Beast Mode,” but his blockers definitely helped unleash the beast – tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter; guards Robert Gallery, John Moffitt and Lemuel Jeanpierre; and center Max Unger.
“I was really proud of the offensive line,” coach Pete Carroll said of a unit that hasn’t received many positive reviews this season. “I thought they played great, protected beautifully today. And when we needed it most, they were able to grab the running game and take five or six minutes off the clock.”
Carroll was referring to the blocker-led, Lynch-fueled final drive from the Seahawks’ 20-yard line to the Ravens’ 16 on the final possession of the game that began with 5:52 to play. Lynch touched ball on eight of the first 10 plays, including seven in a row, before quarterback Tarvaris Jackson took a knee twice to run the final seconds off the clock.
Lynch had 46 of his rushing yards in the fourth quarter and 23 in the third quarter, after getting 35 in the first quarter and only 5 in the second quarter.
Even the linemen had to admit they were inspired by how hard Lynch ran – and runs.
“It’s impressive,” Unger said of Lynch bringing the cliché “moving the pile” to life right before his eyes. “I mean, we know what he’s going to bring. Our play has to be elevated when we see stuff like that and just give it all out. He had a couple of very awesome runs there at the end.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Before Lynch took over on that final drive, Tarvaris Jackson made sure the drive would continue by threading a pass between two defenders to wide receiver Golden Tate for a 24-yard completion on a third-and-5 play. Tate was in the game because Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin had gone out with concussions, but Jackson did not hesitate to go his way with so much hanging in the balance.
Said Jackson, “Golden did a good job of getting open. I just tried to put the ball on him before the safety got there and he was able to make the catch, stay in bounds and keep the clock running.”
Tate, however, said his catch finished third on that completion behind, first, the play call by coordinator Darrell Bevell and, also, the throw by Jackson. And maybe even fourth, because Tate also credited the clearing route run by Mike Williams on the same side for allowing him to get open.
“Great call by coach Bevell,” Tate said. “Tarvaris made a great throw. I just did the easy job – catch the ball and secure the ball. We move the stakes and that was huge for us.”
Defense: The Ravens’ Joe Flacco put the ball up a career-high 52 times, so the Seahawks had ample opportunity to make big plays. But none was bigger than the pass that rookie strongside linebacker K.J. Wright tipped and middle linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted and returned 34 yards to the Ravens’ 4-yard line to setup a field goal that made it 22-7 early in the third quarter.
“Turnovers always are big,” Hawthorne said. “You win the turnover ratio, you’re going to win the game.”
Special teams: Steven Hauschka kicked five field goals, but let’s go with the last one because it tied the franchise single-game record that was set by Norm Johnson in 1987 and then tied by Johnson (1988), Todd Peterson (1999) and Olindo Mare (twice in 2010).
“I know it looks like five kicks was the difference in the game, but there are a lot of plays by a lot of different guys that helped make that happen,” Hauschka said.
The Seahawks lost six players during the game, but the most serious appeared to be knee injury Moffitt got in the first quarter. The rookie right guard is scheduled to have a MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage and how long he might be sidelined.
After Moffitt went out, Jeanpierre stepped in and played well.
In addition to the concussions that Rice (third quarter) and Baldwin (second quarter) got, strong safety Kam Chancellor (fourth quarter) also got one and backup safety Atari Bigby went out in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. So Chris Maragos got ample snaps at safety late in the game.
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove also injured a hamstring in the third quarter.
The Ravens had allowed nine 100-yard rushers in their past 92 games, but Lynch became the 10th.
Lynch carried a career-high 32 times – eight shy of Shaun Alexander’s franchise record – to get his 109 yards.
The Seahawks forced three turnovers – their second-highest total this season. In addition to Hawthorne’s interception, Michael Robinson and Malcolm Smith forced fumbles on kickoff returns that were recovered by Atari Bigby and Ben Obomanu.
The Seahawks won time of possession for the second consecutive week – and only second time this season – with a season-best 35:01.
Free safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Leroy Hill led the Seahawks with eight tackles.
The Seahawks got their hands on 10 of Flacco’s passes, including three by cornerback Brandon Browner.
Smith, a rookie linebacker, got the Seahawks’ only sack – his first in the NFL. He also had two tackles on special teams.
The Ravens averaged 6.3 yards rushing, but ran the ball just 12 times.
The Ravens’ Ray Rice ran for 27 yards, caught eight passes for 54 yards and also threw a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Ed Dickson, who had 10 catches for 79 yards.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m glad we had a chance to celebrate with our fans today, and they were fantastic again. The 12th MAN was extraordinary today. It was a beautiful day working with them and playing with them. You can’t have more fun coaching football than when you’re coaching at this place. So it was really special.” – Carroll