SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks under coach Pete Carroll have long established a fourth quarter-winning style, using their patented wear-you-down, physical brand of football.
Seattle was on the receiving end of a late, soul-crushing put-away drive Sunday against dynamic second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, and the Seahawks suffered a 30-16 loss on a rainy afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
When it mattered most, Jackson — embodying Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s remarkable magician-like improvisation — used his legs to extend drives and gash Seattle’s defense for long second-half gains.
“I thought Lamar Jackson was phenomenal,” Carroll said. “It wasn’t on their designed runs, it was on the scramble runs that he was so explosive, and he’s faster than he looked.”
Jackson completed just nine of 20 passes for 143 yards, but he ran for a game-high 116 yards and a touchdown on 14 rushes. Baltimore running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards added a combined 81 yards rushing.
“I always wanted to play against Michael Vick,” Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said. “I guess I’m getting the new era with Lamar Jackson right there. … He’s still a great player, did his thing and won the game.”
Seattle (5-2) couldn’t solve Jackson during the second half, but two turnovers resulting in Baltimore touchdowns were especially costly.
Wilson ended his franchise-record streak of consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception at 220 when he threw a late and lazy ball to the far boundary with Seattle in front 7-6 in the second quarter. The ball was picked off by new Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters, who returned it 67 yards for a score.
“Russell’s play, just a mistake and he knows it,” Carroll said. “He just went late to the flat and couldn’t do it.”
Rookie receiver DK Metcalf added a crippling blunder late in the fourth quarter when he fumbled trying to switch the ball from one hand to another. Ravens’ defensive back Marlon Humphrey scooped the ball off the turf and returned it 18 yards for a game-sealing touchdown.
The loss came during Ravens safety Earl Thomas’ return to Seattle. Thomas, who was a gem in Carroll and general manager John Schneider’s first draft class (2010), finished with five tackles. Thomas and Wilson exchanged jerseys postgame.
“Today was big, man,” Thomas said. “My teammates been telling me all week they had my back, and it felt good for them guys to show up how they did today. It felt so good to get that win, to come here against an MVP-type quarterback.”
Seattle’s defense, with defensive tackle Jarran Reed back from a six-game suspension and rookie safety Marquise Blair earning his first start with Bradley McDougald out with an injury, limited the Ravens’ offense to six first-half points.
Seattle’s offense also found success during the first two quarters, routinely putting together promising drives. But Baltimore yielded just three second-half points and leaned on Jackson’s legs to spark its second-half offense.
Seattle running back Chris Carson, who was coming off three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts, finished with 65 yards on 21 attempts. Wilson had his second lowest passing output of the year, completing 20 of 41 attempts for 241 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Tyler Lockett led the receiving corps with 61 yards and a TD on five catches.
After an opening-drive, 29-yard field goal by Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, Seattle took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter with an 83-yard, six-minute drive. Wilson, on a third-and-3 from Baltimore’s 8-yard line, connected with Lockett in the right side of the end zone after buying enough time to evade the Ravens’ pass rush.
Tucker and Seahawks kicker Jason Myers exchanged field goals for a 10-6 Seahawks lead with 7:35 remaining in the second. Tucker made a 28-yarder before Myers answered with a 34-yarder.
Seattle was on the move looking for more points before halftime when Wilson made his critical mistake. A bad decision and 67 yards later, Peters’ interception put Baltimore in front 13-10 with 5:00 to play until halftime.
“Just made a bad play,” Wilson said. “They obviously made the play and took it back to the house.”
The Seahawks responded well. They answered with a 14-play, 79-yard drive ending with a Myers 31-yard field goal. The score tied the game at 13 with 2 seconds remaining in the half.
Jackson used his legs to give the Ravens a 20-13 lead with 1:20 to play in the third quarter. After Baltimore drove 49 yards to Seattle’s 8-yard line, Jackson took a fourth-and-two carry off the right side and knifed thought the Seahawks’ defense for an 8-yard TD run. The drive came after Myers missed a 53-yard field goal wide right midway through the third.
Nursing its seven-point lead with 12:47 to go in the fourth quarter, Baltimore put together what felt like a game-clinching, 9-minute scoring drive. Tucker made a 22-yard field goal that gave the Ravens a 23-13 lead with 3:47 to play. Jackson was dynamic on the drive, ad-libbing and scrambling for runs of 30 and 13 yards.
“Heck yeah,” said Jackson, when asked if it was special to get the win for Thomas. “I told him, I said, ‘We going to win for you.’ I told him, ‘I know you been here for years, this was your original home and we got your back. I’m going to put you on my back, put the team on my back if I got to and we are going to win.’”
Baltimore quickly ended Seattle’s comeback bid on the following drive’s first play when Baltimore scored on Metcalf’s fumble. Humphrey’s scoop-and-score gave Baltimore a commanding 30-13 lead with 3:37 remaining.
“The reality is we are 5-2,” Wilson said. “We’re not down in the dumps. We’re focused on what we need to do. … We had some unfortunate plays in the game. Take those away, the game’s going to be a lot different.”
Seattle has a chance for a get-right game next week against the Atlanta Falcons (1-6). The kickoff is slated for 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27.