SEATTLE – The most important drive didn’t produce any points. It just proved one. The Seahawks held on for the final 5 minutes, 52 seconds of Sunday’s game against Baltimore. They held on to the ball against one of the league’s best defenses, and they held on to a 22-17 lead for a most unlikely victory in what has been an underwhelming season.
Seattle didn’t score on that possession. It didn’t have to after Marshawn Lynch touched the ball on seven consecutive plays and gained three consecutive first downs. When quarterback Tarvaris Jackson took a knee to run out the clock, it showed these Seahawks are capable of progress.
“Coaches love nothing more than to get that situation in the fourth quarter and be able to run the clock out,” Pete Carroll said. “Think about who we did it against.”
It was Baltimore, which entered the game 6-2 and has ranked among the league’s top five rush defenses for five years running (or not running, as the case may be). The Seahawks stood toe-to-toe with that carnivorous Baltimore front seven at CenturyLink Field, and Seattle didn’t just hold its ground, it made headway at the end.
“To finish it like that when the game is on the line,” tight end Zach Miller said, “that speaks volumes about how far our offense has come along and the mentality we want to have when we run the football.”
In the NFL, that possession game is referred to as the four-minute drill. The Seahawks performed it so well, they actually held on for nearly six minutes and closed out a game they seemed determined to give Baltimore a chance to win.
The reality is, it shouldn’t have been that close. Baltimore committed three turnovers, all in its own half of the field. Ravens returner David Reed fumbled two kickoffs in the first half, and linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted a third-quarter pass from Joe Flacco and returned it inside the Baltimore 10-yard line. Those three turnovers led to a grand total of nine points for the Seahawks.
Seattle had the ball inside the Baltimore 25 six times and scored one touchdown. The Seahawks did connect on five field goals.
The Ravens cut Seattle’s lead to five points after tight end Ed Dickson scored on an 11-yard pass from Flacco with 5:52 to play.
Baltimore trailed by four points in Pittsburgh a week earlier with 2:24 to play and came back to win, and that was against the Steelers. So trailing 22-17 with almost six minutes to go in Seattle, Flacco felt even better.
“We were in a lot better position than we were last week,” Flacco said.
They would have been. If the Ravens had ever gotten the ball back. The Seahawks began the drive with two consecutive penalties, but facing a third-down-and-five, Jackson threw to Golden Tate for a 24-yard gain. Lynch was handed the ball on the next seven plays.
“We didn’t get the stop we needed at the end,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said.
And after Lynch had brought the Ravens to their knees, the Seahawks were able to take one. Jackson knelt on the final two plays of the game.
Sea—Lynch 1 run (Hauschka kick)
Sea—FG Hauschka 22
Bal—Dickson 1 pass from Rice (Cundiff kick)
Sea—FG Hauschka 38
Sea—FG Hauschka 39
Sea—FG Hauschka 35
Sea—FG Hauschka 30
Bal—FG Cundiff 35
Bal—Dickson 11 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick)
|Total Net Yards||323||327|
|Time of Possession||24:59||35:01|
RUSHING—Baltimore, Rice 5-27, D.Reed 1-16, T.Smith 1-16, R.Williams 3-8, Flacco 2-8. Seattle, Lynch 32-109, Washington 3-9, Jackson 5-3, Forsett 1-3, Tate 1-(minus 5).
PASSING—Baltimore, Flacco 29-52-1-255, Rice 1-1-0-1. Seattle, Jackson 17-27-0-217.
RECEIVING—Baltimore, Dickson 10-79, Rice 8-54, Pitta 4-49, T.Smith 3-28, R.Williams 3-24, Boldin 2-22. Seattle, Lynch 5-58, Tate 3-46, Miller 3-24, A.McCoy 2-15, Rice 2-14, Baldwin 1-50, Obomanu 1-10.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Baltimore, Cundiff 50 (SH), 52 (WR).
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