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Ravens at Steelers Game Highlights
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The Ravens' three losses this year have now come in Tennessee, in Jacksonville and in Seattle. Those teams had a combined record of 3-12 when the Ravens played them.
It's an unusual trend for Baltimore, who had only once lost to a sub-.500 team in three years under Harbaugh entering this season.
All three losses have also come on the heels of big wins – against Pittsburgh twice and versus Houston.
Cornerback Cary Williams said he "can't explain it." He wasn't alone.
"You've got to win those games to be one of those elite teams like we're claiming to be," safety Ed Reed said.
"If we're claiming to be that team, we've got to come out and play week to week. It can't be elite one week and then unnecessary roughness the next week. It's got to be every time."
There is a common denominator in all three losses – turnovers and bad starts.
The Ravens turned the ball over three times in Tennessee. They had two turnovers in Jacksonville and didn't get a first down until there was about six minutes left in the third quarter. Baltimore had three turnovers in Seattle and trailed by 12 at haltime.
The trend is keeping the Ravens from pulling away from the other AFC playoff contenders.
With Pittsburgh beating Cincinnati on the road earlier in the day, the Steelers (7-3) are now back in first place in the AFC North. The Ravens are tied for second with the Bengals, who they will face next week.
"We had an opportunity here to do something, to separate ourselves a little bit in the division. We didn't take advantage of it."
Even with all their mistakes, the Ravens had a chance to win.
They made a furious late-game push and looked to be positioning themselves for another comeback victory similar to when they came from 21 down against the Arizona Cardinals and then beat Pittsburgh with eight seconds left.
In Seattle the comeback trend looked to continue when the Ravens scored on an Ed Dickson touchdown with five minutes, 52 seconds remaining to pull to five-points down.
But the offense never got the ball back again.
Seattle marched 72 yards and converted on two key third downs to run out the rest of the clock.
"You've got to get off the field on third down," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We've done that time and time again. … We consider ourselves a veteran defense, a championship defense, a very stingy defense. We gave them a lot of help beating us today."
The Ravens dug themselves into an early hole largely because of a poor showing by the special teams.
After fumbling once in Pittsburgh, kickoff returner David Reed fumbled twice in Seattle and had a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – all in the first half. His two fumbles led to two Seattle field goals.
Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff also continued his trend of missing from over 50 yards. He made one in Pittsburgh last week, but missed twice from long distance in Seattle.
He was short from 51 yards on Baltimore's first drive, killing early momentum. Then he was wide right on one from 52 yards at the end of the half, eliminating what would have been a positive push into the locker room. Cundiff is now 1-of-6 from over 50 yards this year.
"We think that we can make the difference on special teams," Cundiff said. "Some turnovers, some penalties and things of that nature, that's just not how we do things.
"I've got to make those kicks. That's my job."
Seattle rode the back of running back Marshawn Lynch, who finished with 32 rushes for 109 yards and a touchdown and five receptions for 58 yards.
In the first quarter, he caught two passes for 44 yards to set up a one-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 lead. He was also critical in Seattle's final drive to seal the game, juking out Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson on an outside pass.
"He carried that offense," Ngata said. "He's a great running back."
Reed had his first fumble on the kickoff after Seattle's first touchdown, which only exacerbated Baltimore's problems and got CenturyLink Field even louder. Seattle turned it into a 22-yard field goal and 10-point lead.
Baltimore got off the turf on the next drive thanks to Dickson, who made six catches for 49 yards (including two leaping third-down grabs) on the drive.
The Ravens capped it off with a touchdown on a creative halfback pass by Ray Rice to a wide-open Dickson, who finished with 10 receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
It was the first time Baltimore had some positive vibes and it would be the last of the first half.
Seattle came back with a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Doug Baldwin after mobile quarterback Tarvaris Jackson eluded Baltimore's pass rush. That set up a 38-yard field goal from Hauschka – who notched five field goals against his former team – and extended the Seahawks' lead to 13-7.
After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Reed on the ensuing kickoff, Baltimore's backed-up offense went three-and-out and Sam Koch shanked the punt. Seattle drove down the field and hit a 39-yard field goal.
Reed's day just continued to go south. He was uprooted and fumbled on the resulting kickoff for a second time. The defense once again held Seattle to a field goal, but it extended the Seahawks' lead to 19-7.
The Ravens had a good two-minute drive going, but Cundiff's wide-right 52-yarder sent them into halftime with a 12-point deficit. Baltimore was fortunate it didn't trail by more.
The second half started just as horribly as the first one ended.
Quarterback Joe Flacco was picked off on a deflected slant pass by linebacker David Hawthorne. That led to a 30-yard field goal and a 22-7 lead.
Flacco and the offense went almost exclusively to the air. Flacco, who set a personal single-game career-high with 52 attempts, drove the Ravens down the field but they had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Cundiff.
Aided by three Seattle penalties, Baltimore moved down the field again midway through the fourth quarter and ultimately scored on a second touchdown pass to Dickson.
The offense never saw the ball again, however, as Seattle milked the clock after converting two key third-and-5s on its final drive to seal the win.
The first, from Seattle's own 25-yard line, was a 24-yard gain to wide receiver Golden Tate, who got behind nickel cornerback Chris Carr. They did it again on an eight-yard swing pass to Lynch.
"I'm disgusted to lose like this," Suggs said. "But we've got to get over it. Next week we've got a big division game against a dangerous Cincinnati team. We'll be ready."