Jimmy Clausen Impresses, Earns Further Starting QB Consideration


Third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen was thrown into a tough position this week.

First, he became the starter after being claimed by the Ravens just three weeks ago.

Second, he made his first start against one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks, who handcuffed him to just 63 total passing yards in a Week 3 matchup when Clausen was a Chicago Bear.

Third, he was throwing to a receiving corps that boasted just one player who was active at the start of the season.

Fourth, he was dropping back behind a banged-up offensive line.

Despite all that, Clausen made a strong impression, good enough to earn consideration as the Ravens' starting quarterback even when Matt Schaub is healthy enough to play.

Clausen posted a career-high 274 passing yards against the Seahawks. He wasn't perfect, as the Ravens scored just six points under his lead and he threw one interception, but Clausen left a positive impression.

"It seemed like he did pretty well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"There were probably some throws he would want back, but going in there, in that situation, and to be under fire like that against the defense we were playing, it speaks very well for him. I'm excited for him."

Schaub was scratched from Sunday's game because he was too banged up from last week's loss in Miami. Clausen said he knew early in the week that he would start.

However, last Monday, Harbaugh clearly stated that with Joe Flacco sidelined (ACL), Schaub is the No. 1 quarterback and Clausen is the No. 2 as long as both are healthy. After Sunday's game, Harbaugh was asked whether the Ravens will consider making a change.

"We'll see," he said. "We'll evaluate it going forward, I guess is the answer, sure."

Clausen looked at the game as an audition.

"Every single time you step foot on the field, you're getting evaluated," he said. "That's my mindset going in every single week because being a back-up or whatever it is, you're always getting evaluated by the head coach, the GM, the scouts, other scouts. That's just the way this league is and the business part of it. So getting the opportunity to go out today and play was great."

Clausen made history Sunday by becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to start against the same team (Seahawks) as a member of two different squads (Ravens and Bears) in the same season. He became the first quarterback to lose both games.

He did not have a good day the last time he went against the Seahawks, completing just 9 of 17 passes for 63 yards. The Bears punted on all 10 of their offensive possessions.

Clausen said playing the Seahawks earlier this year helped a little, but not much because the game plan was totally different. He attempted just 17 passes during the start with the Bears compared to 40 with the Ravens.

Clausen got off to a much better start in his second shot against Seattle. He actually threw for more yards than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the first half, 121 to 178.

Clausen showed good arm strength and made some plays on the move despite getting a lot of pressure behind a patchwork offensive line.

"I thought he made some good throws," Harbaugh said, also commending Clausen for making a lot of changes at the line of scrimmage, per the game plan.

"He was phenomenal in the huddle," left tackle Kelechi Osemele said. "He really commanded a presence in there, made eye contact with pretty much everybody on every play. He was good on the checks. I think he did a great job."

Clausen hit some deep throws with the Ravens' injury-depleted wide receiver corps.

He connected with receiver Jeremy Butler on a 23-yard gain to set up Baltimore's first field goal, then he hit Kamar Aiken on back-to-back receptions of 37 and 21 yards at the end of the half to put the Ravens in position for another field goal.

Clausen had more troubles in the second half, however, especially once Seattle started to pull away and the Ravens were forced to throw the ball more.

The Ravens had just 30 yards on their first three drives and the third drive ended with Clausen throwing a dart directly into the chest of Seattle Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman.

Check out all the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens battle the Seahawks.

Clausen and Baltimore's offense was shut out in the second half. They had a chance to score a touchdown near the end of the fourth quarter on their only strong drive of the half, but Clausen's fourth-down pass was a little too hot to handle for undrafted receiver Daniel Brown.

Clausen said he'll have to watch the tape to evaluate his performance.

"There's some good throws there and some bad throws," he said. "Obviously, the interception I wish I could have back. The fourth down, I wish I could have had that one back. That's the nature of playing the game of football. It's really hard to be perfect on every single throw."

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