The Ravens pass defense didn't show the same improvement Sunday that it seemed to make over the last month.
The unit had clamped down on big plays and allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL (164 yards per game) in their last four outings.
But then the red-hot Seattle Seahawks came to town, and quarterback Russell Wilson lit up Baltimore's secondary. The Seahawks had success on the ground and with big plays through the air, and Wilson finished the day with five passing touchdowns in their 35-6 victory.* *
"It was bad," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It has to be better than that. It's no individual guy's fault, it's just not as good as it needs to be. I'll take responsibility for that. We have to play way, way better pass defense."
Pinpointing the problems on a day where the defense gave up five touchdowns is more complicated than just calling out a player or even a specific group. The pass rush generated hardly any pressure on Wilson, who wasn't sacked all day, and then the defensive backs had problems of their own.
Some of the mistakes were breakdowns in communication, and other times the Seahawks just won individual matchups. * *
"It was all of that," Harbaugh said. "We had assignment issues, we had technique issues."
The lapses created opportunities for the Seahawks to hit big plays over the top. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin did much of the damage, catching six passes for 82 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Tyler Lockett also had 104 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a 49-yard grab.
"I can't pinpoint it," safety Kendrick Lewis said. "There are some corrections that need to be made, obviously, on the big plays, but that's what we've got practice and watch film for. We'll get back to the drawing board and correct those things before it happens to us again."
Wilson finished the game completing 23 of his 32 passes for 292 yards and the five scores. The result was reminiscent of what the Ravens saw from their defense earlier in the season, as quarterbacks Josh McCown, Colin Kaepernick, Derek Carr, Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton all topped 300 passing yards in their games against the Ravens.
Having the issues creep up again so late in the season was frustrating for Harbaugh and the defense as a whole.* *
"We shouldn't have them, for sure," Harbaugh said. "You feel like the last four weeks that we cleaned a lot of that stuff up – four to six weeks – that we were covering tighter, and we did a better job. The fact that it showed up in this game was very disappointing."