Ravens' comeback streak ends in Seattle
Three comebacks in the row? Why not? That's how the Baltimore Ravens have been winning recently, and after three turnovers at CenturyLink...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Three comebacks in the row? Why not?
That's how the Baltimore Ravens have been winning recently, and after three turnovers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the stage was set for another in Seattle.
The trend of late dramatics started two weeks ago against Arizona, when Baltimore made up a 21-point deficit for the biggest comeback in franchise history. Last week, it came down to the final minute in a theatrical win at division rival Pittsburgh.
On Sunday, the Ravens would need a late stop from their vaunted defense to have a shot at three in a row, but they never saw the ball in the final 5:52 to lose 22-17.
"Man, there's the hard way, there's the easy way, and there's the way we do it," said linebacker Terrell Suggs. "It's like, 'Let's see how much we can spot 'em before we can come back and win the game again,' you know? It's terrible. You can't do that in this league."
The sloppy play started on special teams, where kick returner David Reed fumbled twice in the first half to set up Seattle drives inside Baltimore's 20-yard line. Those resulted in two field goals as the Seahawks built a 19-7 halftime lead.
Reed didn't fumble in 13 games last season.
"That's why you lose football games," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, a former special-teams coach.
Baltimore's offense set up another Seattle field goal early in the second half when quarterback Joe Flacco was intercepted by linebacker David Hawthorne, who almost returned it for a touchdown.
A minus-three turnover differential left the Ravens little margin for error.
"When you don't come out and play the way you need to from the very beginning, and you leave yourselves in that kind of position, you have to be perfect," said Flacco, who had a career-high 52 pass attempts. "It's tough to do that on a weekly basis."
The defense also carried some responsibility for the loss. One of the most productive and feared units in the NFL didn't get any takeaways and allowed more than 100 yards rushing to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
And in the most critical moments of the game, Baltimore couldn't get off the field on Seattle's game-clinching final drive, which included four first downs.
"We consider ourselves a veteran defense, a championship defense, a very stingy defense and we gave them a lot of help beating us," said Suggs.
The loss tightened a three-team race for the AFC North lead. The Ravens, who were looking to retain their lead in the division, sit at 6-3, tied with Cincinnati behind the 7-3 Steelers. Baltimore hosts the Bengals in a crucial game next week.
An opportunity missed will have its consequences, according to Harbaugh.
"We understand we're going to be the target of a lot of criticism," he said. "We understand that it's going to be local; we understand it's going to be national. ... We have to play our best football. We take full responsibility for this loss, we know that."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @joshuamayers
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