With a terrible first half (2-6) behind them, the Seahawks are going to pretend they are 0-0 to start the second half. Now that’s what you call fantasy football.
The Seahawks will attempt to put a horrid first half behind them when they launch the season’s second half by attempting to beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Since the Seahawks can’t make wholesale roster changes, a turnaround seems unlikely (Seahawks have been outscored by 63 points), especially one that would have to start with Baltimore, a team many consider the best club in the AFC North.
The game will match one of the NFL’s lamest offenses (Seattle) vs. a Ravens defense that features future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. This is how Seahawks’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson described it:
“They try to bully you and come and try to hit you in the mouth,” said Jackson. “Like my coaches have said the whole week, What more could you ask for? You know what youre going to get. So weve just got to prepare for it. Its going to be fun. Its football, so thats what you really expect guys trying to hit you in the mouth, guys trying to bully you. Its a contact sport and youre going to have collisions out there I can promise you that.
Jackson is coming off his worst performance of the season, just 17 completions with three interceptions and no touchdowns in a 23-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
I felt real bad after the Dallas game,” said Jackson. “I felt like it was my fault. If I had done a better job of taking care of the football especially the first one (interception), it was kind of a fluke interception, but it still happened and it still counts. So I just try to tell myself weve got eight more games, its a whole new season and Ill just try to start over. Ill try to do what I can to help this team go undefeated in the second half.
About the second half, Jackson said, You can take what you learned from the first half and just try to use it in the second half. The mistakes you made dont try and make those same mistakes and just build on it. But we feel like were starting over in the second half of the season. Were a 2-6 team, but were kind of coming in looking at it like were 0-0 and just trying to go undefeated.
RIVALRY: Sunday’s game will mark the fourth meeting between the Ravens (AFC North) and Seahawks. It will also mark the second time that Baltimore has appeared at CenturyLink Field, and the first time since 2007.
LAST MEETING: On Dec. 23, 2007, the Seahawks outscored the Ravens 21-0 in the second quarter en route to a 27-7 victory. Matt Hasselbeck threw touchdown passes of 21 yards to Nate Burleson and 14 yards to Shaun Alexander. The Seahawks ran for 144 yards against Baltimore’s No. 2-ranked run defense. The Ravens got their only touchdown on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Troy Smith, making his first NFL start, to Derrick Mason.
LAST WEEK: Marshawn Lynch had his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season (135), but the Seahawks fell to the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, TX., 23-13. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had his worst game of the year, throwing three interceptions. The Ravens traveled to Pittsburgh and knocked off the Steelers 23-20 when quarterback Joe Flacco capped a 92-yard drive with a 26-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith with eight seconds to play.
TRENDS: The Seahawks have dropped three in a row and four of their past five. The Seahawks have not had a four-game losing streak since they lost the final four of the 2009 season, Jim Mora Jr.’s only year as head coach. The Ravens have won two in a row and five of their past six.
COACHES: Pete Carroll is in his second season as head coach of the Seahawks. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven national championships.
John Harbaugh: Harbaugh has been head coach of the Ravens since 2008. Before his assignment in Baltimore, Harbaugh coached defensive backs for the Philadelphia Eagles and served as the Eagles special teams coach for nine years. Harbaugh coached collegiately at Western Michigan (1984-87), Pittsburgh (1987), Morehead State (1988), Cincinnati (1989-96) and Indiana (1997). Harbaugh and his younger brother, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, are the first pair of brothers to serve as head coaches in NFL history.
STATS: The Seahawks rank 29th in the NFL in total offense (296.1), 30th in rushing offense (88.3), 23rd in passing offense an 28th in points per game. Seattle’s numbers are much more favorable defensively, the Seahawks ranking 16th in total defense (352.8), 13th in rushing defense (110.4) and 18th in pass defense (242.4) . . . The Seahawks have allowed just 50 second-half points. That total includes four touchdowns, tied for the fewest TDs allowed in the second half . . . The Seahawks have been penalized 70 times, including 10 times against Dallas last week. Seattle is on a pace to become the most-penalized team in franchise history: The 1984 Seahawks were penalized 128 times . . . Baltimore’s Joe Flacco comes in with a 76.9 passer rating, the worst of his career . . . Flacco, a first-round pick out of Delaware in 2008, has never faced the Seahawks.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: On paper, this should be about the worst match-up for the listless Seahawks:
A ferocious defense led by all-pro Ray Lewis aiming to pound semi-injured Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson to the sidelines, complemented by an offense led by resilient QB Joe Flacco, who was un-intimidated by the Pittsburgh crowd in a big win Monday night.
The only shot for the Seahawks is that the short week, the long plane ride and the disregard for the hosts will leave the Ravens heavy-lidded.
The Ravens undoubtedly will be emotionally flat. But not that flat. Baltimore 24, Seahawks 10.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: Except for what now seems like a fluke performance against the New York Giants (Seahawks won 36-25), the Seahawks have managed to assemble one of the worst offenses in their 35-year history.
When they get a passing game going, their running game stalls. When their running game works, they can’t pass. Frequently, the Seahawks combine a no-pass, no-run offense, which is why they’re 2-6 and have been outscored by 63 points this season.
Only four teams have a worse scoring differential. I don’t expect much will change against the Ravens, although some of the Seahawks talked this week about pretending they are 0-0 and starting over brand new for the second half.
Seattle’s only chance Sunday is if Baltimore overlooks the Seahawks and focuses instead on Cincinnati, also 6-2 in the AFC North. But there’s not much chance of that. Baltimore 21, Seahawks 13.
FOOD DRIVE: The Seahawks, News Talk KIRO 97.3 FM, Seahawks Women’s Association and Northwest Harvest are encouraging fans to bring nonperishable food or cash donations to the game. Volunteers will be available at all gates and at Touchdown City to accept contributions. Northwest Harvest is the only non-profit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of more than 325 food banks, meal programs and high-need elementary schools. Northwest Harvest provides more than 1.6 million meals every month to this network.
COMING UP: Next Sunday (Nov. 20), the Seahawks play the first of two against NFC West rival St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome, then return for three consecutive games at CenturyLink Field against the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Rams. The second game against St. Louis is Monday night, Dec. 12. Seattle plays two of its final three (at Chicago on Dec. 18 and at Arizona on Jan. 1) on the road.
2011 Seahawks Schedule/Results
|9/11/11||at San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||L||33-17||0-1|
|9/18/11||at Pittsburgh||10 a.m.||FOX||L||24-0||0-2|
|9/25/11||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||W||13-10||1-2|
|10/2/11||vs. Atlanta||1:05 p.m.||FOX||L||30-28||1-3|
|10/9/11||at N.Y. Giants||10 a.m.||FOX||W||36-25||2-3|
|10/23/11||at Cleveland||10 a.m.||FOX||L||6-3||2-4|
|10/30/11||vs. Cincinnati||1:15 p.m.||CBS||L||34-12||2-5|
|11/6/11||at Dallas||10 a.m.||FOX||L||23-13||2-6|
|11/13/11||vs. Baltimore||1:05 p.m.||CBS||—||—||—|
|11/20/11||at St. Louis||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|11/27/11||vs. Washington||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/1/11||vs. Philadelphia||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||—||—||—|
|12/12/11||vs. St. Louis||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||—||—||—|
|12/18/11||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/24/11||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|1/1/12||at Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|