BALTIMORE (AP) — Pete Carroll walked into his postgame news conference looking like a man who had just witnessed a perplexing accident.
It had been years since his Seattle Seahawks had been defeated so soundly, and the manner in which the first-place team stumbled through Sunday's 37-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday almost defied belief.
“Well, this is about as unfamiliar as you can get,” Carroll said, “coming out East and playing a game on the road like this — not being able to play football the way we need to.”
The Seahawks (5-3) had won five of six and allowed an average of just 12.5 points in their previous three games. The offense was clicking, too, with Geno Smith passing well and the running game gaining steam behind the tandem of Kenneth Walker III and rookie Zach Charbonnet.
None of that mattered to the Ravens, who ripped up Seattle's defense for 515 yards and shut down the Seahawks offensively, allowing only 28 yards rushing and just six first downs overall in addition to picking off a pass and scooping up a fumble.
“It was just a really long hard day against a really good team. They took it to us," Carroll said. "Up until this game, it took us to first place, whatever the heck we’ve been doing. We didn’t play like a first-place team today. With those kind of turnovers, it’s really hard to win."
If their mistakes were only turnovers, the Seahawks still might have kept it close. But they tackled poorly, couldn't protect Smith and were called for five penalties, the most notable an unforgivable jump into the neutral zone by Dre'Mont Jones on a fourth-and-1 in the third quarter. That extended a 13-play drive by Baltimore that produced a field goal and a 23-3 lead.
“That stinks. That’s bad football,” Carroll said of Jones' blunder.
Smith, meanwhile, was constantly harassed in the pocket. He completed only 13 of 28 passes for 157 yards, was sacked four times and had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
“I don’t think this is about Geno at all. Our football team did not answer the bell here. We couldn’t get it done,” Carroll said. “We came in here to slug it out and they did a better job than we did.”
Smith was impressed with the Ravens' pass rush and coverage in the secondary, but figured the Seahawks helped make Baltimore look good.
“I think we made it easy on them with the mistakes we made, and they capitalized on them. You’ve got to play disciplined football to win, and today we didn’t do it,” the quarterback said. “It sucks. We were looking forward to this matchup and I just feel like today we didn’t play our best football.”
Seattle converted only one of 12 third-down plays, mustered only 151 net yards and held the ball less than 20 minutes compared to 40-plus minutes for Baltimore.
Speaking specifically about the offense's repeated failure on third down, Smith said: “Just not good enough. Terrible. That’s not going to get us anywhere.”
It all added up to the Seahawks' most lopsided defeat since a 42-7 rout by the Los Angeles Rams in December 2017.
No wonder Carroll found this galling defeat so unusual. But the key for Seattle now is to make sure the sting from this loss doesn't linger.
“This game’s already over with and done. We can’t do anything about this one,” Carroll said. "It’s what we do when we come back on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to get back on track and not let this define us.
“This is a big deal. With the leadership we have, I know that we will get the right message out there and then we have to act on it. We’ll see if we can pull it off.”
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