Ravens secondary no match for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks

The Ravens failed the test — and they failed miserably.

It was a repeat performance from earlier in the season. The players in the secondary couldn't cover. They couldn't tackle. They failed to communicate and looked lost at times. If the Ravens were thinking this group had improved during the past five weeks, they better think again.


In fact, it's time to stop thinking about this season and begin preparing for the future. When the NFL draft rolls around in the spring, the Ravens should think pass rusher or cornerback with the No. 1 pick.

All other needs are secondary.


Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson torched the Ravens Sunday, completing 23 of 32 passes for 292 yards and five touchdowns. Four of those touchdown receptions were basically uncontested as Wilson finished with a quarterback rating of 139.6.

"It was awful," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the coverage. "We had a timing issue, technique issue. We didn't match up correctly on the bunch route. We had two guys playing one way, one guy playing another way. It was bad. 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."

It had to be disappointing for Harbaugh, as well as defensive coordinator Dean Pees, because all last week they talked about how the Ravens' play in the secondary had improved from earlier in the year, and how the Ravens had stepped up their game in the past five weeks.

But maybe that was an attempt to boost confidence with Wilson coming to town. In four of the past five weeks, the Ravens played the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. They faced quarterbacks Case Keenum, Ryan Tannehill and Josh McCown.

On Sunday, they got one of the league's hottest quarterbacks in Wilson. They might also see Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton in the next couple of weeks, although Dalton reportedly could miss the rest of the regular season with a thumb injury on his throwing hand Sunday.

But you get the picture.

"I don't know if surprised is the right word," Harbaugh said when talking about the continued problems this late in the season. "We shouldn't have them, for sure. You feel like the last four weeks that we cleaned a lot of that stuff up — four to six weeks — that we're covering tighter and we did a better job."

There is enough blame to go around. The Ravens apparently don't have the skill to match up with teams that have good receivers, and they also don't have the necessary intelligence or the communication skills.


How many times on third-and-short did Seattle have success running the pick play with the slot and outside receiver? Either run through the pick, or have a call to switch.

The Ravens were at times 15 yards off receivers and Seattle was content to run slant-in routes every time. Regardless if the Ravens are playing zone or man-to-man, they can't cover crossing routes.

They need a GPS to locate receivers if it is a double move.

"I can't pinpoint it. I've got to watch the film and see," safety Kendrick Lewis said of the big plays allowed. "There are some corrections that need to be made, obviously, on the big plays, but that's what we've got practice and film for. We'll get back to the drawing board and correct those things before it happens to us again."

Some things can't be corrected. There isn't much the Ravens can do with cornerback Shareece Wright. Fellow cornerback Lardarius Webb has lost a step and it showed when Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin left him crashed on the turf with an inside move that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown with 9:01 left in the game.

There was the 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett to open the fourth quarter when he simply blew by Webb on a fly pattern down the right sideline.


"We gave up five touchdown passes," cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "It's huge. It's all on us. It's on the secondary. When the game is up, we didn't play well today."

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The Ravens didn't get any help from the pass rush, either. A good pass rush makes average cornerbacks good and bad cornerbacks average. The Ravens failed to get a sack and Wilson was hit only once.

On some of those crossing routes, he had time to order a pizza and sign autographs. In those situations, a weak secondary becomes even weaker.

"They are a very good football team," Harbaugh said. "Worst we've played all year, by far. Bottom line was the big plays, especially in the passing game — touchdown passes — that was key."

It won't get any easier. There were signs that frustration had set in with the Ravens. They were involved in a lot of cheap shots and unnecessary penalties near the end of the game. Against poor teams like Cleveland or Miami, a team always has a chance until the game is over.

When a team spots a contender like Seattle 14 points, the game is over.


"Playing in games against teams that are fighting to make the playoffs is going to be even tougher on us," Smith said. "Obviously, you saw that today."