They came next door to baseball’s Camden Yards, down the street from a marker commemorating a mammoth home run Ken Griffey Jr. hit 21 years ago that Dave Niehaus called for the Mariners. They were Seahawks-version reminders of what Seattle’s late, great baseball voice once famously proclaimed.
“It just continues! My, oh my!”
Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Touchdown. Three more times.
Wilson threw five TD passes to tie his career high — from three weeks ago. He has 16 touchdowns with zero interceptions in the last four games. Baldwin has eight touchdown receptions in the past three games.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News Tribune
That was more than enough Sunday to overcome a season-ending ankle injury to running back Thomas Rawls and bury Baltimore and its third-string quarterback, Jimmy Clausen.
Seattle rampaged to its fourth consecutive victory, 35-6, on a Maryland day at M&T Bank Stadium that was as unseasonably warm as the Seahawks are unbelievably hot.
Seattle has scored 141 points in its last four games. It has outscored the last two, steamrolled opponents by a combined 73-13.
“Seattle Seahawks, back to doing what they do,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said after his interception — on which he got pulled down by his hair — helped Seattle (8-5) hold its second consecutive foe without an offensive touchdown.
“Let’s call all those people who wrote us off — and call for their jobs.”
Wilson could have had a Seahawks’ record six TD passes if tight end Luke Willson hadn’t dropped the quarterback’s lofted throw in the end zone in the second quarter.
The Elias Sports Bureau says Wilson is the first player in NFL history to have four consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes, zero interceptions and a completion rate of at least 70 percent.
“It really is like watching Russell at practice,” All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Yes, Wilson is playing games like there are no defenders hitting him and nobody in pads. Or even helmets.
Baldwin, whose career-high 11 touchdown catches this season equal those of his three previous seasons combined, remains wowed by his quarterback.
“It’s been amazing the past few games,” Baldwin said.
“He’s playing unbelievable right now. ... He’s doing it all. It’s Russ right now. He’s ballin’.”
His defense is equally impressed.
“Spectacular,” defensive end Michael Bennett said of Wilson.
So are the Seahawks. Once 0-2, 2-4 and 4-5, their winning streak has allowed them to seize the fifth seed in the NFC’s six-team playoff standings. Home games against Cleveland and St. Louis remain, plus a finale at Arizona on Jan. 3.
“Remember the stories y’all were writing!” Bennett bellowed across the locker room as media members filed in. “You’ve got to write good stories now.”
In the past four games, Wilson is 89-for-118 passing (a completion rate of 75.4 percent) for 1,171 yards, with those 16 TDs and no interceptions. That’s a perfect passer rating of 158.3, one of the best such stretches in NFL history.
And it’s happening without star tight end Jimmy Graham, plus top running backs Marshawn Lynch and, now, Rawls.
Russell Wilson, aren’t you the least bit surprised?
“No, I’m not surprised,” the unflappable QB said. “On to the next game.”
Rawls had 47 yards on his first five carries, bulling through defenders as usual, before his left ankle turned under a pile of Ravens at the end of a 3-yard loss at the Baltimore 8-yard line. He walked off slowly with a limp.
Rawls was replaced by DuJuan Harris, who was on the practice squad until eight days earlier.
“I think the ligaments are really the problem,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Rawls. “I don’t think he’s going to have to have an operation, from what I understand.”
The coach said the next move for the team will be to see how close Lynch is to returning after his Nov. 25 abdominal surgery.
“I don’t know what that timetable is at this point,” Carroll said. “In the meantime, we’ll figure it out.”
Harris had 42 yards on 18 carries. He lost a fumble at the Ravens 5 in the second quarter when his grip on the ball loosened as he made a cut left in traffic.
“I have to be better,” Harris said.
The Seahawks scuffled around and seemed stunned somewhat by the injury to Rawls, and one to strong safety Kam Chancellor (bruised tailbone). Dropped passes by Baldwin, Willson and running back Fred Jackson kept Wilson from having a perfect rating and three touchdowns in the first half.
The Seahawks led 7-3 in the final minute of the half when they got a gift from Baltimore running back Javoris “Buck” Allen. He fumbled at the Ravens 14 when Bennett punched out the ball and Wagner recovered.
Two plays later, Baldwin ran a sharp route from inside out to the right. Wilson threw a brilliant dart that hit Baldwin in stride for a 14-yard touchdown. That put Seattle up 14-3.
It was essentially over.
Baltimore (4-9) was without starting quarterback Joe Flacco, who is out for the year. His backup, the also-injured Matt Schaub, was announced as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff. The Ravens also were missing lead runner Justin Forsett, the former Seahawk.
Seattle’s defensive front had Bennett and fellow end Cliff Avril swarming again, and held Baltimore to a season-low 28 yards on 14 carries.
“We felt if we stopped the run game first, it would force them to throw,” Wagner said — just as he did after Seattle held Adrian Peterson to 18 yards the previous week at Minnesota. “And we liked our chances with that.”
No wonder. Clausen is now 1-12 in his career as a journeyman and part-time starter.
Meanwhile, Wilson was exquisite — again.
Tyler Lockett’s catch for an 8-yard score ended Seattle’s breezy, 80-yard drive to begin the game. The fifth touchdown catch of his standout rookie season — to go with one kickoff return for a score and a TD on a punt return — came after Wilson had more than five seconds to look at four different receivers behind his improved offensive line. That line wasn’t giving him even half that time or near that pocket during the first half of this season.
Right tackle Garry Gilliam, a tight end at Penn State who was making his NFL debut at the position this season, stymied Baltimore’s elite pass rusher, Elvis Dumervil. Gilliam repeatedly warded off the outside linebacker with hand shivers, then shuffled his feet quickly. That kept a sturdy edge to Wilson’s front side of that passing pocket.
“Tight and firm,” Gilliam said, repeating what the credo for pocket protection has been for the offensive line in the last month.
Seattle allowed zero sacks on Sunday. It has given up just eight in its last six games. That’s after allowing an NFL-high 31 sacks in the first seven games, when the Seahawks were 3-4.
That’s the underlying story to this turnaround.
“What they are doing is unbelievable,” Wilson said of his linemen. “All the plays, all the throws, are all because of them.”
Without three drops, including Willson’s in the end zone, Wilson’s passer rating in the half would have been a 158.3. That’s officially, statistically perfect.
Just like his — and the Seahawks’ — last four games.
Not to mention their chemistry barreling toward another postseason.
“I’m sure you can feel it. And you can probably see it the way we’ve been playing,” Wilson said. “I don’t know if it can be much better.”