Not much emerged in the way of positives for the Baltimore Ravens during a shocking loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a few exceptions. One of those was the solid pass protection provided to quarterback Joe Flacco during the Ravens' 22-17 road defeat.
Flacco was sacked once by rookie linebacker Malcolm Smith, and was hit a total of four times with two of the quarterback pressures coming from speedy defensive end Chris Clemons.
Clemons entered the game with five sacks and recorded 11 to lead the defense a year ago, but offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher held up well.
"I thought the pass protection was very good," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
However, Flacco launched a career-high 52 passes, albeit completing 29 of them for 255 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a mediocre 67.4 passer rating.
He had plenty of time to locate his targets, but his efficiency wasn't sharp.
The Ravens (6-3) averaged only 4.6 yards per pass as Flacco was inaccurate on several deep throws.
His longest completion was a 19-yard throw to tight end Ed Dickson, who caught a career-high 10 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
There were also some dropped passes to contend with again.
"I thought we made some good throws," Harbaugh said. "I thought we made some good catches, but we didn't make all the catches."
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron orchestrated an extremely one-dimensional game plan, abandoning the run as the Ravens fell behind 19-7 by halftime due in part to a pair of lost fumbles by kick returner David Reed that directly led to six points on two field goals.
The Ravens ran the football only 12 times for 75 yards with Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice limited to five carries for 27 yards with one rush after halftime.
The lack of success in the passing game compounded the lack of a running game, which was prompted in part by the Seahawks crowding the line of scrimmage and the presence of big, physical cornerbacks. That included Brandon Browner, a 6-foot-4, 221-pounder.
During the Ravens' scoreless first quarter, Flacco threw incomplete on deep throws intended for wide receivers Anquan Boldin and rookie Torrey Smith.
"We hit on some throws that were open, too," Harbaugh said. "I think we overthrew it just a little bit. There was a little bit of wind coming across the field. Maybe the wind caught it a little bit, and he overthrew it a little bit."
For most of the game, the Ravens resorted to trying to throw underneath the Seahawks' coverage.
Flacco wound up completing 13 of his 20 attempts to tight ends Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who combined for 14 receptions for 118 yards. DIckson caught his first touchdown from Rice on a halfback option pass.
However, Flacco only hit Smith three times for 28 yards despite targeting him eight times.
And his success rate at throwing to Boldin was even worse, connecting for just two receptions for 22 yards while targeting him nine times.
"They're big guys, their corners, and they were pressed on us most of the day," Flacco said.
"They kind of went to a two-shelve, a lot of the second half, and forced us to do some of those things. I thought that we moved the ball pretty well on offense, when we had the ball. I think, obviously, that we didn't take advantage of some things, and we did make some mistakes, but for the most part we moved the ball decent.
"They did a good job of keeping the ball away a little bit. We turned the ball over. We didn't have a lot of possessions, but we definitely hurt ourselves in a couple of those drives where we could have kept ourselves on the field, and we ended up not getting first downs."
The Ravens finished with 25 first downs, but only controlled the football for 24 minutes and 59 seconds to the Seahawks' 35:01.
Heading into Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens now rank 11th in passing offense (241.7), 22nd in rushing offense (99.0) and 15th in total offense (340.7).
Flacco also has a ranking for his general frustration level.
"It's pretty high," he said. " We had a long trip out here, we felt confident and to come in here and to not be able to get that game of separation on everybody else in your division when you really have a good shot to do that, it doesn't feel good. At the same time, we know that we have room to improve.
"We know that we have to improve, and we have a couple of good games coming up in a short amount of time, and we have to be able to rebound and come back strong and it starts with Cincinnati and they've been playing really good football."
NOTES: The Ravens selected long snapper Morgan Cox as the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award winner.
Cox played through a torn anterior cruciate ligament against the Cleveland Browns last December despite significant pain and an inability to run or block normally.
He snapped for three punts, two field goals and a pair of extra points, going on injured reserve after the game and undergoing surgery to repair the damage.
Now, he's back in his role as the Ravens' long snapper after getting back on the field just nine months after the injury.
Cox is active in several charitable activities in the Baltimore community. ...
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrrell Suggs has hired Joel Segal as his agent. Suggs was previously represented by Gary Wichard, who died in March from pancreatic cancer and diabetes. Suggs is under contract through the 2014 season after signing a blockbuster deal two years ago.
Stover to be inducted to Ring of Honor on Sunday
By Aaron Wilson
OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens are inducting former Pro Bowl kicker Matt Stover into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.
Stover is the leading scorer in franchise history with 1,464 points on 354 field goals and 403 extra points.
Stover played 18 seasons for the Cleveland Browns/Ravens and one more season with the Indianapolis Colts.
Stover hit 14 career game-winning field goals, including three against the Bengals. He scored 284 points against the Bengals, more than against any other opponent.
The retired kicker joins running back Earnest Byner (2001), defensive end Michael McCrary (2004), linebacker Peter Boulware (2006) and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (2008) in the Ring of Honor.
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