In the biggest loss of the 2015 NFL season for the Baltimore Ravens, they were defeated at home by the Seattle Seahawks by an astounding 29 points. It marks the second biggest defeat in the history of the franchise at home. The loss pushed the Ravens down to 4-9 and officially out of potentially going .500, as well as out of the AFC Playoff race.
However, for all the bad that the game started, there are some things that we learned.
Clausen isn’t bad
A lot was made of Jimmy Clausen starting the game, with fans going crazy on here and social media about how the game was going to be a disaster solely because of Clausen. The Ravens backup quarterback didn’t rally the team or do particularly well, but he wasn’t as bad as expected either. Given that he has only been in this locker room and reading this playbook for about two weeks now, Clausen going 23 of 40 for 274 yards shows that the young quarterback might have something worthy of a second look.
The former Chicago Bears quarterback made some positive throws against one of the toughest defenses in the league. Even though he did throw an interception, it looked to be more of a miscommunication than just a poor pass. Plus, that interception wasn’t returned for a touchdown, so by proxy, he’s an immediate upgrade over Matt Schaub.
Wide receivers making a case for themselves
Once again, fans were up in arms at the loss of wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. earlier in the season. However, since the veteran receiver went down with an Achilles tear, the younger pass catchers have stepped up. Despite not having franchise quarterback Joe Flacco, veteran running back Justin Forsett, and having to deal with a patchwork offensive line, the wide receivers have done admirably.
Kamar Aiken in specific has turned it on for a few weeks in a row now. While not exactly being the most productive with his receptions, the formerly undrafted wide receiver has caught at least five passes in each game since Smith went on injured reserve. He’s on pace for 830 yards on the year on 66 receptions. That won’t put him as the Ravens number one receiver in 2016, but it will make him a possession receiver, something the Ravens haven’t really had since Anquan Boldin left for San Francisco.
Daniel Brown is another player worthy of additional attention at the end of this season and moving forward. A player the Ravens wanted to keep on the roster after training camp, Brown found his way back onto the roster late this season and has excelled ever since. Against Seattle, he was a major target as Clausen threw his way six times, catching five of them for 47 yards. Against the Miami Dolphins, his true first game, Brown would have a 52-yard touchdown stolen from him by the referees. That reception would have made him 2 for 2 for 69 yards and a score, a great outing by any receiver.
Jeremy Butler is the other receiver worthy of praise. Having been targeted 10 times against the Seattle Seahawks, he hauled in 7 of those for 72 yards. Showing that he can be a slot type receiver that makes things happen once the ball is in his hands, it will be interesting to see what the Ravens do with fellow receiver Michael Campanaro since he can’t seem to stay healthy enough to make an impact. All three wide receivers will factor into Baltimore’s plans in 2016 in some shape or form, especially since all three can be viable special teams players as well.
Ravens run defense is to be feared
This will be a hot-take since mentioning anything positive about the Ravens defense is apparently treason to a lot of fans. However, when you consider that the run defense did everything in it’s power to stop a Seattle power run game that has eaten it’s share of teams up, it is worthy of a mention. Though Thomas Rawls did hurt the defense on Seattle’s first drive, they settled down and held the rest of the Seattle run game to 82 yards on 27 carries, or just over 3 yards per carry.
Having made Seattle one dimensional for the most part, you’d figure that they would have been able to get some pressure on Russell Wilson or do a better job of coverage on the backend, but alas, 5 touchdowns for Wilson tells that side of the story. Most of the touchdowns just came on Wilson having time to sit in the pocket and wait for someone to get free rather than the coverage just being terrible outright, though that happened a bit as well. It is important to know that the Ravens do have a good foundation moving forward though and with even a little help at rushing the quarterback, the secondary should perform significantly better than they did. It’s a moral victory here, but hey the Ravens are 4-9, so that’s what you get.
This article was written by Matthew Stevens from SB Nation Baltimore Beatdown and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.