Seahawks intensify playoff chase despite losing Rawls

BALTIMORE (AP) No longer forced to improvise when his protection breaks down, Russell Wilson has turned into a prolific performer in the pocket.

Wilson threw five touchdown passes Sunday to carry the Seattle Seahawks to a 35-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The five scores matched Wilson's career high and gave him 16 TD throws over the last four games.

Seattle's offensive line did not prevent a sack and gave the quarterback plenty of time to survey the field. Wilson ran only once, for six yards.

Much more importantly, he completed 23 for 32 passes for 292 yards. Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for three scores and hit Tyler Lockett for a pair of TDs.

''Everything he is doing is being done at a very high level right now,'' Baldwin said of Wilson. ''He's always done things magnificently outside the pocket. Now he's doing well inside the pocket as well. Russell is playing outstanding.''

So are the Seahawks (8-5), who have won four straight and six of seven to enhance their NFC playoff hopes.

Seattle played most of the game without standout rookie running back Thomas Rawls, who broke his left ankle in the first quarter and is lost for the season. Rawls had already gained 47 yards during the Seahawks' first drive when he was hurt on a 3-yard loss.

''It doesn't get any tougher than that,'' Wilson said. ''We're going to miss him, but I thought everybody collectively played a great game.''

Rawls was replaced by DuJuan Harris, who ran for 42 yards on 18 carries but lost a fumble. Marshawn Lynch, who sits atop the depth chart, missed a fourth straight game with an abdomen injury.

The Ravens, meanwhile, found very few positives in their most lopsided loss since a 41-7 lashing by New England late in the 2013 season. Baltimore's previous 12 games were decided by eight points of fewer, which made this blowout difficult to swallow.

''Obviously a very tough outcome. I'm not happy about it; disappointed,'' coach John Harbaugh said. ''The worst we've played all year by far.''

The loss assured the Ravens (4-9) of their first losing season since Harbaugh took over in 2008.

''Most of the guys, including myself, haven't been through this,'' linebacker C.J. Mosley said. ''For some reason, it seems to be catching up to us this year.''

Some things we learned about the Seahawks and Ravens:

CLAUSEN ENCORE: Forced into the starting lineup for injured Matt Schaub, Baltimore's Jimmy Clausen became the sixth quarterback since 1950 to face a team twice in one season as a starter for two different teams.

In a 26-0 loss to Seattle with the Bears in September, Clausen threw for a paltry 63 yards. In this one, he was 23 for 40 for a career-high 274 yards and an interception.

''Two totally different game plans, but going up against their defense was like a conference game, seeing the same team twice,'' Clausen said.

REPLACING RAWLS: With Rawls out for the season, coach Pete Carroll is hoping to fill the void with a familiar face.

''We'll see how Marshawn does,'' Carrol said. ''He was back rehabbing with us. We'll see where he is. He's got a chance to get back. It's all about getting back in shape and getting right. I don't know what that timetable is at this point - our trainers can't tell yet- but that will be the next thing we'll look forward to.''

AT A LOSS FOR WORDS: Harbaugh had no words of wisdom to share with his players after the disheartening defeat, except to remind them that losing like this is unacceptable.

''There's no magical thing you say. We know what to talk about,'' he said. ''We have to improve. It goes now and it goes into next year.''

DANGEROUS DUO: Wilson and Baldwin have turned into one of the hottest quarterback-receiver tandems in the NFL.

The duo has connected for 321 yards and eight touchdowns in the past three weeks, including scoring strikes of 14, 22 and 16 yards Sunday.

''Sometimes you just get in a rhythm,'' Baldwin said. ''It's been amazing the past few weeks. I've got to give a lot of credit to Russ. He's playing unbelievable.''

TOUGH DEFENSE: Overshadowed by Wilson's great outing was the play of Seattle's defense, which didn't give up a touchdown for the second straight week.

''That's really special stuff,'' Carroll said. ''Nothing rushing today. That's what we set out to do and we got it done.''

The Seahawks gave up just 28 yards on the ground.

''We pride ourselves up front, on the front seven, to try to stop the run,'' defensive end Cliff Avril said. ''That's our big thing - making them one dimensional.''


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