This Seattle Seahawks season would not be measured by the standings or the team's ability to replicate its surprise playoff success from a year ago.
Having invested in their offensive line and pushed back a quarterback decision until 2012, these Seahawks needed to show they could run the football. They needed to show why they drafted James Carpenter over Andy Dalton, why they hired Tom Cable to coach the line and why they signed Robert Gallery in free agency. They needed to show why they used a third-round pick for guard John Moffitt, why they used the sixth pick of the 2010 draft for tackle Russell Okung and why they moved young Max Unger into the lineup at center at Chris Spencer's expense.
The Seahawks have started to demonstrate why in recent weeks and that continued Sunday when running back Marshawn Lynch became the seventh player over the past five seasons to reach 100 yards rushing against the Baltimore Ravens. Lynch is the 27th player to accomplish the feat against Baltimore since the Ravens' founding in 1996. His 32-carry, 109-yard performance was critical to the Seahawks' surprise 22-17 victory over the Ravens at CenturyLink Field.
Injuries were the only big concern for Seattle coming out of this game. Moffitt suffered a potentially serious knee injury. Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice and Kam Chancellor suffered concussions.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune had this to say about the Seattle victory: "For years, the Ravens have made their living by being football bullies, roughing up opposing offenses, issuing pain and intimidation. Sunday, though, the Seahawks stood toe-to-toe, hit-for-hit, and came away with a win that might change the way this team is perceived."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says coach Pete Carroll was particularly proud of Seattle's line. Carroll: "I thought they played great, protected beautifully today. And when we needed it most, they were able to grab the running game and take five or six minutes off the clock."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Lynch's three highest-yardage games as a Seahawk have come in his last four starts. Lynch: "It wasn't me to be honest. The goal for every game is to run the ball. That's pretty much why they wanted Cable to come here. He just took his time with us, up front and the running backs. We go hand in hand to get that thing going and now it seems like we're understanding what it is he wants, and how the run game should look."
Also from O'Neil: Golden Tate stepped up when the Seahawks needed him Sunday.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says Lynch also hurt the Ravens with five receptions for 58 yards. One key for Lynch, according to players: The running back has become more disciplined in his reads.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks felt as though they had the better defense Sunday. Joe Flacco: "They're big guys, their corners were pressed on us most of the day. They kind of went to a two-shell [coverage] a lot of the second half, and forced us to do some of those things."
Also from Williams: Steven Hauschka made five field goals against the team that released him a couple years back.
Matt Pitman of 710ESPN Seattle says the Seahawks' linebackers played well Sunday.