In the Baltimore Ravens’ shocking 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field Sunday, the special teams unit was pitiful to say the least, and was the major reason why the team suffered their third letdown of the season.
The Ravens, now 6-3, have suffered all three of their losses after significant wins. Sunday’s loss was punctuated by mental blunders on the special teams. Kick returner David Reed coughing up two costly fumbles and kicker Billy Cundiff missing two field goals from over 50 yards played a big role in the ultimate outcome.
For the season, Cundiff is a dismal 1-out-of-6 from 50 yards or beyond. Meanwhile, he is 20-out-of-21 from 49 yards or fewer.
The easiest place to put the blame would be Reed, who lost two fumbles on kick returns in the first half.
Reed coughed up the ball on his first return in the first quarter when he ran into the back of Vonta Leach, who tried to lay down a block for Reed. The Seahawks’ Ben Obomanu recovered the loose ball on the Ravens’ 19-yard line, and Seattle converted the turnover into the form of a Steve Hauschka 22-yard field goal.
Then, late in the second quarter, Reed was stripped by linebacker Malcolm Smith on a return, and the Seahawks converted the turnover into another Hauschka-field goal to put the Ravens down 19-7 heading into the locker room.
However, it would only get worse from there on for Reed and the Ravens. Instead of beginning a drive on the 20-yardline, the Ravens were forced to start deep in their own territory at the 10 because of an unsportsmanlike penalty committed by Reed.
After the Ravens were held to a three-and-out, punter Sam Koch shanked a 28-yard punt to put the Seahawks at the Ravens’ 42, which led to Hauschka’s third field goal of the day.
With the Cincinnati Bengals, tied for 2nd place in the AFC North, headed to Baltimore this Sunday, the Ravens must get their special teams unit play turned around starting this week.