The table was set for Russell Wilson to separate himself in the MVP discussion. Patrick Mahomes suffered a knee injury on Thursday night and Deshaun Watson had a clunker against the Colts in the early window of Week 7.
But the Seahawks collectively laid an egg against the Ravens on Sunday, Wilson included. It was bound to happen – Wilson couldn't stay that hot forever – but it didn't make it any less surprising to see the quarterback look so pedestrian. Seattle only found the end zone once, scored just 16 points and were a garbage time field goal away from getting shut out in the second half.
Wilson finished the game uncharacteristically inefficient, completing just 20-of-41 passes for 241 yards, one touchdown and his first interception of the season – a costly pick-six in the second quarter. It was Wilson's first game with a sub-50% completion percentage since November 2015.
"Somewhere you have to make a mistake, you're going to mess something up," Pete Carroll said postgame. "How many games can you go without making an error like that? I don't know. Everybody in the locker room knows it. Russ said something after the game."
On the interception, Wilson floated a careless pass toward the right sideline that Marcus Peters jumped easily and took 67 yards for a touchdown in what was his first game with the Ravens.
Carroll said it was "just a mistake and (Wilson) knows it."
"It was a pretty easy play for them," Caroll said. "It was a good job, it was a nice job making (the play), but we kind of gave it to them."
It was evident that Seattle missed Will Dissly dearly, especially from an efficiency standpoint. Dissly had caught 23-of-27 targets before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 6 against the Browns.
The Seahawks needed to have a receiver not named Tyler Lockett step up and nobody did. Jaron Brown dropped a sure touchdown in the first half, and DK Metcalf lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, a play that resulted in a Ravens scoop and score.
Jacob Hollister has been thrust into a prominent pass catching role after being on the practice squad until Week 6. He caught 3-of-6 targets for just 20 yards. Hollister showed promise back in training camp, but he's still an unproven commodity.
It's important not to panic over one game. Tip your cap to Baltimore and its defense and move on. But understand that there's a lot of work to be done in Seattle despite its 5-2 record. The NFC is loaded and it will assuredly take 10 wins to claim a wildcard spot, maybe even 11. Five teams in the conference are 5-2 or better. Three other teams have four wins.
The NFL's MVP race is now just as murky. Aaron Rodgers and his six touchdowns on Sunday have him firmly in the conversation with the Packers owning a 6-1 record. Heck, Lamar Jackson is also in the discussion after his standout performance against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Where Wilson and Co. struggled to establish any consistency, Jackson was able to come through for Baltimore every single time Seattle threatened to regain momentum. He gashed the Seahawks for 116 rushing yards – including a 28-yard scramble, a 30-yard scramble and an 8-yard touchdown run.
"He had some crazy runs," Wilson said of Jackson. "He's really special out there, especially on some third downs and stuff. So he's had a great season, he's been playing great and always loved watching him in college and talked to him after the game, so he's a tremendous football player."
Wilson, barring an implosion from him and the rest of the Seahawks, will remain deservedly in the running for MVP. His 18:1 touchdown to interception ratio likely still makes him the betting favorite at this point.
A road matchup against the reeling Falcons, losers of five straight, should help Wilson and the Seahawks right the ship in Week 8.
Analysis: Russell Wilsons MVP candidacy takes a hit in loss to Ravens originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest