The Atlanta Falcons had a 27-7 lead near the beginning of the third quarter. A friend texted me from work asking me how the Seahawks were doing, and I responded “they’re getting killed.” The Falcon offense was running smoothly, and the game looked to be firmly in Atlanta’s control. However, like they have done in nearly every game this season (not against Pittsburgh), the Seahawks dominated the third quarter and second half. Their rally fell just a few yards short, as Seahawk kicker Steven Hauschka missed a potential game-winning, 61-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining.
Atlanta started the game quickly, scoring touchdowns three of the first four times they had the ball. Though the Seahawks managed to score on a 52-yard bomb from Tarvaris Jackson to Sidney Rice, a Matt Bryant field goal right before the end of the half extended the Falcon lead to 24-7.
The Falcons picked up where they left off on the first drive of the second half, with Matt Bryant hitting his second field goal of the game. This, perhaps, was where they got complacent.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Seahawks offense began to get on track, driving 10 plays and 61 yards for a touchdown. Jackson marched the team down the field running an efficient, no huddle offense. Jackson completed five passes to four different receivers, hitting Mike Williams on the touchdown pass.
Momentum continued to build for the Seahawks as they forced the Falcons to punt quickly on their next drive. Jackson then hurried Seattle down the field again, completing three passes for 55 yards, and getting Seattle to the Atlanta 17 yard-line. His next pass hit tight end Zach Miller in stride heading into the end zone. Unfortunately, Miller was unable to cleanly bring in the ball, which flew into the air, was intercepted, and returned to the five yard line.
Backed up against their own end zone, the Falcons again were unable to move the ball, and punted to Leon Washington. Washington made several nifty moves and returned the punt to the Atlanta 11 yard line. On the next play, running back Marshawn Lynch found a seam in the Atlanta defense, and ran the second Seattle touchdown of the half, cutting the score to 27-21.
Atlanta’s next drive milked 6 and half minutes off the clock, and was capped off by another Matt Bryant field goal. Although the Falcons didn’t score much in the second half, their offense did take considerable time off the clock and prevented the Seahawks from having more possessions.
On their next drive, the Seahawks were again on the move, and after 9 plays and 59 more yards, Seattle again scored a touchdown, as Jackson found receiver Ben Obamanu for the score.
With 8 minutes remaining, things were not looking bad for the Seahawks. If they could stop the Falcons one more time, they’d have a chance to take the lead. Stop the Falcons they did, but not before Atlanta ran 11 more plays and 6:17 more off the clock. With 1:49 left in the 4th quarter, Seattle had the ball on their own 15 yard line with just one time out. Seahawk coach Pete Carroll had said he trusted kicker Steven Hauschka on long field goals before the game, but a false start penalty forced him to attempt a 61 yarder (the NFL record is 63 yards). The kick, and the Seahawks rally fell short.
Tarvaris Jackson threw for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game. He was brilliant in the second half, and though the team lost, it was the 30 points that they gave up that cost them. Jackson spread the ball around beautifully, and seven Seahawks had three or more catches (the Falcons had just three players with three or more catches.
It was another early deficit, another rally, another Seahawks game. Unfortunately, the game ended as another loss. This loss to Atlanta may end up haunting the Seahawks if Seattle is in the hunt for the playoffs as the season draws to a close, as this was a game they COULD have won. Though the Seahawk offense finally showed signs of life, 28 points were not enough to get a win, and Seattle fell to just one win and three losses on the season.
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.