Falcons Dominated by Seahawks in 33-10 Loss

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

William Moore gets stiff-armed by Marshawn Lynch

The Atlanta Falcons record falls to 2-7 with a 33-10 beat down by the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle got their revenge in a rematch of a Divisional Playoff matchup between the two teams last January. Then, the Falcons won to advance to the NFC Championship and end the Seahawks season. Now, the Seahawks got out to a 23-3 halftime lead and pounded the ball down the Falcons throats as the Falcons didn’t look competitive in the final three quarters.

Matt Ryan had another lackluster effort, with a season-low 172 yards passing while completing 23 of 36 attempts with a touchdown. On the ground, Jacquizz Rodgers led the team with 31 yards on 3 carries. Ryan added 15 yards on 3 scrambles, out-rushing starting running back Steven Jackson, who finished with 9 carries and 11 yards. Harry Douglas led Falcon recievers with 7 catches for 49 yards. Darius Johnson caught the team’s lone touchdown on his lone grab of the day for 12 yards. Rodgers (5 catches, 28 yards) and Tony Gonzalez (3 catches, 29 yards) also contributed. Matt Bryant connected on his lone field goal try from 53 yards. Matt Bosher punted 5 times for an average of 53.7 yards, with 1 punt placed inside the 20-yard line. Rodgers had three kickoff returns for an average of 21.3 yards. The Falcons struggled to convert on third downs, with only 4 conversions on 12 attempts. They began the game converting only 1 of 7 third downs in the first half. The Falcons did score on their lone trip to the red zone.

Defensively, the Falcons allowed 490 total yards of offense by the Seahawks, including a season-high 211 rushing yards. Seattle also converted 9 of 15 third downs and scored touchdowns on both of their red zone trips. Paul Worrilow led the defense with 19 tackles, matching his season-high from last week. Jonathan Babineaux (8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss); Joplo Bartu (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss); Thomas DeCoud (4 tackles); Akeem Dent (6 tackles); Jonathan Massaquoi (4 tackles); William Moore (6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss); Asante Samuel (6 tackles); Desmond Trufant (6 tackles, 2 pass deflections); and Osi Umenyiora (4 tackles, 1 pass deflection) had notable games.

For the fourth consecutive week, the Falcons opened the game on offense with a three-and-out. Matt Ryan’s check down to Steven Jackson on 3rd-and-4 fell incomplete. The Falcons punted, and Marshawn Lynch got off to a good start, able to convert a pair of third downs with some hard-running. The first came on 3rd-and-2 with a hard-nosed 3-yard run and the second came on 3rd-and-4 with a 9-yard catch. Two plays later, Jonathan Babineaux sniffed out a screen to Robert Turbin and made a stop for a 5-yard loss. That helped set up a 3rd-and-12 and the Falcons defense finally bottled up Lynch for a 5-yard gain. Seattle sent kicker Steven Hauschka onto the field and he hit a 39-yard field goal to put Seattle on the scoreboard first with a 3-0 lead with seven and a half minutes to go in the first quarter.

After Ryan hit Roddy White over the middle on a 20-yard pass, the Falcons were unable to gain a yard on their next three plays and once again Bosher punted. Omar Gaither was able to down the punt at the Seahawks 7-yard line to start their next drive.

After Golden Tate beat Asante Samuel for a 31-yard gain, another 15 yards was tacked onto the play on a personal foul penalty against William Moore for lowering his helmet on the hit. That put the ball at the Falcons 45-yard line. Three plays later, the Falcons sacked Russell Wilson for an 8-yard loss after he scrambled outside the pocket and was chased down by Joplo Bartu. That set up another 3rd-and-long, and Wilson’s end zone pass was dropped by Ricardo Lockette with Robert Alford nearby in coverage. That led to a Jon Ryan punt and the Falcons took over at their own 10-yard line with 1:47 left in the first quarter.

The Falcons once again were unable to move the ball with another three-and-out as the second quarter began. On the ensuing Seahawks drive, Wilson found Jermaine Kearse on a jump ball for a 23-yard gain to put the ball in Falcon territory. After a run by Lynch was strung out two plays later for a 2-yard loss to set up a 3rd-and-6, Wilson hit Tate on a sideline throw over Samuel for 23 yards. But Mike Smith challenged the call, and the play was overturned by the officials when replay indicated Tate only got one foot in bounds. That led to Seattle settling for another field goal, with Hauschka hitting from 43 yards out.

The Falcons were able to convert their second first down of the game on the opening play of their next position, as Jason Snelling took a check down pass 14 yards. Two plays later, a counter to Jacquizz Rodgers went for 17 yards and the Falcons offense looked to finally be in gear. A few plays later on 3rd-and-9, Ryan scrambled up the middle for a 10-yard gain and another conversion. But the offense stalled when on another 3rd-and-9, the screen pass to Harry Douglas was stopped by Walter Thurmond for a 2-yard loss. That led to Matt Bryant trotting out on the field to hit on a 53-yard field goal. That put the Falcons on the board for the first time, down 6-3 with 6:30 left in the half.

But the Seahawks answered quickly, as Lynch ran off the right side for 37 yards to start the drive. Then on a flea flicker, Kearse got behind safety Thomas DeCoud, and Wilson hit him on a 43-yard touchdown strike. That gave the Seahawks a 13-3 after a two-play, 80-yard scoring drive that lasted less than a minute.

Atlanta’s offense responded with their third three-and-out after Douglas dropped a crossing pattern on third down. To open up their next drive, Tate gained 46 yards on a quick screen from Wilson. After the two-minute warning hit, Desmond Trufant jumped the throw on 3rd-and-7 to force a 44-yard field goal from Hauschka. The kicker hit and Seattle now had a 16-3 lead with 1:52 left in the half.

After a 10-yard run by Rodgers to open up the next series, Ryan’s throw to Tony Gonzalez on 3rd-and-4 was broken up by Kam Chancellor and the Falcons had another punt with a four-and-out. After Tate took the return 32 yards, that set up the Seahawks at their own 40-yard line.

That left 1:03 left on the first-half clock, which proved too much with the Seahawks offense taking over. Wilson completed four straight passes, the last of which was a 30-yard pass to Doug Baldwin that put the ball at the Falcon 11-yard line with 23 seconds left on the clock. Two plays later, Wilson scrambled 10 yards to get the ball down to the Falcon 6-yard line and Seattle took their final timeout of the half. With 8 seconds left in the half, Wilson hit Tate on a perfect strike in the back corner of the end zone. Tate made an excellent one-handed catch, beating Trufant for a touchdown. That pushed Seattle’s lead to 23-7 and the Falcons knelt on the ball after the ensuing kickoff, resolute to take their lumps into halftime.

Seattle opened the second half by leaning heavily on Lynch. On a 12-play scoring drive, Lynch carried the ball six times for 32 yards. But the Seahawks gave Turbin a carry, and Babineaux bottled him up for a 5-yard loss to set up a 3rd-and-15 at the Falcons 39-yard line. Tate was stopped shy of the sticks on a 4-yard catch, and Hauschka connnected on his fourth field goal of the day, from 53 yards out.

Ryan finally found Gonzalez for the first time of the game, as they connected on 2nd-and-9 for a 9-yard gain. But Seattle challenged the spot of the ball, and the play was reversed as Gonzalez was down a yard shy. But Douglas was able to convert on a shallow cross on third down for a 6-yard gain. Gonzalez was able to convert on the next third down, reaching to convert on a 9-yard gain three plays later to get the ball into Seahawk territory. After a pair of runs by Rodgers for 14 yards, Ryan was sacked by Michael Bennett for a 7-yard loss. But Bennett was flagged for roughing the passer after hitting Ryan low. On the next play, Ryan took a deep shot to White on a fade but the pass was incomplete. Pressure forced throwaways on the next two plays, but the Falcons went for it on 4th-and-3 and Ryan hit Darius Johnson on a 12-yard slant for the touchdown. Seattle’s lead was now 26-10 at the end of the third quarter.

With the fourth quarter beginning, the Seahawks continued to lean on Lynch on their ground game. On the first play of the quarter, Wilson dropped a throw in the bucket to Baldwin on a go route for a 27-yard gain. That was followed up by nine consecutive runs, seven of which were by Lynch. The last of them was a 1-yard run where Lynch bounced outside untouched for a touchdown, pushing Seattle’s lead to 33-10 with 8:48 left in the game.

Pressure flushed RYan on the opening play of the Falcons ensuing series, and he was sacked form behind by Cliff Avril. But Avril was flagged for a horse collar, giving Atlanta a first down. But on the ensuing third down, Ryan was sacked by Michael Bennett for a 10-yard loss. But a defensive holding penalty on Kam Chancellor wiped that out and the Falcons had another first down off a penalty. On 3rd-and-2, Ryan hit Douglas on a shallow cross and the receiver outran the defender for a 31-yard gain. But Douglas failed to tuck the ball away and Thurmond hit him from behind to strip the ball. It was recovered by the Seahawks, and they took over with six minutes remaining at their own 12-yard line.

Lynch gave way to rookie Christine Michael, who had seven carries for 55 yards to milk the clock down to the two-minute warning. After Michael was stopped for a 6-yard loss on third down, Jon Ryan made only his second punt of the game.

Atlanta got the ball back with 1:46, and Ryan hit a couple of throws to move the ball into Seahawk territory. But the final play was a dropped pass by Jason Snelling and the game was over.

The Falcons will see another rematch next week, facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. The Falcons beat the Bucs in Week 7 by a score of 31-23.

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Aaron Freeman
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