12th Man: Seahawks vs. Falcons Week 6 Recap
After spending the first half pummeling Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons into submission in every phase of the game, Seattle decided to build on that wonderful start by giving up three touchdowns and the lead by the end of the third quarter. But if there’s one thing I love about the Seahawks, it’s that they don’t have an ounce of quit in them. The team managed to right those wrongs and come away with the win shortly before the clock hit 0:00. There was even a little fun in the end (that fun being 4th and 10: Julio Jones separates from Richard Sherman by way of hands to the face; Sherman responds with defensive pass interference. Nary a flag was thrown. Moral of this story? Never leave your fate up to the “watchful” eyes of an officiating crew). Safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Frank Clark being late scratches added even more adventure to the fray as miscommunication in the secondary led to Julio Jones kicking off the third quarter onslaught, and pass rush was definitely missed when Michael Bennett left the game with an injury. There was a lot to this game, some things very encouraging, some… very concerning.
Russell Wilson’s play was interesting. He clearly looks healthier, which is good. How healthy? I’m not exactly sure. There were some drives that fell dead on third downs, which is, you know, the Seahawk way (our punter stays in shape). What was curious to me were a couple situations where he attempted passes instead of running for what looked like sure first downs. I’m not faulting him for that, they were hardly poor plays (except for the one where he forgot that Tyler Lockett is 5’9” and not 6’4”), but it was definitely curious. Anyway. There was a lot of Jimmy Graham, and a lot more of Wilson trusting Graham to be the playmaker he is; Graham responded by leading the team in targets (9), catches (6), and yards (89). Doug Baldwin had a pretty quiet day with just 31 yards. Tyler Lockett is healthier and clearly playable, as he took on more return duties Sunday, but clearly not close to 100%.
The offensive line impressed, giving up just one sack on a DB blitz. Wilson had time to throw all day long. However, in the run game? NOW I’m getting concerned. Take out Christine Michael’s 21 yard run and Seattle only has 51 yards on 26 rushes. Yes, you can definitely argue that Russell Wilson’s rushing (in)ability affects the run game. But at the same time, I saw running backs getting the ball with defenders in the backfield entirely too often, especially against a team that doesn’t typically impress when it comes to run defense. The run game is looking like a problem, and not in a good way.
Speaking of the Falcons’ defense, well, they tackle pretty solidly. They assembled an effective third quarter, and the defense’s ability to get off of the field on third downs for that quarter was a large factor in the offense scoring three touchdowns. Aside from that? They tackle pretty solidly. The Falcons’ offense is legit. Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said this would be the best offense they’ve faced, even better than Denver’s in Super Bowl 48. I certainly agree – Atlanta excels at keeping their talented running backs involved at all times, and Julio Jones is a top wide receiver in the league. Mohamed Sanu impressed as well, making some nice catches against tight coverage. As for the quarterback? This isn’t the Matt Ryan of years past – he made solid decisions, delivered the ball accurately on every level of the field, and stood tall while Seattle’s defensive line beat the hell out of him for the entire game (4 sacks, 13 hits). He is legitimate.
It seemed bad snaps created issues several times with the field goal unit - Steven Hauschka missed a very makeable field goal by his standards, and had an extra point blocked. I miss Clint Gresham. Cassius Marsh showed up today with a sack and an offsides penalty. Michael Bennett had five hits on the quarterback, and Cliff Avril owned his matchup, getting Ryan on the ground twice. In the end, Seattle managed to hang tough and pull out the win. 5-1. On to the Cardinals.