Seahawks-Falcons: What we learned

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA - Seattle's last visit to the Georgia Dome ended in a last-second playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Seahawks made sure there was almost zero palpable drama Sunday.
Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes, and the Seahawks' defense smothered struggling Matt Ryan and the Falcons in a dominating 33-10 win.
The Seahawks (9-1) have won five in a row and are the NFC's only one-loss team.
"I thought it was our most complete game of the year," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It was a really, really good day across the board. We've knocked down a bunch of road games already this year, and we're proud of that. It doesn't matter what time zone we play in, we know we can rally."
Last season's meeting in the divisional round of the playoffs looked like it was over at halftime, with the Falcons leading 20-0. The Seahawks would rally behind Wilson to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, before Matt Bryant made a 49-yard field goal as time expired in the Falcons' 30-28 win.
On Sunday, it was the Seahawks who jumped out to a big lead -- and never let up.
There was no threat of a rally from Atlanta. The Falcons (2-7), who have lost three straight by a combined score of 94-33, produced few positives. The Georgia Dome was half empty and very quiet by the fourth quarter, except for a chant of "Sea-Hawks."
"It's definitely not the type of football we're accustomed to playing around here ... a lot of disappointed people," said Atlanta coach Mike Smith. "This was a very tough game for us today in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. We couldn't get into a rhythm offensively. We couldn't stop their offense defensively, and we really didn't anything to help us on special teams."
Seattle outgained the Falcons 316-99 in the first half and led 23-3 at intermission, after wide receiver Golden Tate's one-handed a touchdown pass from Wilson with one second left in the second quarter.
Wilson threw a 43-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Jermaine Kearse on a flea-flicker in the first half. On the trick play, Marshawn Lynch took the handoff and ran to his right, before flipping back to his Wilson who hit a leaping Kearse in the end zone. The play came directly after a 37-yard run from Lynch, who finished with 145 yards rushing and a touchdown.
"I think Marshawn definitely sets the tempo for us," said Carroll.

What the Seahawks said:
"We really hope we've turned the corner in the run game. The statement of this game was about the three guys (on the offensive line) that stepped in. You saw Michael Bowie, Lem (Lemeul Jeanpierre) and Alvin Bailey play a lot. We ran the ball well, protected well and that's just fantastic for us as we move forward. We have terrific depth." - Head coach Pete Carroll.

What the Falcons said:
"We need to start out faster in the games. We need to make plays at the onset to put us in better position to win. We knew we were facing an excellent team in Seattle. We just didn't get it done." -- Safety William Moore.

What we learned about the Seahawks
1. Marshawn Lynch is joining the MVP conversation. The power running back rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He rarely went down on first contact and fought through multiple tackles to move the chains. It was Lynch's second straight 100-yard performance, and he did behind an offensive line missing three starters.
2. Coach Pete Carroll believes his offense may have turned the corner and applauded the performance by an offensive line that was missing multiple starters. Backups Alvin Bailey, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Michael Bowie played significant minutes. Pete Carroll said he hopes to have center Max Unger and tackle Breno Giacomini back next week.

What we learned about the Falcons
1. The offseason signing of veteran running back Steven Jackson is turning out to be a disaster. After missing the majority of four games with an injury, Jackson is averaging just over two yards per carry. He had nine carries for 11 yards against the Seahawks. The Falcons rank last in rushing yards per game.
2. The Falcons badly miss injured leading receiver Julio Jones, who was lost for the season in a Monday night loss to the Jets in early October. Since Jones was lost, QB Matt Ryan has thrown six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ryan was held to a season-low 172 yards passing against Seattle.

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