By Shannon Sanchez // @ShannonSanchez3
Atlanta Falcons 34 – Seattle Seahawks 31
There is gnashing of teeth in Seattle. There is pulling hair and screaming at TV announcers. When did Jon Gruden start sounding so condescending? Was it the first turnover by quarterback Russell Wilson? Or was it the first questionable call that head coach Pete Carroll called on a fake field goal? We had every chance to win this game, and somehow we came up short. Literally.
Ever since the end of Thursday Night Football, there has been a pall over Seahawks fans. Understanding that corner Richard Sherman was out for the year was only the first wave of bad news. Strong safety Kam Chancellor was ruled out for this game and left to question whether he is done for the remainder of the season as well. Suddenly the defense that is so dynamic became an unknown risk.
Things started out dismally for the Seahawks. Atlanta scored a touchdown on their opening possession. After a brilliant kickoff 53-yard return by returner Tyler Lockett, Wilson threw an interception which was intended for Lockett. Corner Desmond Trufant came up with the turnover and ran it back 40 yards to the Seattle 38, setting up the second touchdown for Atlanta. At this point, it was 14 – 0 midway through the first quarter.
Seattle answered back with a touchdown of their own, and things started to look a little brighter. Seattle had limited success in the run game with running backs Mike Davis and J.D. McKissic breaking through for some nice gains. Then another critical turnover put seven more points on the board, as Wilson fumbled the ball. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley recovered and ran the ball in for the score.
Seattle capitalized on an Atlanta turnover after kicker Blair Walsh made a field goal to make the score 21 – 10 in Atlanta’s favor. On the kickoff, returner Andre Roberts muffed the catch and Seattle’s strong safety Tedric Thompson recovered. This led to a Seattle touchdown and suddenly Seattle is only down by 4 points, 21 – 17. After an Atlanta field goal, Seattle got it back with 58 seconds left in first half.
Little did Seattle fans know that the next 54 seconds were going to be crucial to the final outcome and the collective blood pressure of all 12’s. Getting into field goal range for Walsh, Seattle set up to kick with 4 seconds left in half, instead, they tried a shuttle pass from holder Jon Ryan to tight end Luke Willson who was tackled for a loss giving the ball up on downs.
After halftime, Seattle received the ball and scored a field goal but ended up burning their first time out right away. The score at the end of the 3rd quarter was 31 – 23.
During the 4th quarter, on a 3rd and short Wilson threw a short pass to receiver Doug Baldwin who uncharacteristically dropped the ball. Coach Carroll unsuccessfully challenged the ruling of an incomplete pass which cost another timeout.
Atlanta ended up kicking a field goal where they led by 11 points with 3:49 left in the game. This is usually the time of the game where Wilson is forgiven for any earlier game mistakes and starts to work his magic.
On a free play, Wilson found Baldwin down the middle for a 25-yard touchdown. Going for two, Wilson found Graham and the Seahawks were within 3 points.
The defense held Atlanta to a three and out and Seattle had the ball back with 1:55 left in the game and no timeouts. Seattle got down to Atlanta’s 34-yard line with 7 seconds left, Walsh attempted to kick the game-tying field goal but it ended up being short.
Over a bottle of antacids, some thoughts came to mind. Defense needs answers to third and long situations. The offense needs answers to penalties. Take the almost-guaranteed points. And for fans, take a deep breath and stay off Twitter for 24 hours.
Talk Seahawks with Shannon on Twitter // @ShannonSanchez3