Your Atlanta Falcons got down early on a long, time-consuming first drive by the Seahawks, and you might have been seeing and hearing the ghosts of Falcons playoff past. Thankfully, Atlanta is a better team this year, and they showed it in a decisive win over Seattle.
It’s unbelievable how far this Falcons team has come in Dan Quinn’s second year, to be frank. I thought they’d manage a narrow win, but instead, they got rolling after the first quarter and wound up winning big against one of the best teams in the NFL over the last few years. I keep hesitating when it comes to this team’s Super Bowl chances, and especially their chances of winning a Super Bowl, but frankly the sky really is the limit for them at this point. If they play their game, there isn’t a team in the NFL they can’t beat, even if the road’s going to be more difficult against a Green Bay or Dallas or New England than against Seattle. This is one of the best Falcons teams we’ve ever watched, and god willing, they will be the one that finally wins it all.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the game we just watched.
The Seahawks got hit with a penalty on the opening kickoff, but they got the ground game going early and got moving. Unfortunately, they chewed eight-plus minutes off the clock on a picture-perfect opening drive, scoring on a Jimmy Graham touchdown grab to put the team up 7-0 early.
The Falcons took the field needing to even the score early and keep pace. They obliged by marching down the field with a mix of quality runs from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and nice passing from Matt Ryan and company, which got them into the red zone before the first quarter was over.
Spoiler: Julio Jones reeled in an easy touchdown catch, his third reception of the game, and Atlanta evened it up.
The next drive started off solidly for Seattle, and quickly got much better once the Seahawks completed a long pass downfield. Jalen Collins thankfully got a hand on the receiver, and a Brooks Reed sack and a couple of nice defensive plays ensured the Seahawks only got a field goal. That made it 10-7, Seattle.
The next drive for the Falcons stalled out quickly, with Ryan and company not being able to convert and having to punt. A Devin Hester return was thankfully called back.
That led to a great defensive series. Brooks Reed and Deion Jones were in the backfield, putting the Seahawks on the goal line, and then the center stepped on Russell WIlson’s foot and Ben Garland put his hands on the quarterback for a safety. That made it 10-9, Seattle.
The Falcons got it going early on the next drive with Taylor Gabriel’s huge gain, which brought the Falcons into scoring range almost immediately. They had to settle for a short field, which Matt Bryant drilled easily to give the Falcons a 12-10 lead. It was their first lead of the game.
The next drive featured some very good tackling by the likes of Deion Jones and Robert Alford, forcing a punt. Unfortunately, Eric Weems decided to let it bounce and the ball rolled all the way to the one yard line.
Fortunately, the Falcons followed that up with a quick strike to Julio Jones for a first down, getting them out of the danger zone. A first down catch from Mohamed Sanu near the two minute warning kept things rolling, and ultimately, the Falcons drove down the field 99 yards in relatively short time to make it a 19-10 game.
The Falcons started off the third quarter with the ball, and they wasted little time driving down the field. They capped things off with a Devonta Freeman touchdown run, giving them a 26-10 lead, and the Seahawks were extremely chippy after the score.
The Seahawks’ next drive was a weird one. They were stopped by the Falcons, but a Philip Wheeler penalty on the punt kept the drive along, and the Seahawks were repeatedly able to keep things going. They did stall out inside the red zone thanks to a high third down throw from Russell Wilson, which led to a 26-13 lead for the Falcons after a Steven Hauschka field goal.
The Falcons drove....
...and got a field goal. I should note that on this drive, Devonta Freeman caught a pass and destroyed a Seattle player utterly. The Falcons settled for three, as I noted, and wound up with a 29-13 lead.
The next drive was a difficult one for Seattle. Russell WIlson was harried, and while he managed to scramble for a long gain, Brian Poole wrecked him short of a first down and Seattle had to punt.
The Falcons also had to punt. Alas.
The next drive was so key. Seattle kept scrambling with Russell Wilson, picking up yards and getting closer, but the Falcons put a ton of pressure on Wilson and got a sack and then a Ricardo Allen interception to essentially seal the game.
The Falcons didn’t let off the gas, though. With Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Mohamed Sanu working, Atlanta drove down the field and scored a touchdown on an acrobatic Sanu catch. That made it 36-13, Atlanta.
Seattle got a huge Devin Hester return and an easy touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, which made it 36-20. Easy peasy, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Mohamed Sanu, and that effectively made it a battle against the clock. Atlanta did chew some time up before punting it away to Seattle.
On the last drive for the Seahawks, they nearly got a massive completion to Paul Richardson, but the Falcons wisely threw a challenge flag and got it reversed. A few plays later, Deion Jones came up with a huge interception to seal up the win for good.
Atlanta made it all the way to the two yard line, but in merciful and classy fashion, they kneeled their way to a victory. That was a 36-20 win, and now we’ll wait to see who they play.