The Atlanta Falcons took a 4-1 record, and four-game winning streak into CenturyLink Field on Sunday to take on the 3-1 Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons were coming off of an impressive 23-16 road win over the Denver Broncos while the Seahawks were fresh off their Week 5 bye.
Things looked bleak for the Falcons early as the Seahawks rolled to a 17-3 halftime lead thanks to two touchdown runs — one from Christine Michael and one from Alex Collins. With the wet and windy weather, and the raucous Seattle crowd, it looked as if Atlanta was about to suffer its second loss of the season.
Instead, Matt Ryan threw three third-quarter touchdown passes that suddenly put the Falcons ahead, 24-17. It was an impressive display from the league-leader in passing yards as he shredded the Seahawks’ so-called “Legion of Boom.”
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 16, 2016
Unfortunately for the Falcons, the defense couldn’t keep the lead in the fourth quarter as Michael scored his second touchdown of the game with 4:43 remaining. Kicker Steven Hauschka would miss the extra point, but would make amends by hitting the go-ahead field goal with 1:57 remaining to put the Seahawks ahead, 26-24.
Haus-$!!???? A @StevenHauschka FG gives us the lead!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 16, 2016
Atlanta got one final shot to drive the field for a game-winning field goal attempt, but Julio Jones wasn’t quite able to bring in a one-handed catch on fourth-and-10 which gave the ball back to the Seahawks, who ran out the clock. We’ll address this play more later.
Let’s get to the five biggest takeaways from the Seattle Seahawks’ 26-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
5. Jimmy Graham Looks Like Jimmy Graham
In the two weeks prior to the Seahawks’ Week 5 bye, Graham hauled in six passes for 100 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers and followed that up with six catches for 113 yards against the Jets. Despite the nasty weather conditions on Sunday, Graham was still able to pull in six catches for 89 yards as he led the Seahawks in both categories.
4. Matt Ryan Is Playing Better Than Any Quarterback
Ryan was expected to have a down game as the Falcons were facing the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Instead, Matt completed 27-of-42 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns. While Ryan did throw an interception and had a fumble, he put his team in position to win a game that many experts gave the Falcons little chance of winning.
3. Russell Wilson Owns The 4th Quarter
Aside from Tom Brady, there’s no other quarterback I’d rather have on my team when facing a deficit in the fourth quarter than Russell Wilson. Whether it’s with his arm, or with his feet, Wilson finds a way to put the Seahawks into position to win. The last two scoring drives for the Seahawks were another example of Wilson’s ability.
2. Julio Jones Dominated Richard Sherman
In a battle of two of the top players at their positions in the NFL, it was Julio Jones who got the best of Richard Sherman. According to CBS Sports, it got so bad that Sherman went on a fiery rant on the Seahawks’ sideline following Jones’ 36-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Julio would finish the day with seven catches for 139 yards and that touchdown.
1. Falcons Should’ve Had Chance To Win
As mentioned previously, the Falcons had one final drive to put Matt Bryant in position to kick the game-winning field goal. On fourth-and-10 from his own 25, Ryan threw a deep ball to Jones, who was double-covered. Jones went up with one hand and nearly came down with the amazing catch. If you watch the video from FOX Sports, it’s clear that Sherman had a hold of Jones’ right arm which kept him from making the catch. Sherman should’ve been flagged for pass interference which would’ve put the Falcons near field goal range for Bryant.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images]