4th & 10 on Atlanta’s 25 yard line with the game on the line, Matt Ryan threw a 40 yard pass to Julio Jones in double coverage against Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. It was unsuccessful and marred with controversy as an obvious pass interference call against Sherman was not called.
It was a rainy afternoon in downtown Seattle, the number 1 offence visited the number 1 defence. The last time this happened, the defence conquered. Atlanta came into the game red hot as they defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions Denver Broncos whilst Seattle are coming off a much needed bye week.
Russell Wilson wasn’t anywhere near 100% fit whilst SS Kam Chancellor was absent due to a groin injury. His absence proved to be crucial as Seattle’s defence began to crumble and tensions began to rise on the touchline late in the 3rd quarter.
The games first bit of action came in the 1st quarter. DE Cliff Avril managed to get passed his man and force a fumble in which Seattle recovered. This led to a TD run from Christine Michaels giving them a 7-0 lead. The Seahawks added to their lead with rookie RB Alex Collins running for their second rushing TD of the night. Steven Hauschka added a FG in the late stages of the 2nd quarter to increase Seattle’s lead to 17-3. Much of the first half was dictated by the Seahawks as they kept the Falcons to a FG in the first half. This was a team who were managing 35 points per game yet they ended the first half with only 3 points.
We also saw the relationship between Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham blossoming. After a season ending injury last year, Graham is slowly showing his true potential as he took advantage of Atlanta’s zone coverage. Graham ended the game with 6 receptions for 89 yards.
With Seattle dominating the 1st half, you would expect the Falcons to reply back in the 2nd half and that is what they did. The third quarter alone saw Matt Ryan throwing for 3 TD passes, one of them to his favourite receiver Julio Jones. Throughout the 3rd quarter, problems were arising for the Seattle defence as a blown coverage led to a 36 yard TD. Everyone within the Seattle defence were shocked as no one was picking up Jones. This led to frustration from CB Richard Sherman who was livid on the touchline. Seattle’s offence wasn’t helping either after a quick 3 & out. The defensive problems continued late into the 3rd quarter as no one was picking up TE Levine Toilolo who ended up running 46 yards for the TD.
After a 17-3 lead in the first half, Atlanta ended up taking a 24-17 lead and started to have control of the game. Matt Ryan threw for 3 TD passes in the 3rd quarter alone.
The Seahawks had found a way to get back into the game with a FG, however it was missed when long snapper Nolan Frese had fluffed the throw causing Hauschka to miss it. After a horrid 3rd quarter, Seattle’s defence had found a way to contain Atlanta and forced a 3 & out which was crucial for them. A long drive from Seattle ended up with Michaels running in for the TD. However, veteran kicker Hauschka had missed the PAT giving the Falcons a 1 point lead. This would be prove to be vital in the late stages of the game.
With 4 minutes on the clock late in the 4th quarter, the Falcons had the chance to control the rest of the game as the Seahawks only had 1 timeout left. On a decisive 3rd down, Matt Ryan had chose to pass the ball to reliable WR Julio Jones. That proved to be a huge mistake. Jones had missed the ball, Sherman managed to tip the ball into the air and there was Earl Thomas in the right place at the right time. On his 101st consecutive start for the Seahawks, Thomas had intercepted the tipped pass and ran to midfield which set up a brilliant field position for Russell Wilson.
Prior to the game, Wilson had 19 game winning drives. This would be his 20th. On a crucial 3rd down play where they were out of field goal range, Wilson had veteran linebacker Dwight Freeney and rookie LB Deion Jones chasing him out of bounds. What happened next was amazing yet unsurprising of Wilson. Wilson threw the ball to rookie RB Alex Collins, a person who wasn’t even meant to be a receiving back on the play, and ran for 9 yards thus taking them into field goal range. After missing an earlier FG and a PAT, the pressure was on Hauschka to score the 3 points and he did so perfectly. Seattle took a 26-24 lead against the Falcons.
All Atlanta needed was a FG to win the game, but a certain CB in Richard Sherman was there to make sure that wasn’t happening.
4th & 10 on Atlanta’s 25 yard line, Ryan throws the ball to Jones in double coverage, the catch is no good. This was surrounded with controversy as an obvious Pass Interference call against Sherman was not called. Dan Quin was furious on the sidelines but that didn’t matter.
Russell Wilson now has 20 4th quarter comebacks and proved why he is one of the best QB’s in the league. What’s even more crazy is the fact he’s only 27 years old with one bright career ahead of him. Even when he isn’t fully fit, Wilson’s athleticism is just amazing. His ability to read the defence, something he worked on in the off-season, is paying off as they have won their last 3 games in a row.
Following a huge victory against the Falcons, they go onto Arizona next week in a divisional match up.
Player of the game: Earl Thomas
Moment of the game: Pass Interference call on Sherman not being called. Ultimately led to the Seahawks winning the game.