Seahawks safety Errol Thomas’ interception of a Matt Ryan pass led to a 44-yard Steven Hauschka field goal and the end of the Falcons four-game winning streak.
Atlanta did everything right and wrong in their 26-24 loss. The Falcons defense forced three fumbles but unlike their opponents they didn’t recover any of them. Keanu Neal’s forced fumble of Christine Michael was recovered by Seattle and taken in for a touchdown two plays later.
On the other side of the field, Seattle scored 10 points off two Falcons turnovers. The Seahawks scored their first touchdown after recovering a fumble knocked out of Matt Ryan’s hand by Cliff Avril inside the 10. Michael made the turnover pay off on the first snap of the new possession. The fourth-year back followed his blockers up the right side to the end zone on the first snap of the series (video).
The Falcons didn’t help themselves with all of the penalties and lack of protection for Ryan. Robert Alford’s pass interference penalty on J Kearse gave the Seahawks the ball at the 3-yard line. Michael’s second touchdown on the day cut the Falcons lead to 1 in the fourth quarter.
To say Ryan took a beating from the Seahawks defense would be an understatement. He was sacked four times and hurried 13 times. Hurried should be changed to hit during/after the throw because there were only a few times when Ryan was upright after one of his 42 attempts.
After only 83 yards receiving and 15 yards rushing in the first half, the Falcons caught fire in the third. Eight of Atlanta’s ten longest plays from scrimmage were made in the second half including seven in the third quarter.
All three of the Falcon’s first three offensive possessions in the third resulted in touchdowns. Ryan threw touchdown passes of 36-, 10-, and 46- yards to Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Levine Toilolo. The Falcons signal caller finished the game with 335 yards passing on 27 completions. Videos
Controversy marred what should have been an exciting comeback story. Julio Jones, who had caught only 2 passes for 24 yards in the first half, was giving the Seahawks secondary fits (5 receptions, 115 yards) in the second half. Atlanta’s top receiver nearly hauled in a 40 yarder but Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s clear hold of Jones’ right arm interfered with the play. No flag was thrown on the play which set Falcons head coach Dan Quinn off ( click and judge for yourself).
Falcons coach Dan Quinn didn’t blame the loss solely on the Jones-Sherman controversial play. “As you go through the last play, usually one play doesn’t define it,” said Quinn. “We will look at it and see where it goes. We certainly had other opportunities in the game to go capitalize and finish but we won’t let it come down to one time for us.”
Atlanta returns home to face a San Diego squad coming off 10 days of rest. The Chargers picked up their second win of the season with a 21-13 win over Denver on Thursday night. Buy Falcons Tickets Here
All Photos by Kevin C. Cox, CORE360 Sports