Seattle falls in epic battle
The Seahawks‘ season came to a heartbreaking end on Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome. After a dismal first half, somewhat reminiscent of last week’s comeback win in Washington, the Hawks battled back from a seemingly untouchable deficit to gain the lead with less than a minute to play.
It seemed like they had sealed the deal when they went up 28-27, but the Falcons had other ideas. As Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant drilled the game winning field goal with just a handful of seconds left on the clock an immediate feeling of disbelief prevailed.
The Seahawks seemed to be the team of destiny, so this score clearly couldn’t stand. But after a failed ‘Hail Mary’ attempt, the game clock was expired, and the score read 30-28 Falcons.
For anyone who watched the game you know how empty that pit in our collective stomachs felt after this loss.
After a near miracle comeback, here are a few things that ultimately led to Seattle’s demise.
Dreadfully slow start, again
If you thought last week’s start against the Skins was bad, you must have been shocked that Seattle could come out of the gates even less potent in Atlanta. But they did. The first half was a complete write off for Seattle.
Poor defense, sputtering offense, and a general lack of motivation it appeared. All of this is uncharacteristic of Pete Carroll‘s squad. The hole they dug themselves into before halftime honestly did seem insurmountable, and it was one hell of a second half show the Seahawks ended up putting on.
If only they had gotten off to a hot start like they managed to often towards the season’s end, things may have ended up different, and I’d be writing a very different article.
Lack of pressure on Ryan
Seattle’s pass rush has been great lately and a key reason they are the league’s top scoring defense. But they had virtually zero impact on Atlanta’s very accurate Matt Ryan. It’s not a good idea to let any QB stand back and have time in the pocket, especially if he is a six-foot-four, cannon armed player who threw 30+ touchdowns this season.
Seattle was dealing with the loss of Chris Clemons on the end, and he is quite the player to lose, but nobody stepped up in his absence.
The lack of pressure allowed Ryan to survey the field and wait for any of his talented teammates to get open. Seattle’s DBs played decent, but you can only cover a Roddy White for so long down the field.
Football really is a team game, and this part of the team made things difficult on the rest.
Inability to establish the run
This certainly ties into the slow start. Seattle needed, and I’m sure wanted, to establish the run early with Marshawn Lynch. Getting the running game rolling opens up the rest of the offense as the defense needs to crowd the line and put eight in the box.
If Lynch had a solid first quarter, the WRs surely would have found more favourable looks down the field and both the play action pass and read option would have become great weapons.
Having said this, Seattle needed their D to make some key stops early in the game in order to give the run a chance. It’s very tough to be patient and keep on running the ball when you are down by multiple scores.
Atlanta’s rushing attack wasn’t overwhelming, but it was enough to balance their offense and keep a favourable pace to the game.
Having said that, don’t expect Beastmode to be held down too many times in the coming season.
In a game that had incredible ups and downs and nail-biting moments, the end result was not what any of us wanted. We can however, look back and be proud of a great season for the Hawks and the great young core of players who will be returning next year.
Carroll has a great thing going and the next few seasons are sure to be entertaining and very successful.