Seahawks comeback falls short against Falcons

Seattle pulls close, but can't overcome Ryan and Co.

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

Published:

Updated: October 2, 2011, 7:32 PM

 
photoSeattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson makes a leaping pass over Atlanta Falcons defender Peria Jerry in the first half Sunday.

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photoSeattle Seahawks Sidney Rice is wide open for a touchdown reception, after beating Atlanta Falcons defender William Moore.

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photoAtlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan scrambles for a 9-yard gain as Seattle Seahawks' Alan Branch gives chase in the first half Sunday.

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SEATTLE — The final score can’t capture the drama or the momentum swings, but in the end it’s all that matters.

So here it is: Atlanta 30, Seattle 28. That was the outcome Sunday at CenturyLink Field, and that is what will go into the record books.

Never mind that it won’t show how Atlanta dominated the first half, amassing 256 yards of offense and building a 24-7 lead. Or that the Falcons took the second-half kickoff and added a field goal for a 20-point advantage.

Never mind that the Seahawks battled back, closing to within 30-28 and getting in position for a desperation 61-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds.

All that matters is that Seattle dropped to 1-3 on the season heading into a road game at the New York Giants, a bye week, and a road game at Cincinnati before returning home.

“There were guys making plays that gave us a chance to win the football game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “But we just didn’t pull it off. It’s about as much as you can take out of a game and getting beat. We’re going to try to grow from this and get better.”

The Seahawks got better as the game went along. Considering how the Falcons toyed with them during the first half, they needed to.

Atlanta drove 72 yards for a touchdown on its first possession, with Tony Gonzalez scoring on a 1-yard pass play.

Early in the second quarter, following an interception, the Falcons drove 37 yards for a 14-0 lead as Michael Turner ran 21 yards for the score.

By early in the third quarter, it was 27-7 and Seattle was lifeless. Then the Seahawks went to a no-huddle offense.

“We just need to bring our second-half game to the first half,” running back Marshawn Lynch said. “That’s basically what it is right now.”

Seattle drove 61 yards for a touchdown, with Tarvaris Jackson finding Mike Williams in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line.

The Seahawks then forced a punt for only the second time in Atlanta’s seven possessions to that point, and started driving again. The possession ended with what turned out to be one of the crucial plays of the contest, as Jackson threw to tight end Zach Miller, who got one foot down in the end zone before being clobbered by James Sanders. The ball popped up and was intercepted by Thomas DeCoud.

Moments later, Seattle scored on a one-play drive — an 11-yard touchdown run by Lynch that was set up by a 33-yard punt return from Leon Washington.

An Atlanta field goal made it 30-21, but the Seahawks cut it to 30-28 when Jackson found Ben Obomanu for an 8-yard touchdown with 8:13 to play.

“I thought Tarvaris showed us what we’ve been counting on, what we’ve been seeing and what we felt,” Carroll said. “Tremendous plays, tremendous throws, sets, poise, toughness again, and the ability to execute when it’s really hard.”

Jackson, who is in his first season with the Seahawks, completed 25 of 38 passes for a career-high 319 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

“I feel like we’re coming together more as a team,” Jackson said. “Just the positive thing from this game that’s very encouraging is that we have those type of guys that never give up, so I’m looking forward to the future for this team.”

Seattle got the ball back at its own 15-yard line with 1:49 to play. Nine plays later, the Seahawks were at the Atlanta 43, facing a fourth-and-8 with 13 seconds to play and one timeout remaining. Carroll sent out Steven Hauschka to attempt a 61-yard field goal.

“If we don’t make the yardage, the 8 yards or whatever the heck it was on fourth down, then the game is over,” Carroll said. “We had a shot at 60, and Steven has a big leg, and he can hit the ball. I wanted to give us a chance to win it.”

The kick was short and to the left. Atlanta 30, Seattle 28. And that’s all that mattered.

FALCONS 30, SEAHAWKS 28

Atlanta 7 17 3 3—30

Seattle 0 7 14 7—28

First Quarter

Atl—Gonzalez 1 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick), 6:08. Drive: 12 plays, 72 yards, 7:40. Key Plays: Ryan 5 pass to Jones on 3rd-and-1; Turner 3 run on 3rd-and-1; Rodgers 11 run; Ryan 26 pass to White. Atlanta 7, Seattle 0.

Second Quarter

Atl—Turner 21 run (Bryant kick), 10:13. Drive: 4 plays, 37 yards, 1:31. Key Play: Lofton 4 interception return to Seattle 37. Atlanta 14, Seattle 0.

Sea—Rice 52 pass from Jackson (Hauschka kick), 8:46. Drive: 4 plays, 84 yards, 1:27. Key Play: Jackson 30 pass to Baldwin on 3rd-and-8. Atlanta 14, Seattle 7.

Atl—Turner 1 run (Bryant kick), 2:48. Drive: 11 plays, 72 yards, 5:58. Key Plays: Ryan 10 pass to Turner; Ryan 29 pass to Jones on 3rd-and-13; Ryan 15 pass to White on 3rd-and-7; Ryan 16 pass to White. Atlanta 21, Seattle 7.

Atl—FG Bryant 47, :25. Drive: 9 plays, 33 yards, 1:18. Key Play: Turner 5 run on 3rd-and-1. Atlanta 24, Seattle 7.

Third Quarter

Atl—FG Bryant 50, 13:40. Drive: 5 plays, 48 yards, 1:20. Key Play: Ryan 45 pass to Jones. Atlanta 27, Seattle 7.

Sea—M.Williams 6 pass from Jackson (Hauschka kick), 10:01. Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 3:39. Key Plays: Forsett 3 run on 3rd-and-2; Jackson 20 pass to Baldwin; Jackson 19 pass to M.Williams on 3rd-and-6. Atlanta 27, Seattle 14.

Sea—Lynch 11 run (Hauschka kick), 3:07. Drive: 1 play, 11 yards, 0:05. Key Play: Washington 33 punt return to Atlanta 11. Atlanta 27, Seattle 21.

Fourth Quarter

Atl—FG Bryant 42, 11:38. Drive: 13 plays, 57 yards, 6:29. Key Plays: Ryan 22 pass to Gonzalez; Bryant 5-yard offside penalty on 3rd-and-2; Ryan 10 pass to Rodgers on 3rd-and-8. Atlanta 30, Seattle 21.

Sea—Obomanu 8 pass from Jackson (Hauschka kick), 8:13. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards, 3:25. Key Plays: Jackson 12 pass to Obomanu; Jackson 13 run; Jackson 16 pass to Baldwin on 3rd-and-9. Atlanta 30, Seattle 28.

A—66,266.


Atl Sea

FIRST DOWNS 25 20

Rushing 8 4

Passing 15 14

Penalty 2 2

THIRD DOWN EFF 9-16 6-11

FOURTH DOWN EFF 0-0 0-0

TOTAL NET YARDS 412 372

Total Plays 78 53

Avg Gain 5.3 7.0

NET YARDS RUSHING 121 53

Rushes 36 15

Avg per rush 3.4 3.5

NET YARDS PASSING 291 319

Sacked-Yds lost 0-0 0-0

Gross-Yds passing 291 319

Completed-Att. 28-42 25-38

Had Intercepted 0 2

Yards-Pass Play 6.9 8.4

KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 7-5-2 5-4-4

PUNTS-Avg. 4-37.5 3-49.7

Punts blocked 0 0

FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0

TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 54 134

Punt Returns 2-24 2-40

Kickoff Returns 1-19 4-94

Interceptions 2-11 0-0

PENALTIES-Yds 4-35 6-40

FUMBLES-Lost 0-0 0-0

TIME OF POSSESSION 40:10 19:50


INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Atlanta, Turner 26-70, Ryan 4-26, Rodgers 6-25. Seattle, Lynch 8-24, Jackson 2-16, Forsett 3-11, Washington 2-2.

PASSING—Atlanta, Ryan 28-42-0-291. Seattle, Jackson 25-38-2-319.

RECEIVING—Atlanta, Jones 11-127, Gonzalez 7-56, White 6-78, Turner 2-18, Rodgers 1-10, Palmer 1-2. Seattle, Baldwin 5-84, Rice 3-79, M.Williams 3-36, Lynch 3-33, Forsett 3-30, Obomanu 3-25, Miller 3-21, Robinson 1-7, Washington 1-4.

PUNT RETURNS—Atlanta, Weems 2-24. Seattle, Washington 2-40.

KICKOFF RETURNS—Atlanta, Weems 1-19. Seattle, Washington 4-94.

TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS—Atlanta, Moore 8-0-0, Lofton 4-4-0, Weatherspoon 4-3-0, DeCoud 3-0-0, Edwards 3-0-0, Peters 3-0-0, Grimes 2-3-0, Biermann 1-1-0, Peterson 1-1-0, Abraham 1-0-0, Dent 1-0-0, Jerry 1-0-0, Robinson 1-0-0, Sanders 1-0-0, Schillinger 1-0-0, Weems 1-0-0, Hayden 0-2-0. Seattle, Browner 8-0-0, Trufant 7-2-0, Hill 5-4-0, Thomas 5-4-0, McDonald 5-1-0, Hawthorne 3-7-0, Mebane 3-2-0, Bigby 3-0-0, Brock 2-3-0, Curry 2-3-0, Johnson 2-1-0, Branch 1-1-0, McQuistan 1-0-0, Sherman 1-0-0, Unger 1-0-0, Wright 0-2-0, Bryant 0-1-0, Clemons 0-1-0, Thurmond 0-1-0.

INTERCEPTIONS—Atlanta, DeCoud 1-7, Lofton 1-4.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Seattle, Hauschka 61 (SH).


OFFICIALS—Referee Walt Anderson, Ump Butch Hannah, HL Steve Stelljes, LJ Byron Boston, FJ David Meslow, SJ James Coleman, BJ Billy Smith, Replay Dale Hamer.

Time: 3:13.