SEATTLE (AP) — After more than a week away from home, Cordarrelle Patterson wasn’t about to head back to Atlanta as one of two winless teams in the NFL.
“We’ve been away for eight days. I told them there’s no way I’m coming home with a ‘L,’” Patterson said. “My family would kill me if I was gone that long and lose.”
Patterson more than did his part, rushing for a career-high 141 yards and one touchdown, and the Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks 27-23 on Sunday for their first win of the season.
After narrowly losing last week in Los Angeles against the Rams, the Falcons remained on the West Coast and spent the week in Seattle preparing for the Seahawks. They’ll head back home after managing to avoid joining Las Vegas as the only 0-3 teams in the league.
Patterson rumbled for 107 yards in the second half and the Falcons were able to avoid starting 0-3 for the second time in three seasons.
Mariota used the pass game to pick up chunks of yards in the first half, then it was Patterson churning big plays in the run game.
Patterson said it took time to find run plays that worked. But when those plays started to hit, there were big gains to be made. Patterson had a key play sequence running for 40 and 18 yards that led to Drake London’s 14-yard touchdown from Marcus Mariota that gave Atlanta the lead for good.
“You know it’s good when the offensive line says, ‘Let’s run this play; let’s run this play,'” Patterson said.
Patterson had a career-best 120 yards in the season opener against New Orleans and topped it just two weeks later. His 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave Atlanta a 17-10 lead.
Mariota was 13 of 20 passing for 223 yards and his touchdown throw to London. London had just three catches for 54 yards, while Kyle Pits had five receptions for 87 yards.
“Seattle did a great job early on kind of boxing us in and we made some plays in the passing game. Once you’re able to do that, it loosens it up and our guys up front did a great job with kind of pushing that line of scrimmage,” Mariota said.
Seattle quarterback Geno Smith threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted by Richie Grant on a desperation fourth-and-18 from the Atlanta 38 with 1:30 remaining. It was the fourth time in Smith’s career topping 300 yards passing and the first since the 2014 season.
Smith threw touchdowns to DK Metcalf, his first of the season, and Will Dissly, both in the first half.
“Really disappointed that we weren’t able to finish that game. Was a terrific football game that went back and forth, and there’s a lot of good things that happened in this game. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish our last drive,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks will also question the decision to kick a 25-yard field goal from Jason Myers late in the third quarter when Seattle faced fourth-and-2 at the Atlanta 7. Seattle called timeout before deciding to kick, rather than go for it.
Atlanta seemed poised for a clinching score midway through the fourth quarter when a mistake by Mariota gave Seattle a chance.
Mariota and Tyson Allegier mishandled the handoff and fumbled with 5:12 remaining. Seattle’s Uchenna Nwosu jumped on the loose ball and Seattle had a chance at driving for a winning touchdown.
“That’s on me, in that situation being smarter with the football,” Mariota said. “Selfishly, I was trying to close it myself. I thought I could get around the corner.”
Smith made a handful of key throws to get Seattle to the Atlanta 24. A key holding penalty on Damien Lewis erased a screen pass to Rashaad Penny that would have put the Seahawks at the Atlanta 10. Grady Jarrett then sacked Smith on third down, and his fourth-down pass for Tyler Lockett was overthrown and picked off by Grant.
“Especially in that situation, with the game on the line we’ve got to figure it out,” Smith said.
The game was stopped with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter for about five minutes, apparently because of a drone flying in the area around Lumen Field. Players were sent to the sidelines before the game resumed.
There was also a brief delay because of a drone during Saturday night’s game between Washington and Stanford across town.
“Some interesting thoughts going through your head when they told us to go to the bench, but luckily nothing happened,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said.
Seattle was without three of its top cornerbacks as Artie Burns, Sidney Jones and Justin Coleman were all inactive. Burns was working back from a groin injury but neither he nor Jones had any injury designation on the final injury report for the week. Coleman had missed last week with a calf injury.
Seattle also lost backup running back and special teams standout Travis Homer on the first possession of the game. Homer had a 7-yard carry, but left with a rib injury and was ruled out.
Falcons: Atlanta returns home for the first time since Week 1 to face Cleveland.
Seahawks: Seattle plays its next two on the road beginning next Sunday at Detroit.