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Unfortunate Falcons Fall To Seahawks In Seattle – Week 6 Recap

Dan Quinn at microphone Atlanta Falcons via


A late pass interference no-call soured a back-and-forth game between two of the NFC’s top teams on Sunday as the Seahawks prevailed over the Falcons 26-24.

After trailing 17-3 at the half, Matt Ryan took advantage of some lapses in concentration in the Seahawks’ secondary to throw three touchdowns in the third quarter. It wasn’t to be the Falcons’ day, though, as a late Christine Michael touchdown and 44 yard field goal from Steven Hauschka left the Falcons needing a field goal.

An uninspiring final drive ended with a long pass to Julio Jones, who was unable to come down with the ball when Richard Sherman, realizing that he was about to give up the reception, pulled Jones’ arm away with the ball in the air. The Falcons’ players, coaching staff and even Richard Sherman looked to the officials but the flags never came and Russell Wilson was able to take a knee for the remainder of the game.

After a tough schedule within the first six weeks, Atlanta has proven to be the best team in the NFC South so far, having beaten two divisional rivals in the Saints and Panthers. While losing to the Buccaneers was certainly disappointing, beating two of the AFC’s top teams in the Broncos and Raiders and sitting at 4-2 is hugely encouraging.


Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be disappointed with the first half performance, but he once again showed why he’s been receiving such high praise this season as he adjusted his gameplan and watched Matt Ryan pick apart one of the top defenses in the league during an action-packed third quarter.

The offense proved further that they are more than just Julio Jones, with Ryan completing passes to 10 different receivers. The marquee match-up was undoubtedly Jones taking on Richard Sherman and, while the All-Pro cornerback would no doubt point to Jones moving into the slot at times to escape him. Jones‘ seven catches for 139 yards and a touchdown showed once again just how dominant he can be.

Atlanta’s offensive strategy revolves around getting playmakers in space. Levine Toilolo 46-yard touchdown was a prime example. The 6’8 blocking tight end had time to catch the ball, turn and stumble towards the end zone before a Seahawks’ defender could get near him.

Going up against a team who had allowed just 13.5 points per game on average through their first four games, the Falcons will be encouraged by the way that they were able to move the ball in the passing game. However, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for just 50 yards on 17 carries.

One of the main areas for improvement for the Falcons this year has been their offensive line. The group of Jake Matthews, Andy Levitre, Alex Mack, Chris Chester and Ryan Schraeder have been able to keep Matt Ryan on his feet and open lanes in the running game in previous weeks.

The group struggled on Sunday as they surrendered four sacks. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett found success early and often, with Pro Football Focus crediting Bennett with five quarterback hits and a hurry. It is no coincidence that the Falcons’ offense started moving more effectively after Bennett left with an injury.

Veteran punt returner Eric Weems has struggled in recent weeks with his decision making pinning the offense back near their own end zone too often with fair catches when common sense would suggest letting the ball roll and allowing Ryan and company to start from the 20 yard line. With the Falcons needing every point that they could get, Weems’ decision on Sunday to call for a fair catch on the Falcons’ 3 yard line cost the team valuable field position.


Following a dominant display against the Denver Broncos in week 5, the Falcons’ defense took a step back on Sunday. Desmond Trufant caused the only sack on an early blitz and Russell Wilson was able to stand tall more often than not behind a struggling offensive line

While the secondary performed well as a whole, it was a familiar story for Robert Alford, who picked up another pass interference penalty, taking his total to 4 for the season. Alford’s physicality when targeted deep has consistently been a problem for him. He has the speed to stay with receivers, but has a habit of putting his hands on them when the ball is in the air.

The rookie class continues to excel for the Falcons. Keanu Neal led the team in tackles and forced a fumble, proving that the team was right to select him in the first round of the draft back in May. Deion Jones looks comfortable at the middle linebacker position and “the occasion” doesn’t look too big for him. Undrafted cornerback Brian Poole continues to keep 2015’s second round pick Jalen Collins on the sideline.

Weakside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell struggled to contain Jimmy Graham in his first game back from injury, but Graham is one of the premier players in the league at his position. Campbell will improve as he returns to speed both physically and mentally.

The issues on the defense are fixable. The Falcons missed too many tackles (as many as 7 recorded, as per Pro Football Focus ), but they’re an inexperienced unit and are getting in the positions to make the plays. The team is playing with an intensity that hasn’t often been associated with Atlanta football and having modeled themselves on the defense that they faced on Sunday, there are a lot more similarities than differences.


The loss to the Seahawks definitely hurts the Falcons. A victory would have left their NFC South rivals panicking, but they still lead the division. After traveling to Denver and Seattle in a week, they will be glad to get back to Atlanta and recover at home before welcoming the San Diego Chargers to the Georgia Dome on Sunday.