The Seahawks came back from a 20-point 4th quarter deficit to take the lead with 0:34 seconds remaining, but the Falcons countered with two quick pass plays after a nice kickoff return, and these three big gains put them to within field goal range. Matt Bryant kicked the 49-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining, and Seattle's subsequent hail mary throw as the clock ran out was intercepted in the endzone by Julio Jones.
The Seahawks started slow in this one, and that's an understatement. The defense was gashed on the ground and through the air, and the offense struggled once in the redzone, and by halftime, Seattle found themselves down 20-0. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, was going wrong, and my hopes were not high as the Hawks took the field for the 2nd half.
The third quarter did nothing to dissipate my feeling of dread, and the Falcons took a 27-7 lead into the final frame. After three quarters, the Seahawks' offense was beginning to get rolling, but the defense had failed to force an Atlanta punt. They did manage to pick off Matt Ryan with 11:09 remaining and a 27-14 deficit, and the comeback was on. Seattle marched down the field to score a touchdown with 9:19 remaining, and then after a couple of defensive stops, took the lead with :34 seconds remaining, 28-27. The most amazing comeback in recent history just needed to be closed out, but once again, the Seahawks' defense failed to make a stop when they needed one. Ryan hit Harry Douglas deep left at the sideline for 22 yards, and then hit Tony Gonzalez right up the middle as Bobby Wagner badly misplayed the coverage, and with those 19 yards, the Falcons were in striking distance. Game. Season over.
Zach Miller continued to demonstrate why he is worth every single penny the Seahawks pay him, and finished with 8 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. He made huge plays Seahawks' offense needed them for the 2nd game in a row, and the connection between Miller and Wilson kept the Seahawks in this one until the very end. Golden Tate came up big late in the game as well, and finished with 6 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Sidney Rice caught four passes for 60 yards.
Russell Wilson played very well after a slow start, and by the fourth quarter had absolutely caught fire. The rookie QB finished 24 of 36 for 385 yards, 2 touchdowns and an intercepetion, and he rushed the ball 7 times for 60 yards and a score as well. With the Seahawks down big for the first time in,... well, this season, and probably going back 40 or 50 games, Wilson starting dealing the rock to his receiving weapons. This Seahawks team just will not allow themselves to get blown out.
Marshawn Lynch didn't have his best game, rushing for only 46 yards on 16 attempts, but the Hawks' running backs picked up some slack in passing game; Lynch took three passes for 37 yards and rookie RB Robert Turbin caught two passes for 37 yards himself. The offense did enough to steal the win away from a Falcons team that jumped all over Seattle to start, but the Seahawks' defense just couldn't muster the final stop. Heartbreaking.
Hell of a ride. Should be a fun offseason, and as Pete Carroll put it in the post-game presser, the Seahawks are just getting started.