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Falcons 34 Seahawks 31: Winners and losers from Seattle’s rare primetime defeat

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images

Maybe I shouldn’t have moved back to the West Coast, because the Seattle Seahawks are 1-2 since my cross-country journey, and that one win felt like a loss due to the injuries suffered by Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Tough luck, because I do not have any plans to return to New York, unless anyone in the comments section wants to pay for my flight.

Anyway, the Seahawks suffered a devastating 34-31 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and chances of a first-round bye are slim and none. There’s a distinct possibility that there will be a postseason without Russell Wilson for the first time since he entered the NFL. I’m not saying it will happen, but go look at the state of the roster, the play of Seattle, the questionable coaching, then the daunting December schedule, and tell me you have overflowing confidence that they’ll go at least 10-6 (which may still not be enough) and find themselves in the playoffs. It’s a 6-4 team that has been behind by double digits as often than they’ve been ahead, which tells you all you need to know.

I’m rambling on, so let’s get to Winners and Losers and then we can all commiserate that I once again can’t deliver an Enemy Reaction for you guys.


Tyler Lockett

With full acknowledgement that the Atlanta Falcons were extremely stupid to keep kicking to him after the first two returns, Lockett looked like his old self in the kick return game. He had five runbacks average almost 40 yards, which is a substantial improvement over the ugliness we’ve seen through most of the season. Lockett also chipped in 4 catches for 37 yards, but his performance on kickoffs was encouraging, even if against a similarly mediocre ST unit.

Mike Davis and JD McKissic

Together they combined for 112 yards of offense on 20 touches, including Davis gaining 41 yards on a couple of screen passes, real-life screen passes! A shame that Davis injured his groin, but these days, being a good Seahawks running back means that getting injured is like an initiation process. Davis and McKissic are entities in the passing game, Thomas Rawls is not.

Jimmy Graham

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Graham is seriously going to end up with under 10 yards per reception this season, and that 2016 won’t be replicated on that end. On the plus side, he’s scoring touchdowns, and he got himself TD number seven on the year. I wish he could’ve caught another TD off of that crazy scrambling Wilson sequence in the 2nd quarter, but I was just relieved it wasn’t intercepted.

Sheldon Richardson

The Seahawks don’t even get the opportunity to tie the game if not for Richardson, who recorded Seattle’s only sack of the evening, and he also was a monster in run defense, teaming up with Dion Jordan on one particular failed toss sweep to Tevin Coleman. I hope Seattle re-signs both Richardsons in the offseason.


Pete Carroll and the Coaching Staff

For reasons I explained here, that was one of the worst coached games I’ve ever seen under Pete Carroll, and that includes the excruciating blowout-filled 2010 rebuild year. I did leave out one person in particular in Monday’s post-game write-up, and that’s...

Kris Richard

This defense is unfathomably bad on 3rd and 10+, let alone 3rd down. I wrote about this when the Seahawks defense was perfect healthy, and they’re currently fourth-worst in the NFL at defending 3rd and long (the offense is 31st at converting them, by the way). Overall, Atlanta finished 9-14 on 3rd down, and that’s a product of both the lack of a pass rush and the Falcons receivers just being flat out better than Seattle’s string of backup corners. The 3rd down woes date back way before Atlanta, and I remain unconvinced about Richard’s defensive playcalling and situational scheming in critical situations.

Frank Clark

Seattle’s pass rush was bordering on non-existent all night long, but I’m singling out Clark because he is essentially Cliff Avril’s long-term replacement. He had a great 2016 and a strong start to 2017, but he has recorded neither a solo tackle nor a sack for three straight games. That is worrisome, because Seattle has had pass rush issues for two weeks running.

Blair Walsh

Walsh didn’t lose the game because he was short on the 52-yard field goal, but he’s under a microscope given how his Vikings tenure ended, and then the disaster against Washington two weeks ago. To come up a yard or two short is really disappointing, and it’s another negative chapter in his recent history. Oh yeah, and he nearly missed an extra point, which thankfully hit the “right side” of the upright.

Germain Ifedi

Ifedi has thirteen accepted penalties on the season, which is two more than 2nd place. He was abused in pass protection for the umpteenth time, and I honestly feel like a broken record having to say this over and over again about Ifedi. Ben Baldwin, you win, I would much rather have Garry Gilliam (who sadly is on IR anyway) starting at RT than the guy who is Seattle’s only first-round draft pick in the last five seasons.

Eddie Lacy

Three carries for two yards. Not one, but two yards. Giving him the ball is more likely to result in the end of a drive than something positive. He has zero burst and struggles to push piles. If only the good running backs were healthy, then Lacy would be a healthy scratch.


This isn’t an “against the Seahawks” thing at all, but wow was that bad. Carl Cheffers’ crew botched the play clock/game clock on Atlanta’s final scoring drive, erroneously spotted the Falcons on the wrong 43-yard line after a penalty on Byron Maxwell, gifted Seattle an incredibly generous first-down when Jimmy Graham was a half-yard short of the marker on the drive that ended with Russell Wilson’s touchdown run, and were horribly inconsistent with their pass interference decisions. Can’t we get a good officiating crew for a change?

Russell Wilson’s MVP chances

Wilson was playing his ass off and was once again almost the entire offense, but the interception was costly and that two-minute drill was bad clock management on his part.

You can throw me all of the advanced statistics you want to prove that Wilson really is the MVP of the league, and I much prefer that form of analysis than “he just knows how to win!” debate show nonsense, but we’re not the ones who have an official vote. Optics matter. Want to know why Wilson wasn’t in MVP consideration in 2015 despite having one of the greatest stretches of quarterbacking in NFL history? Because it took the Seahawks until mid-November to score more than two offensive touchdowns in a single game.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles are blowing mediocre and lousy teams out of the water a majority of the time. So are the New England Patriots (as usual) with Tom Brady. Great teams do not earn their moniker by merely being good at winning close games, they have to be capable of crushing inferior opposition, and the Seahawks have barely done that in 2017. Instead, they scored 12 points against the San Francisco 49ers, and got shutout on offense for 50 straight minutes at home vs. a Washington team that has since allowed 72 points over its last two games. Wilson played his ass off against Atlanta and almost became the team’s first 100-yard rusher of the season, but 258 yards passing on 42 attempts is really inefficient. There’s nothing gaudy about 6.02 AY/A against a mediocre defense.

Those are the games that will be remembered in the eyes of voters more than singular brilliance like Wilson pulled off against the Houston Texans. I suppose there’s still time for Wilson to make a strong push to win MVP, but this offense is not structured enough for me to have high hopes for that.