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Winners and Losers from Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Well... that was better?!

The Seattle Seahawks couldn’t be much worse than last week’s poor display against the San Francisco 49ers. Thankfully, offense and special teams was significantly better. Unfortunately, the defense has gotten worse with each week and they haven’t come close to hitting the most difficult part of their schedule.

Winners and Losers time after Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.


Geno Smith (and by extension, Shane Waldron)

Yes. He’s my biggest winner even with the two sacks and interception thrown on the final drive. Those sacks were not good to take but I can excuse the desperation pick They opened up the playbook and Smith performed very well, the quality of the opposition’s defense be damned. He was efficient on 3rd down, getting the ball out on time, and while he got away with some riskier throws that weren’t picked, I felt that Geno was in command of the offense and stepping into some quality, confident, accurate throws.

If we sacrifice the lack of real explosive passing plays, you have to be able to move the ball in smaller chunks and the Seahawks consistently did that. It’s a credit to him and also Shane Waldron for a much better called game.

Yes, the offense only scored 3 points in the 2nd half but they also weren’t having rapid-fire, disastrous plays. Three 2nd half possessions is a problem and a lot of that is on a defense that refuses to generate stops until they’re backed up against their own end zone.

Offensive Line (in pass protection only)

Smith had 46 dropbacks and was only sacked twice. Charles Cross and Abe Lucas were very good, and the clean pockets meant Smith could wheel and deal. Gabe Jackson looked better in pass pro which was encouraging. The run blocking remains a weakness and a lot of that is on the interior, which is worth monitoring. After that opening drive they struggled to create holes for the backs to exploit.

The tight end trio: Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, Noah Fant

Uncle Will collected another touchdown on a beautiful seam throw by Geno. Colby Parkinson set up that TD with a 36-yard grab on a 3rd and 1 play-action. Fant had 4 catches for 27 yards but only had one first down grab. In total they combined for 9 catches, 105 yards, and a score. The much-awaited implementation of tight ends as viable receiving threats has the bonus of Parkinson seemingly getting more comfortable in the offense after not featuring much in his first two seasons (primarily due to injury).

The big two: Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf

Lockett hauled in another 9 passes for 76 yards, continuing to be a safe pair of hands when targeted. DK Metcalf had just 5 catches out of his 12 targets, but he had 64 yards and an excellent first touchdown of the year. I guess Metcalf will get dinged for one drop in the 4th quarter but it was tipped so that changed the trajectory of the ball at the last moment. It didn’t matter much because Seattle got the first down on the next snap anyway. Four of DK’s five catches resulted in a first down or a touchdown, and some of the incomplete passes were just bad or difficult throws by Smith.

The rookie corners: Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant

Woolen got beat on an intermediate throw one time but otherwise he had his first career interception (on a dumb decision by Atlanta to throw with :05 left in the half) and I didn’t see him get targeted too often. Bryant recorded a sack on a well-executed blitz that really lit up Marcus Mariota. Baby steps for the two rookies!

Jason Myers

Hasn’t missed a kick (FG or PAT) so that’s gotta count for something.


It did a better job of slowing down the Falcons offense than the Seahawks did.


Damien Lewis

Both holds were absolute killers. Lewis’ first holding penalty was an obvious one that put Seattle in 1st and 20 (instead of 2nd and 14, I suppose... he got beat bad by Grady Jarrett), and his second one on a throwback screen to Rashaad Penny was just a needless grab. Those were two damaging plays that put him on the bad list. It is also hard to ignore how much this rushing attack is struggling between the tackles, and Lewis is one of the issues.

Pete Carroll

Pretty much for reasons outlined here, but I’ll also add that I’ve been adamant that he needs to re-earn his reputation as a defensive mastermind. This is the fourth year in a row that the defense is looking like they’ve never played together before. The game wasn’t poorly coached as a whole, but that defense is absurdly awful and while I could certainly lump the defensive coaching staff (led by Clint Hurtt) here, that these issues persist through multiple coordinators and assistants point to Pete.

Front Seven

It is not a good sign that 35-year-old Al Woods has been the best player on defense. Don’t get me wrong, he rules! But he’s not supposed to be the centerpiece of your front line. Once again they’re getting destroyed in run support, struggling to generate a consistent pass rush, and this is the more experienced part of the group. Quinton Jefferson has been in the league for several years, whereas Poona Ford and Bryan Mone are veteran players in my book. Even Uchenna Nwosu got caught out on a couple of runs, including the 40-yarder by Cordarrelle Patterson. Darrell Taylor got a strip sack but again is struggling to stop running backs in the backfield.

Cody Barton really struggled and Jordyn Brooks has only made a handful of tackles that weren’t at least five yards down the field.

This group just is not functioning at an acceptable level. Atlanta had zero plays that went for negative yards outside of the kneeldowns and the sacks.

Josh Jones

There is no reason for Ryan Neal not to be playing over him at this point. That’s why not every preseason standout holds up against full speed, regular season lineups. We knew there would be a dropoff from Jamal Adams to the next safety in the depth chart but it’s a chasm when Jones is in. His tackling is bad, his pursuit angles aren’t good, his run defense is appalling (as evidenced by several of Cordarrelle Patterson’s best plays), and he’s not particularly fast. I don’t think there was a worse performer on the defense than him.

Mike Jackson

The penalties and getting beaten in coverage repeatedly made it a rough day at the office for Jackson, and almost all of it in the 1st half. His story has been nice but I wouldn’t count on him staying as a starter for much longer... unless the Seahawks really do intend to healthy scratch Sidney Jones and Artie Burns every week.

Dee Eskridge

This is less about performance and more about how damning it is that Geno Smith threw the ball 44 times and Penny Hart got one more target than him. Penny Hart only had one target. I’m adamant that this is, more than ever before, a golden era for investing heavily in wide receivers no matter how pass-heavy you are and even who your quarterback is. I didn’t mind taking a WR with the first pick in 2021. This was a miss. Eskridge is not a factor.

Kenneth Walker III

This is gonna be a bit controversial because he had a good 21-yard run he had on the jet sweep, but on Seattle’s second drive he looked to run the wrong direction and Geno Smith had to take a 3-yard loss. Same situation happened last week and if that’s the case then Walker shouldn’t be in the game until he has command of the playbook. I doubt that Geno was the one in the wrong on both occasions.

Final Notes

  • This game is on the defense. Geno didn’t deliver in the clutch but he also delivered 23 points on 8 drives, which on a points per drive rate is up there with elite offenses. If he struggles against elite defenses like the 49ers but plays well against the bad ones I’m content. Allowing 27 points on essentially 8 drives (discounting the kneeldowns at the end) is bottom of the barrel stuff. They have only forced one three-and-out all season and have already faced a staggering 12 red zone possessions. Time of possession was in Seattle’s favor and so was the play count. The injuries have no doubt impacted this group but I dread to think what happens against better teams.
  • Left tackle Jake Matthews got away with a ton of uncalled false starts. That (and the BS Quandre Diggs roughing call) was the only real problem I had with the officiating. They weren’t one-sided either, as Mariota’s rushing TD initially being called short was a laughable call live.
  • DeeJay Dallas filled in very well in Travis Homer’s absence, and I particularly liked when Geno shifted him for a blitz pickup and he became a safety valve for a 3rd down checkdown. That should lessen the blow if Homer has to miss time.
  • The Seahawks are highly unlikely to be favored to win any games through November. Maybe the Giants. Maybe. And with this run defense, Saquon might rush for 300. In the meantime just look for improvements, promising individuals, and celebrate the little things like the Seahawks getting 420 yards on 69 plays.
  • I’ll leave you with one question that I’ve asked before but feels pertinent to ask again: Do you trust Pete Carroll and John Schneider to rebuild another contender? That needs to be brought up every week. I’ve been on the “no” side even before the season started, and I’ve not been persuaded over the early part of the season.