The first three quarters of today’s game could not have possibly gone any worse for the Seattle Seahawks. They struggled to get into a rhythm on offense, and they were allowing Matt Ryan to take apart their secondary. They couldn’t even get any points at the end of the first half because Russell Wilson took a sack with less than 15 seconds on the clock and Seattle didn’t have any timeouts.
However, despite all of this the Seattle Seahawks managed to take a 28-27 lead with under a minute left in the game. The Atlanta Falcons then proceeded to pick them apart with a couple of nicely executed plays down the field and get into field goal range. Matt Bryant nailed the winning field goal, halting all talk of Seattle being the “team of destiny” in the NFL this season.
Credit must be given where it is due and much is due to Russell Wilson today. He was able to lead what should have been an historic comeback had it not been for Seattle’s poor prevent defense. The fact that he got his group to play as well as they did during the fourth quarter is a huge testament to just how impressive of a leader he is as a rookie. Many players and teams would have laid down and quit after the horrible first half that Seattle had. But the Seahawks overcame adversity, in a hostile environment, and had themselves in a great position to play for an NFC championship. This should be encouraging to a team that has many young core players, especially ones like Russell Wilson.
It should not be overlooked how well the Atlanta Falcons played during this game as well. The first half was reminiscent of this years BCS National Championship game the way that they dominated the Seahawks. They ran the ball extremely effectively with Michael Turner, whom no one on the Seattle side seemed interested in tackling. This success with the ground game took pressure off of Matt Ryan and allowed him to make smart decisions and pick when he wanted to take shots down the field. The second half was not nearly as pretty, but they executed when they needed to.
The difference at the end of this game could be explained simply by the fact that Atlanta had been there before and Seattle had not. Throw in the home crowd and the fact that Atlanta was due for a playoff win, and you have the first playoff victory of Matt Ryan’s career.
The Seattle Seahawks proved to the NFL this season that they need to be mentioned in the same breath as teams like the 49ers and Patriots. They have a slew of young players and Pete Carroll will definitely have them ready for another playoff run next season. In case anyone needed reminding, football is alive and well in the Emerald City.