By Jackson Safon
Redemption. The Falcons cut the Seahawks season short in the divisional round of the playoffs last season but the ‘Hawks got their revenge yesterday. Neither team was at full strength, but Seattle got the elusive win against Matt Ryan in the Georgia Dome. Make no mistake about it, even in a down year for the Falcons they are still a very tough beat when they play at home. This was absolutely a big game and the Seahawks we all expected from the beginning of the season finally showed up. A decisive win on the road could be what this team needs to jump-start themselves forward.
Golden Tate had a huge game for the Seahawks on Sunday.
1. The offense soars
Finally the Seahawks offense showed up. All the Seahawks fans expected the offense that averaged over 30 a game in the second half of the year last season to be the offense this year, but this just hasn't been the case. Yesterday however, it seemed the offense flipped a switch. The pass protection was there, allowing only one sack, and there never seemed to be much pressure on Wilson. The ‘Hawks ran the ball for over 200 yards as a team, and the passing game wasn't far behind as Wilson threw the ball all over the field for 287 yards, averaging over 11 yards per attempt. It was a fantastic display of offense that should only improve with Percy Harvin likely coming back next week (HOLY CRAP I CAN’T WAIT).
2. The defense stays strong
After allowing back to back 200 yard rushing performances, the Seahawks defense buckled down yesterday and only allowed 226 yards TOTAL. The Falcons have not been very successful running the ball this year and thankfully, the Seahawks continued that trend, holding them to only 64 yards. Even in a slightly down year, Matt Ryan is near perfect at home, but the Hawks held him to 172 yards and a 63% completion percentage. The defense as a whole was swarming and totaled two (should have been three) sacks and one forced fumble. A well played game all around.
3. Special teams continues excellence
Steven Hauschka went 4/4 on field goals, including one from 53 yards to continue his great start to the season, with his only miss being a block. Jon Ryan and the punt unit have been the best in the league at allowing opponents returns, and the kickoff coverage was excellent as well. Golden Tate averaged 18.3 yards on his three punt returns which provided the ‘Hawks with great field position. It was a dominant effort in all three phases yesterday.
4. The Golden Rules
Golden Tate had himself a day, with 6 catches for 106 yards and a spectacular touchdown catch. He had a fine day in the punt return game as well, but the highlight of the day came on his touchdown catch with one second left in the first half. Russell Wilson through a dime to the left corner of the end-zone and Tate went up with one hand to grab the ball and dragged both feet in the process. It was a ridiculous catch to cap off a beautiful drive at the end of the first half, something the Seahawks failed miserably to do in the divisional playoff game against the Falcons last year. Tate played some outstanding football yesterday and the ‘Hawks should continue to keep him involved even when Harvin returns.
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