After all the questions, concerns, and anticipation about football during the pandemic, Atlanta Falcon fans got their answer the same old results. The Seattle Seahawks swooped into an empty Mercedes Benz Stadium and possibly flew out with a dominating win 38-25. Don’t let the score fool you. It wasn’t that close.
Last season the Falcons were a significant disappointment going 1-7 during the first half of the season but hit some magical switch mid-season during the bye week to finish the season 7-9. Falcon fans were looking for them to pick up from where they left off, winning the last four games consecutively, but they returned as Jekyll, not Hyde.
Pass interference on 3rd and 23 to put the Seahawks in scoring position. Going for it on fourth down three times and failing. The fake punt resulted in a fumble by Sherrod Nessman. There is a thin line between being aggressive to motivate and deflating the team. But if you are a coach on a warm seat, you have to go for it no need to leave any bullets in the chamber.
On the decision to try a fake punt in the second half:
“If we had the right look, we were going to go do it, and so when the look came up, we executed it, and so we didn’t get there due to the fumble,” said head coach Dan Quinn
The game plan started featuring Todd Gurley, the former UGA Bulldog standout who looked like he was glad to be home, gaining 33 yards on his first five carries. On Seattles’ first snap Tak Mickinley nailed Russell Wilson for a sack. The Falcons were up 3-0 on a Younghoe koo successful field goal. They were popping like my favorite popcorn.
Disaster struck in the form of pass interference on 3rd and 23 by Ricardo Allen. It was downhill from there. All-Pro Russell Wilson took full advantage of the gift and tossed the games’ first touchdown pass.
Then the familiar lack of focus penalties started a false start on 73 that moved the ball back on a chip shot extra point, causing Koo to miss. Calvin Ridley committed a False start and got called for illegal formation penalty as the wheels were starting to fall off.
The Falcons had three receivers over one hundred yards. All World Julio Jones 9 catches for 157 yards. Calvin Ridley 9 catches for 130 yards with 2 touchdowns, and Russell Gage 9 catches for 114 yards.
Matt Ryan completed 37-54 passes for 450 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Falcons ran more offensive plays 77-58 and gained more yards 506-383. The Defense had three sacks in the first half.
Matt Ryan On whether there has been an improvement on offense from a year ago:
“We’re a different offense than we were a year ago. I think every year, to me, is different. We are not as good as we are going to be, right now. It’s going to be our challenge to see what we can become as we move forward. I thought we did some good things and we did some poor things. We’ve got to do more of the good things as we move forward, and I think we’re capable of that.”
With those stats, you might be asking how did they lose? That’s the head-scratcher. Chalk it up to careless mistakes at the most inopportune times. It was lights out at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Seattle was up by 16.
Dan Quinn On his postgame speech:
“I just mainly said, hey, when you don’t get what you want, you put the work in, it gets frustrating. And I know we’ll make a big jump from Week 1 into Week 2 and so we are playing at our best heading into the next game. And so that’s really all I wanted them to focus on was just being at their best — teams I’ve been a part of that were good, just keep getting better and keep getting better and I certainly see that to be the case today as we move into next week. Yeah, we’re pissed and upset, and it’s because we thought we’d thrown a great camp to be ready to play, and when it doesn’t go your way, obviously you’re upset.
It’s back to the drawing board with a better outcome facing the Dallas Cowboys next week in Arlington, Texas, in Jerrys’ World.