Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/29/14

                 The Atlanta Falcons matchup with the Seattle Seahawks proved to be a tale of two halves for the Dirty Birds at CenturyLink Field. Things started out as perfect as possible for Atlanta, as the defense forced Seattle’s abysmal offense into a quick three-and-out and the offense drove down on the Seahawks defense, ending a 12 play, 72-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez. Atlanta’s defense held Tavaris Jackson and Co. in check for two straight tries (3-and-out then INT by Curtis Lofton), allowing the Falcons offense to try and widen their lead a bit. They did this very thing on the fourth play of their drive, as Michael Turner took the ball and rumbled twenty-one yards down the field for a touchdown, his second of the season. Seattle then answered with a scoring drive of their own, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 14-7 on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to wide receiver Sidney Rice. The Falcons, still energized offensively, put together another scoring drive, moving the ball 44 yards on 11 plays and putting it in the end zone on a 1 yard run by Turner. Another three-and-out by the Seahawks gave the Falcons a chance to score yet again, which they did on a 49-yard field goal by Matt Bryant with 0:49 left in the second quarter. Limited by the time left, Seattle ran the clock out, determined to come out in the second half better prepared to stop Atlanta’s high-powered offense.

                The Falcons have to give Pete Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff credit in this one, because the Seahawks came out ready to play some football in the second half while Atlanta came out and apparently were more concerned about the flight back home. As the Falcons came out and lolligagged around the field, determined to eat away an entire second half of football, Seattle was on the comeback trail, cutting the lead to 27-21 following touchdowns in the third quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Mike Williams and an 11-yard run by Marshawn Lynch. Following Lynch’s touchdown, the Falcons were put in a position in which they needed to respond, and even though their 57-yard drive was nice, it wasn’t good enough to put the game away, as it ended with a 42-yard field goal by Bryant, his third of the day. Now down by a score of 30-21, Tavaris Jackson, doing his best Brett Favre imitation, led the Seahawks on a mad dash to the end zone, completing an eight-yard pass to Ben Obomanu with 8:13 to cut the deficit to 30-28. The Falcons offense tried to take advantage and end any hope for a Seahawks comeback, but their drive ended with 1:49 left in the game. With 85 yards ahead of them, the Seahawks started moving the ball yet again, and it looked as if they had victory within their reach. However, an incomplete pass by Jackson on 3rd and 8 set up a 61-yard field goal for Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, whose career high was 54 yard back in 2008. Unfortunately for the Seahawks fans, Hauschka’s kick was well short, ending what looked like an improbable come-from-behind victory for the Seahawks and giving all of Dirty Bird Nation a chance to catch their breath.


Passing: Predicted Ryan throws for 246 passing yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs Actual Ryan threw for 291 passing yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs.
Rushing: Predicted Turner takes 23 carries for 111 yards and 1 TD Actual Turner took 26 carries for 70 yards and 2 TDs.
Receiving: Predicted Roddy White makes 7 receptions for 91 yards and 1 touchdown. Actual White made 6 receptions for 78 yards with 0 touchdowns. Rookie Julio Jones led the team with 11 receptions for 127 yards.

                Even though Atlanta looked great in the first half of this game, the struggles in the second half raise major red flags for this entire team. The Falcons offense was non-existent in the third and fourth quarter, managing 9 first downs and 6 points through the most important 30 minutes of football, and the defense was a joke, allowing a putrid Seahawks offense to put up 372 total yards (319 through the air). While the Falcons got extremely lucky in stopping the Seahawks late, it’s clear that this team  has a lot of work to do if it wants to compete with the defending Super Bowl champs next Sunday night.  

Can the Falcons take the title belt away from Green Bay come Sunday night?


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