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Seahawks start strong, Jamal Adams dazzles in 38-25 win over Falcons

The Seahawks’ offense started fast and finished strong, Jamal Adams was everywhere, and Seattle is 1-0.

Just like the Seahawks planned it.

Seahawks win: New season, new Hawks? | Quick hits | 710 reacts | Stats

Seattle’s hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2014 season got off to a great start Sunday with a 38-25 win over the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday.

Russell Wilson appeared to get a chance to cook, completing 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards, no interceptions and four touchdowns, including two to running back Chris Carson in the first quarter to help the Seahawks jump out to a 14-3 advantage. And yes, you read that correctly – Wilson threw as many touchdowns as he did incompletions.

The storyline of this game that most will remember it for, however, is the Seahawks debut of Jamal Adams, the superstar safety Seattle gave up its first-round pick in each of the next two drafts (and more) to acquire. Adams was a force blitzing the passer, registering the Seahawks’ first sack of the year. He was a force in coverage. And most apparent was that he was a force as an enforcer, making 12 tackles, eight of which were solo and several that were of the crushing variety.

The Seahawks looked improved in their areas they hoped to be. They averaged 25.3 points per game in 2019, and they scored 38, which would have been a season-high for the team last year in a game that didn’t go into overtime. Seattle also had a pair of sacks after Miami was the only team in the NFL with less sacks than the Hawks last year.

Here’s a quarter by quarter look at the Seahawks’ win.

First quarter

Seahawks 14, Falcons 3

The first showing of the Seahawks’ revamped defense was a mixed bag.

Seattle had a few standout plays on the first series of the season from players who have a lot of eyes on them, with Adams factoring in on an incomplete pass from Atlanta’s Matt Ryan targeting Julio Jones, and 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier getting to Ryan in the backfield to force an intentional grounding penalty. That play by Collier pushed the Falcons out of field goal range, but a 12-yard catch on the next play by Jones put them right back in range, and kicker Younghoe Koo connected from 39 yards to give the Falcons an early lead.

What about the Seahawks’ first drive on offense? Well, it was similar to what the defense did, but with a higher rate of success.

Russell Wilson was sacked twice, including pretty much immediately on the first play by Atlanta defensive end Tak McKinley, but he also was a perfect 6 for 6 passing for 49 yards to lead a 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive.

Running back Chris Carson found the end zone on a 3-yard pass from Wilson, but the biggest play was a pass interference call on the Falcons on a third-and-23 deep ball over the head of top Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett that bailed out Seattle and kept the drive alive. Newcomers Greg Olsen (9-yard reception) and Carlos Hyde (5-yard rush) each had an early impact.

The Hawks’ defense took that momentum and did something with it. Though Ryan and Jones connected for a 28-yard gain to open Atlanta’s second offensive series, Seattle made back-to-back stops on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 to get the ball back at its own 40.

That’s when, if you blinked, you missed a glimpse at how dominant this Seahawks offense could be in 2020.

First, Wilson found DK Metcalf for a 13-yard gain. Then the 31-year-old QB showed he still has wheels, reeling off a 28-yard keeper run. And before you knew it, Carson was in the end zone once again on a 19-yard screen pass to make it 14-3 Seahawks. All told, it was a three-play, 60-yard TD drive for Seattle.

Injury note: Defensive end Rasheem Green, last year’s Seahawks sacks leader, was deemed questionable to return with a shoulder injury late in the quarter but returned shortly thereafter.

ATL – Younghoe Koo 49 FG, 13:31
SEA – Chris Carson 3 pass from Russell Wilson (Jason Myers kick) 4:43
SEA – Carson pass from Wilson (Myers kick), :53

Second quarter

Seahawks 14, Falcons 12

The highlight of this quarter for the Seahawks was unquestionably Adams.

Over and over again, Adams was in on plays for the Seahawks’ defense, none more apparent than the first sack of Seattle’s season – the All-Pro safety got to Matt Ryan on third-and-6 to force a punt.

Adams ended the next series, too, taking down Julio Jones after a reception on third-and-11 to keep his gain limited to 5 yards.

Through the first six defensive series of the season, Adams’ stat line was ridiculous: eight combined tackles, six solo tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack.

There wasn’t much to write home about from the offense, however. After a scorching first quarter, Seattle gained just 24 yards over three drives in the second, punting to end each one. Wilson was sacked three times before halftime for a total loss of 27 yards.

The Falcons inched towards the Seahawks’ lead with a touchdown drive to open the frame, with old nemesis Todd Gurley II punching in a 1-yard score to cap a nine-play, 75-yard series that included a 27-yard pass from Ryan to new Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst. Koo added a 49-yard field goal as time expired going into halftime to make it a two-point game.

ATL – Todd Gurley II 1 run (kick failed), 11:25
ATL – Koo 49 FG, :00

Third quarter

Seahawks 28, Falcons 12

Early on after halftime, Metcalf was wide open with a lot of open field in front of him – and the second-year wide receiver dropped the ball.

He wasted no time making sure that wasn’t the lasting memory of him from the game.

Metcalf caught a third-and-7 pass and outstretched his arm to get the ball past the first-down marker to keep the drive alive, then hauled in a beautiful deep ball on a gutsy fourth-and-5 play for a 38-yard touchdown.

That pushed Seattle’s advantage to 21-12 (pleasing Rush fans everywhere), but the Seahawks weren’t done building on their lead.

The Falcons tried to catch Seattle off guard with a fake punt on fourth-and-2, and while Sharrod Neasman did get the needed yards, Seahawks defensive back Marquise Blair knocked the ball loose and rookie receiver Freddie Swain recovered the fumble. Five plays and 36 yards later, Olsen was in the end zone on a 7-yard reception for his first TD since the veteran tight end joined the Seahawks in the offseason.

Seattle was able to keep the score there near the end of the quarter as Benson Mayowa tracked down a scrambling Matt Ryan, leaping to sack him on fourth-and-2 to give the Seahawks the ball back at their own 20.

SEA – DK Metcalf 38 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 9:41
SEA – Greg Olsen 7 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 5:05

Fourth quarter

Seahawks 38, Falcons 25

The Seahawks’ defense kept Atlanta at bay just enough while the offense kept pushing.

Though a collision in coverage by Seattle’s secondary allowed Calvin Ridley to easily catch an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ryan, the defense bounced back to get Atlanta to turn the ball over on downs on its next drive.

The offense, which opened the quarter with a 42-yard field goal by Jason Myers to go up 31-12, covered 65 yards in seven plays to find the end zone once again, this time a 1-yard rush by Carlos Hyde, one of Seattle’s offseason additions in free agency.

The ending was a bit sloppy for the Seahawks, however. Ridley caught a short TD pass in the final minute, and though the score was still out of reach, the Falcons also recovered an onside kick and had one last chance at the end zone. Quandre Diggs picked off the Hail Mary attempt, though, for Seattle’s first interception of 2020.

SEA – Myers 42 FG, 11:19
ATL – Calvin Ridley 18 pass from Matt Ryan (pass failed), 9:35
SEA – Carlos Hyde 1 run (Myers kick), 3:45
ATL – Calvin Ridley 7 pass from Ryan (Koo kick), :33

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