Seahawks rebound from rough 3rd quarter to beat Falcons 26-24

Oct 16, 2016, 5:02 PM | Updated: 8:11 pm
This disputed non-pass interference call between Julio Jones and Richard Sherman highlighted the en...
This disputed non-pass interference call between Julio Jones and Richard Sherman highlighted the end of the Seahawks-Falcons matchup earlier this season. (AP)

The Seahawks blew a 14-point lead and their star cornerback blew up on the sideline, and that was just the third quarter.

The Seahawks missed a field goal in the fourth quarter and had a game-tying point-after attempt blocked in the fourth quarter before coming back to win it on Steven Hauschka’s 44-yard field goal with 1:57 to go.

Seattle 26, Atlanta 24, and this one was improbable even by the Seahawks’ elevated standards of disbelief.

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For one half, the Seahawks’ defense played as well as it ever has under Pete Carroll, holding the league’s best offense to just 86 yards and a field goal.

In the third quarter, Seattle’s defense was as bad as it has ever been as Atlanta gained 252 yards and scored three touchdowns. The first of those scores came on a 36-yard scoring pass to Julio Jones, prompting a visceral, angry reaction from cornerback Richard Sherman, who threw his helmet.

The Falcons scored two touchdowns after that in the quarter as Matt Ryan completed 13 of 17 pass attempts in the period for 220 yards. It matched the second-most points the Seahawks had allowed in any period during Carroll’s tenure as Seattle coach.

Give Seattle credit for rallying in the fourth quarter, though. Not only did the Seahawks hold Atlanta scoreless, never letting the Falcons cross midfield in the final period, but Seattle overcame two miscues in the kicking game.

First was a missed field-goal attempt that would have cut Seattle’s deficit to four points. Then came a blocked point-after attempt that would have tied the score. And finally, after Earl Thomas intercepted a ball that was first dropped by Jones and then tipped by Sherman, the Seahawks had the ball at midfield.

One first down and 24 yards later, Hauschka lined up for a 44-yarder that was made without incident to give Seattle the lead. The Seahawks closed out the game without giving up a first down, the final play a deep throw to Jones that was defended by Sherman.

First quarter

Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked 11 times in the first five games of the season. He was sacked three times in the first quarter, twice by Cliff Avril. The first of those two resulted in a fumble, which Tony McDaniel recovered at the Atlanta 9. It was the first fumble recovered by the Seahawks’ defense this season, and it set up the only score of the first half as Christine Michael scored on a 9-yard run on Seattle’s next play from scrimmage.

Each team ran 14 plays from scrimmage in the first quarter, with the Seahawks gaining 69 yards in total offense compared to 32 for Atlanta as receiver Julio Jones was held without a reception.

SEA – Christine Michael 9 run. (Steven Hauschka kick) at 2:02. (Drive: 1 play, 9 yards, 0:05.) Seattle 7, Atlanta 0.

Second quarter

Jimmy Graham had 62 yards receiving in the first half. Atlanta had 86 yards of total offense. To put that into perspective, the Falcons had gained more than 175 yards in the first half of each of their first five games.

Atlanta’s offense crossed midfield only twice in the first half and had exactly three snaps inside the Seattle 20. The disparity in field position was evident as the Seahawks’ average drive started at their own 37 while the Falcons’ average starting position was their own 22.

ATL – Matt Bryant 33-yard field goal at 8:42 (Drive: 12 plays, 52 yards, 4:37). Seattle 7, Atlanta 3.
SEA – Alex Collins 2 run at 4:36 (Hauschka kick) (Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:06). Seattle 14, Atlanta 3.
SEA – Hauschka 42 field goal at 0:46 (Drive: 5 plays, 22 yards, 1:16). Seattle 17, Atlanta 3.

Third quarter

The Falcons nearly matched their first-half production on the first possession of the second half with a 75-yard drive that was punctuated by a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jones.

Cornerback Richard Sherman reacted angrily after the play, throwing his helmet in frustration. Sherman lined up outside on the play, defending tight end Jacob Tamme, leaving Jones in the slot against safety Kelcie McCray, who didn’t follow Jones deep.

The Falcons drove 79 yards on their next possession, including an 18-yard run.

ATL – Julio Jones 36 pass from Matt Ryan (Bryant kick) at 11:07 (Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:59). Seattle 17, Atlanta 10.
ATL – Mohammed Sanu 10 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick) at 6:11 (Drive: 8 plays, 79 yards, 3:23). Seattle 17, Atlanta 17.
ATL – Levine Toilolo 46 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick) at 0:26 (Drive: 6 plays, 97 yards, 3:27). Atlanta 24, Seattle 17.

Fourth quarter

Steven Hauschka missed his first field-goal attempt of the season, pulling a 29-yard attempt on a play where Nolan Frese’s snap was low and to the right of holder Jon Ryan. It was the first field-goal attempt that Hauschka had missed at CenturyLink Field since November 2014.

All that was a prelude to the game-winning kick, which Hauschka made with 1:57 left. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was furious that pass interference was not called on Sherman on the Falcons’ final play, a fourth-and-10 heave from Ryan downfield.

SEA – Michael 1 run (kick blocked) at 4:43 (Drive: 9 plays, 70 yards, 3:51). Atlanta 24, Seattle 23.
SEA – Hauschka 44 kick at 1:57 (Drive: 7 plays, 24 yards, 1:51). Seattle 26, Atlanta 24.

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Seahawks rebound from rough 3rd quarter to beat Falcons 26-24