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Seahawks Takeaways: Win over Falcons tells tale of 2 Hawks teams

Pete Carroll took blame for the Seahawks' second-half struggles in Sunday's win. (Getty)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put it plainly Sunday afternoon.

“I didn’t do a good enough job,” he told reporters after Seattle held on for a 27-20 win over a struggling Atlanta Falcons team. “I’m telling you. Obviously, they went out there and we looked like we were a totally different team.”

Seahawks 27, Falcons 20: Recap & photo gallery | Britt hurt

The Falcons outscored the Seahawks 20-3 in the second half of their contest in Atlanta. After halftime, they outgained Seattle 346 to 82 in net yards and had 21 first downs compared to just three for the Seahawks. Quarterback Matt Schaub, who started for the first time since 2015 in place of an injured Matt Ryan, was 26 of 32 for 309 yards. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson – a leader in the league’s MVP race – had just five pass attempts against an Atlanta defense that ranks near the bottom of the league against the pass.

You’d hardly guess the Seahawks won by a touchdown. But they did, and they were able to keep the Falcons at bay and improve to 6-2 thanks to a stellar first half.

Seattle pulled ahead 24-0 in what was a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense had 240 yards and converted on all three of their trips into the red zone. Wilson himself was 9 of 15 passing for two touchdown against a porous Falcons defense. Running back Chris Carson bulldozed through defenders for 86 yards and another touchdown.

Cornerback Shaquill Griffin had two tackles and two passes defensed and the secondary held its own despite being short a starting corner (Tre Flowers). Linebacker Mychal Kendricks made his first interception as a Seahawk and pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney sacked Schaub in a play that also forced a fumble in the final seconds of the second quarter.

The first-half Seahawks boasted a franchise quarterback who made jaw-dropping plays to a top-tier veteran receiver, a punishing running back who could drag defenders for additional yardage, a young corner who flashed promise and veteran savvy in the front seven. They stayed competitive despite losing their starting center. They looked like an NFC contender.

The second-half Seahawks? That’s a different story.

What remains to be seen is whether it remains the story of Seattle’s season.

A showing from Schaub

For the second time this season, the Seahawks allowed 400 or more yards by an opposing passer. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener (a total that led all quarterbacks in Week 1), and on Sunday it was the 38-year-old Schaub who threw for 460 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It was the most passing yards any Seahawks team has allowed by an opposing quarterback during Carroll’s coaching tenure. The next closest is Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 456 yards against Seattle in November 2015.

That’s not to say Schaub didn’t make mistakes. In fact, maybe that’s why he’s yet another name on a very interesting list: Quarterbacks who have lost to the Seahawks while throwing 400-plus yards. It now totals seven, according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil:

Wagner sets a new Seahawks record

Sunday also brought a new franchise record. Linebacker Bobby Wagner has now registered more tackles than any other player in Seahawks history (985).

“He’s got plenty of years left,” Carroll said of the 29-year-old Wagner, who signed a three-year extension in July that keeps him under contract with Seattle through 2022. “I don’t know how anybody could ever break that record. I think he’s going to own that forever. That’s amazing that he’s there already. But just a tribute to the unbelievable player that he is, his discipline, his toughness, his work ethic, everything. That’s an incredible number.”

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

More Seahawks coverage: O’Neil’s column | Gallant’s take | 710 reacts