A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tarvaris Jackson. Yes, the Seahawks lost. But their quarterback turned in a winning performance, especially in the second half. It was the kind of effort that gives hope for the future as the team moves into the remaining 12 games of its schedule.
Jackson passed for a career-high 319 yards and three touchdowns by completing 25 of 38 passes to nine different receivers. The completions matched his career high, while the attempts were three shy.
In the second half, when the Seahawks rallied for 21 points, Jackson was 17 of 24 for 186 yards. But the best aspect of his afternoon was that Jackson had time to go to his second and even third options because the offensive line provided him the needed protection.
Like on his 8-yard TD pass to Ben Obomanu in the fourth quarter.
“He was my last read,” Jackson said of looking first to Sidney Rice and then another option on the right side before eventually settling on Obomanu to the left side.
“That’s a long play. Ben’s got a route where he comes in and comes back out, so that takes time. … That was at least five or six seconds back there.”
Which translates into an extra “Mississippi,” or three, for the QB.
“I was very proud of them,” Jackson said of his offensive line. “When I came off the field I made sure I went to the line first and told them that was because of those guys that was able to get it to Ben.”
Said Rice, “Tarvaris looked good back there. He was able to sit in the pocket and make his reads, throw the ball down the field to multiple receivers – not only in the field, but in the end zone as well. I’m looking forward to more good things out of Tarvaris.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Jackson’s 52-yard touchdown pass to Rice in the second quarter. Unlike his 55-yarder to Doug Baldwin in the opener against the 49ers that was 7 yards of pass and 48 yards of run after the catch, this one was all ball-in-the-air. And it came on a “free” play, because the Falcons had jumped offside before the snap.
“I saw him throw his hand up,” Jackson said of why he went to Rice. “He threw his hand up and I just gave him a shot – kind of like Randy Moss.”
That was reference to a trait that made Moss infamous during his career in Minnesota, where Jackson and Rice also played together the past four seasons.
“I was looking at the safety, and the safety was inside,” Jackson said. “They didn’t give him any help over the top and when (Sidney) threw his hand up I just tried to get it to him – just put it out there and he went and got it.”
Defense: Make it a series of plays, as the Seahawks forced a three-and-out on the Falcons’ third possession of the third quarter. On first down, tackle Alan Branch played off a block to help free safety Earl Thomas drop 247-pound Michael Turner for a 2-yard loss. On second down, tackle Brandon Mebane stopped Turner for 1 yard. On third down, Branch hit QB Matt Ryan as he was throwing to force an incomplete pass. That led to the Falcons’ Matt Bosher punting from his own end zone, which led to …
Special teams: Leon Washington’s 33-yard punt return, to the Falcons’ 11-yard line. On the next play, running back Marshawn Lynch scored to cut the Falcons’ lead to 27-21.
As coach Pete Carroll put it after the game, “We got banged up a little bit.”
The worst injury was to Matt McCoy’s knee. Carroll did not elaborate on the injury, but McCoy was taken from the field on a cart after colliding with fellow linebacker Aaron Curry while covering the first punt of the game.
“That’s going to hurt,” Carroll said of losing McCoy, who had been playing middle linebacker in the nickel and goal-line defenses as well as being a leading tackler on special teams. “He’s done a beautiful job of playing those snaps and giving those other guys a break and they also have to double him on special teams. So we’re going to have to take a look and see how serious the injury is and what that means to us.”
Also injured during the game: wide receiver Mike Williams (concussion), defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (hamstring) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring).
The Seahawks played without strong safety and leading tackler Kam Chancellor (bruised thigh), who was replaced by Atari Bigby; and left guard Robert Gallery (groin surgery), who was replaced by Paul McQuistan.
THIS ’N THAT
Jackson (14) and Ryan (13) had been sacked 27 times in the first three games, but neither was sacked on Sunday.
Rookie Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks with five catches for 84 yards, while rookie Julio Jones led the Falcons with 11 catches for 127 yards.
The Falcons converted 9 of 16 third down situations, but where 3 of 8 in the second half after going 6 of 8 in the first half. As a result, the Falcons held a huge advantage in time of possession (40:10 to 19:50).
Middle linebacker David Hawthorne had a game-high 10 tackles and was followed by cornerback Marcus Trufant, linebacker Leroy Hill and Thomas, each with nine. Thomas had two tackles for losses.
Jackson threw two interceptions, but each went off a player – as Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent tipped his pass that was intended for Williams and linebacker Curtis Lofton made the pick; and his pass to tight end Zach Miller in the end zone was broken up by safety James Sanders and intercepted by safety Thomas DeCoud.
After going without a catch in last week’s win over the Cardinals, Williams caught three passes for 36 yards. He was one of six players with three receptions of the Seahawks.
Jon Ryan averaged 49.7 yards on three punts, with a long of 57.
Tom Cable, the assistant head coach/offensive line coach who had back surgery on Monday, was in the coach’s box for the game – seated in a large recliner to support his back.
The Seahawks do not play at CenturyLink Field again until Oct. 30 against the Cincinnati Bengals, because they road games against the New York Giants (next Sunday) and Cleveland Browns (Oct. 23) sandwiched around their Oct. 16 bye.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was great. I feel fresh, like I just came to the stadium.” – Jackson, when asked about the play of the offensive line, which did not allow a sack for the first time this season