The Seahawks in the second half played like a Seattle team that fans have not seen this year. In their 30-28 loss, the Hawks outscored the Falcons 21-6 coming out of halftime, nearly pulling off a last second win.
Tarvaris Jackson put up 186 of his 319 yards through the air in the second half, eclipsing his full game totals against Arizona and Pittsburgh and more than 120 yards better than his total versus the 49ers.
It’s debatable whether or not there’s such thing as a good loss, but if there is then this game was as close as it comes. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Seahawks were so far behind in the first half. Instead of the team folding in the second half and conceding the loss, they fought back and nearly won.
“Last week was terrific to get the win,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We gained more today, and I think we grew more today.”
The game ended with a decision by Carroll that came into question following the game. With 13 seconds remaining on the clock, Carroll made the decision to go for a 61-yard field goal instead of taking a chance to get a bit closer for the attempt. After kicker Steven Hauschka came up short, the Seahawks were left with one timeout remaining as Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a knee to end the game.
Carroll’s rationale was simple, he wanted to give his team an opportunity to win the game. Either way Seattle was facing a low percentage fourth down conversion or a low percentage field goal attempt.
“I didn’t want to not have a chance to win the game,” said Carroll. “We had an opportunity, and an old coach told me if you got a chance to win the game on the last play—you go for it.”
Those who might question whether or not Hauschka has enough leg to make that kick can drop that idea. Watching the guy kick before the game, it’s clear he has the ability to make it from that distance and Carroll had enough confidence in him to take the chance.
One area where the team grew today that was particularly obvious was through the play of the offensive line. This was particularly evident on the touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu to bring the Seahawks a field goal away from the win. Jackson held firm in the pocket before finally finding Obomanu alone in the corner of the end zone. In the previous three weeks, a similar play would have ended with Jackson being picked up off the turf.
The biggest highlight of the game for the Seahawks had to be Jackson’s 52-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the second quarter. After getting the defense to jump offsides on a hard count, Jackson aired it out right before getting hit. The pass hit Rice perfectly in stride for the long touchdown.
For the second straight week, Jackson was booed by the home fans. This week the boos came as early as the end of the team’s second possession. It might be worth giving Jackson a bit more room. His passing performances to date haven’t been spectacular, but he stepped his game up against the Falcons this week completing 25 passes for 319 yards. His second half performance should earn him a bit of good will with the fans who have been calling for backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to start.
While the Seahawks have received a lot of praise in the losing effort, some blame needs to be attributed to the play of the team’s defense this week. Some untimely penalties and missed opportunities could have made the difference between a win and a loss. While the defense was able to get some pressure on Ryan at times, they never got to the quarterback and cornerback Brandon Browner was burned by Atlanta receiver Julio Jones for 127 yards on 11 catches.
Carroll has been getting a lot of praise for his second-half adjustments. But if Seattle can get out quickly rather than waiting until after half time to get things going, those adjustments can be made to help pull away rather than trying to climb back into a game.
Overall, in spite of the losing effort, it was great to see the 12th Man rocking CenturyLink Field in the second half. The postgame Twitter quote of the day goes to Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock who said, “Thanks for the love #12’s ….yall definitely had the stadium loud at ignorant levels!!!We will bounce back next week in NYC!!!”
Seahawks fans have to hope that will be the case. A win going into the bye week would be a huge boost, especially against a team like the Giants, who narrowly pulled out a win against the Cardinals in Arizona. Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes to get the 31-27 win. The Giants winning effort keeps the Cardinals even with Seattle at 1-3 on the year.
San Francisco pulled out a late win of their own against Philadelphia to go to 3-1. It was the tremendous comeback victory the Seahawks hoped to pull off themselves. Down 23-3 in the third quarter, the 49ers defense shut down Michael Vick and the Eagles, capping off a 21-0 run with a touchdown run by Frank Gore with three minutes left in the game.
St. Louis remains winless after losing 17-10 at home to the Washington Redskins.