Seattle beat Atlanta 33-10 on Sunday. Here are some rapid thoughts after the game:
What happened: A mauling. No other way to put it. This is the game Seattle fans have been looking for, a day to watch the Seahawks flex their muscles. It hadn’t happened since beating Jacksonville in the third week of the season. That Seattle had still gone 8-1 heading into this week had still left some wanting more, especially after close wins against St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The Seahawks throttled Atlanta in just about every way: Long drives on offense, a dominant rushing game, a defense that shut off the run and got after Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. Seattle, for the first time in a little while, played like one of the NFL’s best teams.
What it means: Not much, despite how well Seattle played. That’s not to take away from a dominant performance — they don’t happen often in the NFL — but the Seahawks were still in the driver’s seat of getting home-field advantage even with their close wins. The biggest takeaway: The Seahawks appeared to correct whatever had been ailing them defensively in stopping the run, although it should be noted that Atlanta is not a very potent team running the ball.
The good: Take your pick. How about an offensive line that started three backups for the third time and, for the most part, kept Russell Wilson upright while giving Marshawn Lynch room to rush for more than 100 yards? Or how about a defense that gave up just three points in the first half and never let Atlanta get going in the run game? Or how about the play of receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate?
The Bad: A bit nit picky, but, hey, that’s what we do: Seattle settled for field goals three times in the first half. That didn’t hurt the Seahawks against Atlanta — and with the way their defense has played, field goals can hold up — but better teams can make you pay for not capitalizing. The other, more important long-term bad: Cornerback Brandon Browner left the game with a groin injury and didn’t return and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel left with a hamstring injury and didn’t return.
Player of the game: Marshawn Lynch. Lynch rushed for a season-high 145 a game after rushing for a previous season-high 125 yards against Tampa Bay. Lynch has 45 carries for 270 the last two weeks, and the offense played another solid game. Any doubts about how Lynch was being used have gone away the last two weeks.