Seattle beat Atlanta 33-10 at the Georgia Dome Sunday. Here’s our review of how our pre-game Five Things to Watch turneout:
1, Holding the line: We wrote pre-game that Seattle had allowed 405 yards rushing the last two weeks, and 200 or more in each game, against the Rams and Bucs but now faced an Atlanta team averaging just 64.4 yards per game on the ground, last in the NFL. Seattle, in a somewhat rare occurrence, held Atlanta to exactly its average, 64 yards, which proved pivotal in the dominating defensive effort. As each coach said later, Seattle simply won the line of scrimmage. Atlanta had a couple rushing plays here and there, but never sustained anything to hurt the Seahaawks.
2, Starting fast: Seattle came into the game having scored only 29 points in the first quarter this year — they had scored 63 or more in each of the other three — and had scored just seven points in the first quarter of the last four games. On the surface, not much was different against the Falcons as Seattle led just 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. But more important was that the Seahawks had already set a tone of dominance, outgaining Atlanta 88-30 in the first quarter. The game was never really in doubt.
3, Putting Matty on Ice: Atlanta’s main threat coming into the game was its passing attack led by quarterback Matt Ryan, and a receiving corps that would get the return of Roddy White. But the Seahawks never let Ryan get any real rhythm, holding him to just 172 yards, with White making just one catch for 20 yards. Ryan was just 9-16 for 53 yards in the first half as Seattle grabbed control.
4, Winning third down: We wrote that Seattle had been erratic of late on third down both offensively and defensively in recent weeks. But as with almost everything Sunday, they were simply dominant in this area against the Falcons hitting on 9-15 offensively (60 percent) while holding Atlanta to 4-12. The Falcons were just 1-7 in the first half.
5, Winning the turnover battle: Another checkmark for the Seahawks as they forced one turnover while not losing any, the first time in five games they won the turnover battle. The turnover Seattle got came late and didn’t impact the outcome. More important was simply not losing any after the three against Tampa Bay that went a long way toward keeping that game close.