The Atlanta Falcons were good in some stretches, but couldn’t put it together for four quarters as the Seattle Seahawks walked away with the 38-25 victory behind closed doors at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
On 3rd and 23 at the Seattle 49 yard line, Atlanta’s Ricardo Allen was flagged for a 41-yard pass interference penalty. Two plays later, Seattle running back Chris Carson scored on a two-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Russell Wilson, which put the Seahawks up 7-3.
After Atlanta turned the ball over on downs in their ensuing possession, Seattle scored on three plays. Carson caught a beautifully-executed screen pass and scored from fourteen yards out, putting the Seahawks up 14-3. During their offseason, #LetRussCook became the primary topic of conversation around the Seahawks. Wilson started 8 of 8 for 81 yards and had a QB rating of 148.4 in the first quarter.
Running back Todd Gurley donned the red and black colors of the Falcons for the first time and scored a touchdown from one yard out. Later on, kicker Younghoe Koo converted a 49-yard field goal attempt, drawing the Falcons closer, trailing Seattle 14-12 at the half.
However, Seattle created separation between themselves and Atlanta. On the 10th play of their opening drive, Seattle went for it on 4th and 5 from the Atlanta 38 yard line. Wilson dropped a dime into wide receiver DK Metcalf’s breadbasket on a 38-yard touchdown strike, putting the Seahawks up 21-12.
On the next drive, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn sent out the punt team fourth-and-2 at their own 33-yard line. The ball was snapped directly to safety Sharrod Neasman, who ran up the middle. Neasman picked up enough yardage for the first down, but a direct shot on the ball by Seahawks safety Marquise Blair jarred it loose and allowed Seattle receiver and former Florida Gators standout, Freddie Swain, to recover it.
“In this game, that was the one that we had and the look that we were looking for,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of the decision to run the fake punt. “To not execute that one and obviously turn the ball over, that was a big part [of the game].”
As soon as Seattle got the ball on Atlanta’s 36-yard line, the Seahawks needed only five plays to score another touchdown. This time, Wilson found former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen on a seven-yard touchdown strike, putting the Seahawks up 28-12, forcing Atlanta to abandon the run for the rest of the game.
Wilson finished the day 31/35 for 322 yards and four touchdown passes. Wilson also ran for 30 yards and passed the 4,000-yard mark in his career becoming just the fifth QB in NFL history to surpass 4,000 yards rushing (the others being Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, Cam Newton, and Steve Young).
Matt Ryan finished the day completing 37 out of 54 passes with 450 passing yards. He had two touchdown passes and one interception.
As the Falcons began playing catch-up, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage each had 100-yard receiving days. Jones finished with 157 yards on nine receptions. Ridley had two touchdowns in addition to 130 receiving yards on nine receptions. Gage had 114 yards on nine receptions.
The defensive line did get pressure on Wilson. Defensive end Takk McKinley sacked the Seattle quarterback on the first play of the game. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was credited with 1.5 sacks and former Rams standout Dante Fowler, Jr., earned a half-sack.
Notably, after the opening kickoff, Seattle and the Falcons took the knee.
“It was good to have both organizations come together and do something together,” Jarrett said. “I think it will help spark conversations for change.”
Civil Rights leader and former U.S. Congressman, John Lewis, was honored as every player wore white armbands with the initials “JL” and the team logos.
Seahawks will host Cam Newton and the New England Patriots in their home opener next Sunday. Meanwhile, Atlanta hits the road to Dallas to take on the Cowboys next Sunday.