Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

ATLANTA -- Pete Carroll opened his postgame presser with one of his favorite taglines.

“I’ve been saying it a long time, you can’t win the game in the first half,” the coach said as he took the podium at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

I’d disagree, respectfully of course, and argue that the Seattle Seahawks dominant first half is the only reason they were able to hold off the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Seahawks held a 24-0 lead at halftime before nearly squandering it all away in the second half. Seattle edged Atlanta, 27-20, when it was all said and done.

The Seahawks are now 6-2 at the midway point, including 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1980, but the game illustrated that they still have a long way to go. Everyone recognized that fact following what ended up being a narrow win in Week 8.

“We’re obviously happy with the win, but we want to win in more beautiful fashion,” K.J. Wright said. “It happens. They’re a hardworking team, and they fought to the end.”

The Seahawks scored just three points in the second half and gained a meager 82 yards over the final two quarters. Seattle was outgained 522-322 overall. Matt Schaub, the 38-year-old quarterback who played in place of the injured Matt Ryan, carved up Seattle for 480 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Julio Jones did Julio Jones things, catching 10-of-12 targets for 152 yards.

What’s more, the game very easily could have been closer. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman fumbled on the 1-yard line, and Atlanta missed on a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter that would have made it a one-score game. That’s without mentioning Matt Bryant’s two missed field goals in the first half.


Three takeaways, with Marquise Blair’s forced fumble against Freeman standing as the biggest, is what put Seattle over the top in this one.

“We had a few silly mistakes,” Wright said of Seattle’s second half collapse. “We had a lot of offsides. We had a lack of communication out there. When you play difficult teams – or I should say teams with winning records, you can’t have those mistakes. We have to make sure we stay poised and consistent all the way through.”

Communication errors and silly mistakes seem a bit concerning this far into the season though, right?

“It just happens, man. It’s a part of the game. We’ve just got to make sure we do a better job at it,” Wright said. “It shouldn’t be happening in Game 8. We should be sharp, but we’ve got to continue to get better, keep emphasizing it and it’ll happen.”

Carroll assured that the Seahawks didn’t take their foot off the gas over the final two quarters, even though “it looked like it.” He owned the blame for how drastically the momentum shifted after halftime.

 “Our guys went out there and we got knocked all over the place. I’ve got to do a better job of making sense of the situation and all that. We’ve got to play better,” Carroll said. “We don’t quite have it yet. We’re not quite there. Where we are, to be 6-2 and to be feeling that is OK. We’ve got a ways to go.”

Another common phrase is that “you are what your record says you are.” And that sentiment, at least partially, is true. Seattle won’t argue with a 6-2 record, not even a little bit. The Seahawks are firmly in position to claim a playoff spot for the seventh time in eight years.

But it’s imperative to note that the NFC is absolutely loaded. Who knows when the 49ers are going to lose. The Saints just got Drew Brees back and have lost just once. The Packers are another one-loss team in the conference. And then who knows what you’re going to get the rest of the way from the Rams, Vikings and Cowboys.

Carroll is confident though, and he vowed that Seattle’s best football is yet to come.

“We’re going to finish. This club has finished forever, and we’re going to do it again,” Carroll said. “We’re going to see if we can do our part to cause some problems for the rest of the league.”