The term "Team of Destiny" is thrown around too much. Every season in every sport a team is nominated for that title. For a minute or so of game time today the Seahawks looked to be that team, until a 49 yard Matt Bryant field goal split the uprights of the Georgia Dome goalposts with eight seconds to go. The Falcons botched squib kick gave the Hawks Hail Mary life but it was not to be. 30-28 was the final and the season is over for Seattle.
There will be no consolation for the Seahawks and their fans today. Nor will there be tomorrow. They had a one point lead with less than a minute to go. But the Hawks showed a nation that still wanted to be convinced, that they belonged at this level of competition. The Falcons had all the best of it in the first half. A 20-0 halftime lead after a messed up final drive for Seattle made it look for all the world like Cinderella's slipper was meant for someone else. That is, until Russell Wilson said, "Put that shoe on me, and be quick about it."
Russell opened the second half with a precision drive. Nine plays, 80 yards, with the payoff a 29 yard pass down the left sideline to Golden Tate. Falcons fans had seen this happen before. They exchanged nervous looks.
The Seattle defense which had given up more than their share of rushing yards in the first half, shut down the Falcons rushing tandem of Micheal Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. The Falcons went to the air and scored. Matt Ryan to Jason Snelling, five yards, touchdown.
Undaunted, the Hawks combined efficient offense and strong defense for the first time today. Wilson scores, the Falcons punt, Wilson finds Zach Miller, who caught eight balls for 142 yards in having a career day. Touchdown Seahawks! It was 27-21 but the Seahawks were storming back! Falcon fans look haunted. Seahawks fans are looking up flight information to San Francisco!
A short punt by the Falcons gave the ball to the Hawks near midfield. Marshawn Lynch, quiet all day and a fumbler in the first half, roared to life. He scored, the replay showed his fumble had happened in the end zone and the Hawks had the lead!
Matt Ryan put together the field goal drive of the Falcons season. Three plays, 41 yards, and 49 yards from the field goal that would likely win it for Atlanta. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll called timeout to ice Falcons kicker Matt Bryant. The practice kick, as the time out was whistled, went wide right. The real one split the uprights. The Falcons were up two.
The Falcons attempted squib kick turned into an onside kick and the Seahawks had time to try to get into field goal range for veteran kicker Ryan Longwell, signed just this week to replace the injured Steven Hauschka. All they could manage was the Atlanta 48 yard line.
Russell Wilson aired the ball out, getting it five yards into the end zone where it landed in the arms of Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. The final gun sounded. Falcons 30-Seahawks 28.