Sunday afternoon’s NFC divisional game was one of the most exciting, and intense finishes. People will remember Seattle taking the lead with 31 seconds to go, and Matty Ice leading his Falcons on a 41 yard game winning drive, but the outcome was determined in the first half. Seattle is headed to the NFC championship game, and they will host the San Francisco 49ers.
Even with the large lead in the first half, there was always a thought that the Seahawks were primed to make a comeback. Officially, the Atlanta Falcons won the game with eight seconds on a Matt Bryant field goal. Unofficially, this game was lost in the first half. It wasn’t lost because of the 20-0 deficit. However, the deficit was a byproduct of a strange call by the Seattle coaching staff.
With 5:38 left in the second quarter, and the Seahawks down 13-0, Seattle decided to go for it on 4th and one. Seattle was at the 11 yard line, and they were in chip shot field goal range. Instead of getting points on the board, they decided to hand the ball off to the fullback, Michael Robinson. No lead blocker. No Marshawn Lynch. No first down. Robinson was stopped cold for a one yard loss.
In that moment, Seattle pulled a Philadelphia Eagles move. They should have taken the points and cut the lead to 10. There was way too much time in the game for a panic move, and it cost them the game. At that point, Seattle needed points more than they needed a touchdown.
There was an immediate let down by Seattle, and three plays later, Atlanta was in the end zone to take a 20 point lead. Atlanta went for 33 yards, a five yard penalty, and 47 yard touchdown pass to Roddy White. Seattle was deflated and the Falcons took advantage of the situation.
On the ensuing possession, Seattle marched down the field to the six yard line and 25 seconds left. Once again, the offense self destructed on three consecutive plays. On first down, they had an incomplete pass. Then they had a false start. Then they had another incomplete pass. With 17 seconds left, Russell Wilson took a sack, and time ran out as they tried to get off a fourth down play.
Seattle had already started to dominate offensively, and they didn’t have any points to show for it. For the rest of the game, Seattle was playing at least six points behind from where they should be.
In the third quarter, Seattle scored to make it 20-7 instead of 20-13. The Seahawks were missing points and it came back to haunt them. So when Atlanta got the ball back at the 28 yard line, and 25 seconds left in the game, all they needed was a field goal. Instead of needing a touchdown to win or tie, they needed 41 yards to set up a game winning 49 yard field goal.
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