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Game at a glance: Seahawks 33, Falcons 10
ATLANTA – A recap of the Seahawks' 33-10 victory over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: MARSHAWN LYNCH, JERMAINE KEARSE AND GOLDEN TATE
Since Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta is just up the hill from the Georgia Dome, we're going with an Olympic-style medal stand. So …
Gold: Lynch. He is the tempo-setter for the offense, and Sunday he was in Beast Mode from the get-go. He finished with a season-high 145 rushing yards and a touchdown; caught three passes for 16 yards; had a hand, er, arm in the double-pass that produced the game's first touchdown; generated eight first downs; and not only broke but shredded one tackle after another in doing so.
Did we mention Lynch being the tempo-setter? On two of the Seahawk' first six plays, his second-effort efforts got the first down on a 3-yard run on third-and-2 and he ran from what looked like a sure tackle by safety William Moore short of the first down for a 9-yard gain on third-and-4.
Bronze: Tate, even if his first name is Golden and he made a gold-medal grab in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown just before the half to make it 23-3. Tate finished with six catches for 106 yards, the Seahawks' first 100-yard receiving performance of the season. He also added a 32-yard punt return to help setup his own TD catch. On that catch, Tate controlled the ball with his left hand and somehow managed to get both feet in as he was going out of the end zone.
The defense? Wilson? Steven Hauschka? We're blaming the Eastern-bloc judges for downgrading their performances to keep them off the medal stand.
UNSUNG HEROES: ALVIN BAILEY, AND FRIENDS
The rookie free agent played left tackle in passing situations, when Paul McQuistan slid back to his usual spot at left guard. He played right guard to give J.R. Sweezy a break. But he did not play like a rookie free agent in helping the Seahawks rush for 211 yards and keep Wilson clean – the one sack came when the QB held the ball too long along the sideline on the Seahawks' second possession.
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"The 12th Man is just something special. Every game we've played away this year there has been an unbelievable crowd. … That brings us great energy."
QB Russell Wilson, on the 12th Man's presence at Sunday's game
And Bailey's here-and-there performance was just the tip of the line shuffling that went on because All-Pro center Max Unger, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini were out with injuries. Lemuel Jeanpierre stepped in for Unger. Rookie Michael Bowie continued to replace Giacomini, who missed his seventh consecutive game. But Jeanpierre had played before, and so had Bowie.
"I think the statement of this game was about the three guys that played," coach Pete Carroll said. "You saw Mike Bowie. You saw Lem play. You saw Alvin Bailey play a lot in this football game. That's a fantastic accomplishment on the offensive side of the ball."
It wasn't just seeing them play; it was their play making believers of anyone who saw them.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The aforementioned double-pass. It started with Wilson giving the ball to Lynch. It continued with Lynch stopping, for the only time in the game, to throw the ball back to Wilson. It then went to Kearse putting the dazzle in the razzle-dazzle play by catching the 43-yard pass from Wilson in the end zone.
"We had thrown a toss earlier in the game and it looked like we could possibly get it," Wilson said of a play he and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had discussed on the sideline. "We definitely wanted to call that at some point. Sure enough, we called it and it was a big-time play."
"I could have had way better technique than I did to put myself in the situation," said Thurmond, the nickel back who also took over at right corner after Brandon Browner left the game in the second quarter with groin injury. "Earl (Thomas, the free safety) came up from the deep middle to slow him up, I was able to keep on my horse and knock the ball out. Just trying to finish the play. It was my guy so I had to do something."
Special teams: Hauschka's 53-yard field goal. It was the longest of his four in the game, and longest of the 23 he has kicked this season – in 24 attempts.
In addition to Browner, defensive tackle Tony McDaniel also left in the first half with a hamstring injury, and he didn't return, either. Carroll said he was unsure of the extent of the injuries.
"They're soft-tissue issues, but we just have to wait and see what happens," Carroll said.
The Seahawks haven't just won their ninth games earlier in the season than any other team in franchise history, their nine wins are more than 21 previous teams won in an entire season and also equal the win total of 10 other teams. That's 31 of the previous 37 Seahawks' teams that wish they could have accomplished in a season what this year's team has done in 10 games.
This also was the Seahawks' fifth road win, making them only the third team in franchise to do that. The others? The 1984 team that went 12-4 and the 2005 Super Bowl team that was 13-3. And the Seahawks still have two road games left to set the franchise record, in back-to-back weeks – Dec. 8 at San Francisco and Dec. 15 at the New York Giants.
Wilson has 20 victories, tying him with the Falcons' Matt Ryan and Ravens' Joe Flacco for third most by a quarterback in his first two seasons. Only the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (23) and Dolphins' Dan Mario (21) have more.
The Seahawks had seven plays that were longer than the Falcons' longest play (20 yards) – a 46-yard pass from Wilson to Tate; a 31-yard pass from Wilson to Tate that became a 46-yard gain when Moore was penalized for roughness after the catch; the 43-yard TD pass from Wilson to Kearse; Lynch's 37-yard run; Wilson's 30-yard pass to Doug Baldwin; and Wilson's 23-yard pass to Kearse.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had nine solo tackles to pace the Seahawks, while Falcons' rookie linebacker Paul Worrilow had 19 tackles. With his nine tackles, Wagner has 60 for the season.