Seahawks’ most complete game earns 33-10 victory on the road

Posted Nov 10, 2013

The Seahawks didn’t just improve their best-in-the-NFC record to 9-1 on Sunday, they did it with an impressive-in-all-three-phases effort that resulted in a 33-10 victory over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

ATLANTA – Pete Carroll had a feeling that his team was sitting on a performance like this. For the past month.

Instead, Carroll watched his fourth edition of the Seahawks outlast the Rams in St. Louis by tipping a fourth down pass into the end zone in complete to claim a five-point victory two weeks ago and then go into overtime before dispatching the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home last week.

No need for last-second or overtime heroics on Sunday, when the Seahawks slapped a 33-10 loss on the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

“It was really the game we’ve been looking for,” Carroll said. “About a month ago I was waiting to see this happen. Some really good things happened this week with the team, behind closed doors. The guys answered the call really well. I thought we played a complete football game, and played terrifically defensively throughout.”

The dominating performance helped the Seahawks accomplish a lot.

The victory upped their best-in-the-NFC record to 9-1, and kept them atop the NFC West. It also was the fifth road victory of the season, tying the franchise record that was set by the 1984 team that went 12-4 and the 2005 team that finished 13-3 en route to the Super Bowl.

Oh, and it atoned somewhat for the 30-28 loss to the Falcons in a divisional playoff game here in January.

More important than all of that, however, is the fact that the Seahawks played their most complete game of the season – while issuing a warning to the rest of the teams on their schedule, starting with next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field.

In fact, so much went right on this day that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Marshawn Lynch ran, well, like Marshawn Lynch runs in setting the tone for a day of dominance. He finished with a season-high 145 rushing yards and a touchdown, but also caught three passes for 16 yards. All this while operating behind a line that was missing All-Pro center Max Unger, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini – but did not miss a beat because of the efforts of Paul McQuistan and rookie free agent Alvin Bailey at their two positions; the rock-steady efforts of Lemuel Jeanpierre at center; and the improved contributions of rookie Michael Bowie at right tackle.

“I think the statement of this game was the three guys playing upfront,” Carroll said of Jeanpierre, Bowie and Bailey paving the way for 211 rushing yards. “That’s a fantastic accomplishment on the offensive side of the ball.”

Russell Wilson completed 19 of 26 passes for 287 yards and got SportsCenter Top 10 catches from Jermaine Kearse and Golden Tate for touchdowns. And Lynch also had a hand in Kearse’s TD, as he took the ball from Wilson and threw back to Wilson, who then uncorked a 43-yarder to Kearse in the end zone. Tate, meanwhile, finished with six catches for 106 yards – none better than his one-handed, get-both-feet-in grab in the back corner of the end zone for a score that made it 23-3 at halftime.

The defense? It forced three-and-outs on three of the Falcons’ 10 possessions, four-and-outs on two others and limited the Atlanta offense to 64 rushing yards, four third-down conversions in 12 attempts and 226 total yards.

And let’s not forget about the special teams, as Steven Hauschka kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder; and Tate had a 32-yard punt return.

No wonder Carroll smiled slightly when he labeled the start-to-finish effort “our most-complete game of the year.”

The players also could sense this one coming during the week.

“I thought we were phenomenal today. We were tuned in. Really locked in,” Wilson said. “I always say the separation is in the preparation. And just the way we prepared all week, everybody was tuned in to what we needed to do.”

That feeling only intensified for intense All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas on the three-and-out to open the game.

“The first series I was like, ‘Man, ooh, we’ve got some juice,’ ” Thomas said. “You’re just pumped up. You’re out of your mind. You’re in your zone. You could just see it in everyone’s eyes.

“I’ve very grateful to be a part of this team. I think we’ve got something special.”

That definitely was the case on Sunday. As Carroll said, “It was a really, really good day across the board.”