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SEATTLE—Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense nearly had another magic comeback in them, scoring once to cut a late double-digit deficit to just three points, then getting to the edge of field goal range with seconds left. But unfortunately for Seattle, Blair Walsh’s 52-yard field goal attempt to tie the game fell just short, allowing the Atlanta Falcons to escape Seattle with a 34-31 victory.
Here are five rapid reactions to the Seahawks’ loss, which dropped their record to 6-4:
1. Early Miscues Proved Very Costly.
The Seahawks played the Falcons pretty evenly for three-and-a-half quarters of Monday night’s game; the problem was what happened early in the first quarter. Aided by a long return on the opening kickoff, the Falcons opened the scoring with a quick touchdown drive. The Falcons then got the ball back soon after thanks to a Desmond Trufant interception on a Russell Wilson pass intended for Tyler Lockett, and after Trufant’s return gave the Falcons another short field that they turned into a 14-0 lead.
The mistakes continued into the second quarter with Wilson fumbling on a sack, and Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn scooped up the loose football and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown.
2. The Falcons Won On Third Down.
The Seahawks defense made a lot of good plays, particularly against the run, holding the Falcons to 89 rushing yards on 30 carries. Unfortunately for Seattle, getting the Falcons into third-and-medium-to-long situations didn’t lead to stops. Of all the telling stats in Monday’s game, none might have been bigger than Atlanta going 9 for 14 on third down, including going 7 for 9 on its five offensive scoring drives.
3. Tyler Lockett And The Return Game Looked Great.
Coming into this game, Lockett and the kick return game had struggled to get going, with Lockett averaging 21.3 yards per kick with a long of 43 yards, which came in the first game of the season.
On Monday, however, Lockett looked again looked like the All-Pro returner he has been in the past, returning five kicks for 197 yards, giving him an average of 39.4 yards per return. It wasn’t enough to produce a victory in this game, but it’s an encouraging sign for special teams play going forward.
4. Mike Davis Looked Good In His Seahawks Debut, But Fell Victim To Seattle’s Continuing Bad Injury Luck.
Following a promotion off the practice squad, Mike Davis started at running back for the Seahawks, and had some impressive moments, including a 13-yard run on a touchdown drive on which he rushed for 21 yards on three carries. Davis also had 41 receiving yards on a pair of screen passes, but unfortunately he injured his groin on the second of those long receptions and was unable to return to the game.
And Davis was not the only player to leave the game with an injury, as for the second straight game, the Seahawks were hit hard in that area. Shaquill Griffin left the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and did not return to action. That meant Byron Maxwell played almost the entire game at left cornerback less than a week after signing. Right guard Oday Aboushi also left the game early with a shoulder injury and was unable to return. He was replaced by Mark Glowinski.
5. Jimmy Graham’s Red Zone Success Continued.
Seattle’s first touchdown of the game came from a likely source, with Jimmy Graham hauling in his seventh touchdown in the past six games. All seven of Graham’s touchdowns have come in the red zone, making him the NFL leader in that category.
The touchdown was also the 16th of Graham’s Seahawks career, putting him in a tie with Jerramy Stevens for the most touchdowns by a tight end in franchise history. Graham finished the game with a team-leading seven catches for 58 yards.