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Rapid Reaction: Big Plays Doom Seahawks Defense In Loss To Falcons

Takeaways from the Seahawks’ 27-23 loss to Atlanta.

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The Seahawks got their offense back on track on Sunday after a tough outing the week before, but on a day the Falcons offense was making big plays all afternoon long, it wasn't enough for Seattle, which fell 27-23.

Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle's Week 3 loss to the Falcons:

1. The defense gave up way too many big plays.

Explosive plays are a big deal to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, so he was undoubtedly unhappy by the number of big plays allowed by the defense throughout the game. On Atlanta's first three possessions alone, Marcus Mariota completed six passes of 21 or more yards, helping the Falcons build a 17-10 lead. Among those doing the most damage was second-year tight end Kyle Pitts, who had two of those early big plays and who finished with five catches for a team-leading 87 yards.

While most of the damage came through the air early, the Falcons also had some chunk plays on the ground as the game went along, none more costly than Cordarrelle Patterson's runs of 40 and 18 yards on consecutive plays late in the third quarter to set up a Drake London touchdown reception that put Atlanta on top 27-23 right after the Seahawks took the lead with a field goal on the previous drive. With those big plays and a strong second half, Patterson finished with 141 yards on 17 carries.

In all, the Falcons gained 386 yards, averaging a robust 7.1 yards per play.

2. Geno Smith started off fast again, and the offense got back on track, but couldn't get the final score it needed.

Throughout the week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked about how much he and the rest of the team trusted quarterback Geno Smith, noting there was no need to hold him back in any facet of the offense. And on Sunday, Smith rewarded that trust with a great performance.

After Seattle's offense went six quarters without a score dating back to halftime of the opener, the Smith and the offense marched down the field efficiently to score a field goal on the opening drive, added a touchdown on their following possession, and finished the first half with a 20-17 lead.

Smith finished the half 18 for 25 for 218 yards and two scores, and for the game he was 32 for 44 for 325 yards, but ultimately the Seahawks couldn't finish a potential go-ahead drive, with Smith throwing an interception on fourth and long.

3. All three tight ends were very involved in the offense.

While Tyler Lockett (nine catches for 76 yards) and DK Metcalf (five for 64 and a touchdown) led the way in the passing game as they so often do, the Seahawks were able to spread the ball around and get a lot of different pass catchers involved, most notably finding tight ends Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson for multiple receptions each and several big plays.

Dissly, who scored Seattle's first touchdown on an 18-yard reception, had three catches for 34 yards, while Colby Parkinson added two catches for 44 yard and Noah Fant chipped in four for 27.

4. Penalties were a problem once again.

While the Seahawks cut back on their total number of penalties, committing six for 47 yards, several of them were very costly, none more so than a holding penalty on Damien Lewis late the game. On the play in question, Smith hit Rashaad Penny for an apparent 14 yard gain that would have given Seattle first and goal from the 10-yard line, setting up a potential game-winning score. Instead it was 2nd and 14, and after a sack backed Seattle up even farther, Smith ended up throwing the interception that allowed Atlanta to secure a win.

The Seahawks also had a pair of defensive penalties that gave Atlanta first down, contributing to an already big day for the Falcons offense.

5. The offensive line played well overall.

While Smith was sacked twice late in the game—big plays to be sure—the offensive line played a strong game overall, allowing two sacks and five quarterback hits on 44 pass attempts.

With the line playing well, the Seahawks gained a season-high 420 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per play, including 112 rushing yards on 23 carries.

The Seahawks take to Lumen Field for their second home game of the 2022 season against the Atlanta Falcons on September 25, 2022.

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