Written by: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
After an explosive 1st half, the Seahawks cooled down and won in Atlanta, 27-20.
It was a tale of two halves for the Seahawks this week and practically proved that you can indeed win the game in the 1st half (even with Coach Pete’s adamant denial). The Seahawks were able to score 24 in the 1st half while blanking the Atlanta offense, there truly wasn’t any glaring issue with the half.
In the 2nd half though, the defense wasn’t able to get off the field and allowed several big plays. They started to look tired and that allowed players like Julio get loose. Five Falcons were able to collect over 50 yards receiving as well as five with 5+ catches.
The offense didn't help the defense rest as they had collected a 1st down on only one of their drives in the second half. But the Falcons simply didn't have enough time to climb out of a hole too big. It is worrisome that the offense was only able to make a FG in the 2nd half but the blame lies upon the play calling and not the level of skill.
Seahawks fans had to wait another week to see their shiny new toy, Quandre Diggs, play. But Marquise Blair made an impact similar to what was expected out of Diggs. With 11 tackles, several big (and clean) hits and a forced fumble, Marquise is filling into his role in the defense perfectly; He limited his mental mistakes and will find his way onto the field when Diggs and McDougald are 100%. Against a talented receiving corp, Blair was able to outshine others around him and looks to have got everything clicking for him right now.
Similar to Marquise Blair, Shaq is playing some excellent football right now. Since Sherman’s departure, the Seahawks have hoped Shaq would fill his place as CB1 and he is finally living up to it. His All-Pro level of play this year continued with a great 1st half vs the Falcons who has both Ridley and Jones. He matched up well with Julio and kept him under wraps for a decent portion of the game. He is playing smart football as well, he broke up a couple passes with 2 pass deflections and was able to draw a PI from Julio Jones to nullify a great catch.
Clowney is one of the only consistent bright spots on the defensive line at the moment. Sunday, Clowney lived in the backfield and constantly made plays on Schaub and Freeman. Though he only recorded a sack and TFL, he did have a forced fumble. But his effect right now is so much more apparent on the tape than on the stat sheet. And until some other linemen step up, it will likely continue to be so. All I can say for sure is that Clowney will get a huge paycheck in the offseason.
Not an overly great game from the Seahawks OL but there was so much turnover over the week to the point where it was a who’s who on the injury report. Though Duane Brown, Germain Ifedi, and DJ Fluker played, there was still some uncertainty as Fant rotate in often at tackle. And to make matters worse, Justin Britt is likely done for the year with an ACL injury as it gave out without contact. Everyone along the OL now has had some issue since the start of the season that has caused them to miss a decent amount of practice. But they still were able to hold Atlanta to two sacks and were able to block for 151 yards on the ground and looked dominant doing so.
Mr. Lockett had a great weekend, his alma mater (Kansas St.) beat Oklahoma, his OKC thunder beat up the Warriors, oh and he turned in a 100-yard game. Tyler has an insane spatial awareness and knows exactly how to find the soft spots in the defense. I feel like a broken record at this point as I try to reiterate how crazy the connection between Russ and Lockett is, luckily it’s a good thing to be crazy about.
Going into week 8, the Seahawks had 11 sacks but looked to get going against a poorly performing Falcon offensive line. One would expect a decent amount of sacks against them… well if that’s what you thought then you were disappointed as Clowney was the only defensive linemen to collect a sack (Wagner with the other sack). And to make it worse (if possible), the Clowney sack was at the end of the 1st half in which the Falcons were simply attempting to push the ball down the field. If the Seahawks want to make to go far into the playoffs, they need more production from a pass rush standpoint. You have Clowney (31 career sacks), Ansah (49 career sacks), Reed (10.5 sacks as a DT last year), Green (2018 3rd), and Collier (2019 1st). Yet, outside of Clowney, all have been nonexistent when on the field. Collier and Green have looked like busts and haven’t been able to make plays when given a shot and Ansah hasn’t been healthy enough to contribute fully.
Many expected the stinginess of the defense to elevate when Diggs joined the team but it looks like Marquise Blair was able to provide the spark. The Seahawks were able to force three turnovers, with one being a great read by Kendricks for the interception. Though the DBs gave up a lot of yards, they still performed adequately without Tre Flowers, McDougald and Diggs who will all improve the continuity on the backend.
Going forward, the Seahawks will continue to be as good as the coaching is. Russ having six attempts in the second half isn’t only extremely conservative but completely crazy. The Seahawks had the Falcons on the ropes going into the second half and completely let off the gas at the end of the game instead of playing our style of football and play a full game of football. They could’ve left Atlanta with an exclamation point but left with a question mark instead. This game left a poor taste in the mouths of Seahawks fans with only a 7-point win over a 1 win Falcons team.
Up next, The Bucs come to town. And though led by Bruce Arians, Tampa has had their fair share of issues on their defense but the offense is just as explosive as the Atlanta offense can be when everyone is healthy. This will be a great test for the Seahawks secondary as well as a great shot for the offense to assert themselves in a dominating fashion.