NFC West: 2013 Week 10 SEA at ATL

The dominant Seahawks finally show up

November, 10, 2013
LynchKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMarshawn Lynch rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown during Seattle's dominating win at Atlanta.

ATLANTA -- Remember that potential Super Bowl team, the one so many expected from the Seattle Seahawks but hadn't really seen?

Now you've seen it.

Those Seahawks finally showed up Sunday in the Georgia Dome, running all over the Atlanta Falcons 33-10.

“Wow, what a game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “This was a terrific statement across the board. It was rock solid. It's really the best game we've played.”

The Seahawks have been saying all season they haven't played a complete game. Just wait, they've been saying. It'll happen, they've been saying.

They were right. This was scary good, and the timing of such a dominant game says a lot.

On a day when news broke that receiver Percy Harvin likely would return next weekend against the Vikings, Seattle receivers showed they're pretty good without him.

Golden Tate had six catches for 106 yards and a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone, keeping both feet in bounds.

Doug Baldwin had five receptions, and Jermaine Kearse, starting for the injured Sidney Rice, had three catches, including a 43-yard TD.

“It's going to be exciting to get Percy out there,'' Tate said. “He will add another dimension to our game. But this game shows what we're capable of. Now it's about consistency and stepping up every week. If we do that, we can be a very dangerous team.”

The potential always has been there for the Seahawks, who are 9-1 overall and 5-1 on the road. But having it and showing it are two different things. Seattle showed it this time.

Let's count the ways:

  • Seattle had 490 yards of offense, including 211 yards rushing. Marshawn Lynch had 145 yards on 24 carries. He even had an assist on the 43-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Kearse, a gadget play when Lynch pitched it back to Wilson.
  • At one stretch late in the first half, Seattle had gains of 37, 43 and 46 yards on three consecutive offensive plays.
  • After two consecutive games allowing at least 200 yards rushing, the defense held the Falcons to only 64 yards on the ground.
  • Atlanta's only touchdown came late in the third quarter after Seattle built a 26-3 lead.
  • Kicker Steven Hauschka was 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 53-yarder. His shortest field goal was 39 yards.
  • Wilson completed 19 of 26 throws for 287 yards and two TDs for a 134.6 quarterback rating. He was sacked only once, but actually had more time to throw than a week ago, when he wasn't sacked.
  • The patchwork offensive line, minus three starters Sunday, had its best game of the season. Undrafted rookie Alvin Bailey proved he can play in the league, knocking people off the line of scrimmage and keeping rushers off Wilson while playing left tackle and right guard. He rotated in and out all game.

One week from now, the Seahawks may not need him. Starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini are expected back for the home game against Minnesota.

“I thought we were phenomenal today,” Wilson said. “We did a great job in all phases of the game. We were really locked in. All week at practice, everybody was really tuned in.”

And here's my full disclosure: For the first time this season, I picked the Seahawks to lose. Judging by how poorly they had played in escaping with victories the past few weeks, I thought it would catch up with them Sunday.

And I wasn't alone. The betting line started the week with Seattle a 6-point favorite. By kickoff on Sunday, it was down to 3.

The bettors were dead wrong, and so was I. Considering how well the Seahawks played, maybe I should pick them to lose every week.

They have made it through the toughest part of their schedule with only one loss. Now they close out the regular season with four of their six games at home.

After hosting the Vikings, Seattle has its bye week and a 15-day break before one of the most important games of the season -- Monday night at home against the New Orleans Saints. Then the Seahawks play at San Francisco, finishing off back-to-back games that likely will decide home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

“This one feels good," cornerback Richard Sherman said. “But we still haven't played our best ball. I think we'll get Percy out there next week, and we'll get both our tackles back. We'll see how far they can take us. We still have room to grow."

With Harvin's coming-out party about to arrive next week against his former team, and the offensive line about to get healthy, the Seahawks could be headed toward something special.

"The sky's the limit for us,'' linebacker K.J. Wright said. “And as good as this one was, we still haven't reached the clouds.”

Locker Room Buzz: Seattle Seahawks

November, 10, 2013
ATLANTA -- Observed in the locker room after the Seattle Seahawks33-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons:

Tate sees the potential: “This game shows what we’re capable of,’’ said receiver Golden Tate, who had six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. “Now it’s about consistency and stepping up every week. If we do that, we can be a very dangerous team.”

Carroll sees what he’s looking for: “This was a terrific statement across the board," coach Pete Carroll said. "It was rock solid. It’s really the best game we’ve played.”

Sherman sees even better days ahead: “It feels good, but we still haven’t played our best ball,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “I think we’ll get [receiver] Percy Harvin out there next week, and we’ll get both our [offensive] tackles back. We’ll see how far those guys can take us. We still have room to grow.”

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

November, 10, 2013

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 33-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: After several weeks of winning without playing particularly well, the Seahawks finally had the complete game they’ve wanted. Sunday was their best overall effort of the season. The 9-1 Seahawks actually looked like the Super Bowl contender so many people expect them to be.

Stock watch: On the day when news broke that receiver Percy Harvin likely will return next weekend, the Seattle receivers had a spectacular first half and showed they are pretty good without him. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had TD grabs in the first half and Doug Baldwin had four catches in the first two quarters as the Seahawks built a 23-3 lead.

Bailey helps the O-line: Rookie Alvin Bailey was seemingly everywhere on the Seattle offensive line Sunday, and he was darn good wherever he lined up. The Seahawks used a rotation of bringing Bailey in on third downs to play left tackle while moving Paul McQuistan inside to left guard and taking James Carpenter out of the game. Bailey also played a couple of series at right guard for J.R. Sweezy.

Beastly Lynch: The Seahawks did what they do best -- give the ball to Marshawn Lynch and let him run over people. Lynch rushed for more than 100 yards for the second consecutive game. He even had an assist on a 43-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Kearse, a gadget play when Lynch threw it back to Wilson. And rookie Christine Michael ran well late in the game.

Browner and McDaniel hurt: Cornerback Brandon Browner suffered a groin injury in the first half and did not return. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel injured a hamstring late in the first half and also didn’t return.

What's next: The Seahawks return home to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. It could be the return of both starting offensive tackles -- Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini -- and the likely debut of Harvin. Seattle will be attempting to win its 13th consecutive home game. The Seahawks will play four of their last six regular-season games at home.

Seattle WRs look good without Harvin

November, 10, 2013
ATLANTA -- Wouldn’t you know it. Just when it looks like receiver Percy Harvin is ready to make his debut, the Seattle Seahawks' receiving corps looks like it doesn’t need him.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter learned Sunday that Harvin likely will play for the first time this season next weekend against his former teammates, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin is one of the most dynamic receivers in football, but the Seahawks' receivers had a spectacular first half at Atlanta on Sunday. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had touchdown catches in the opening half as Seattle built a 23-3 lead. And Doug Baldwin caught four passes in the first half for 49 yards.

Tate’s catch near the end of the half was one of the best of the season, a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone when he managed to get both feet down inbounds. Tate also had a 32-yard reception in the first quarter, and 46-yard catch-and-run on a receiver screen in the second quarter.

Kearse, who is starting in place of Sidney Rice (out for the season with a torn ACL) also had a one-handed catch in the second quarter on a back-shoulder throw by Russell Wilson.

Atlanta rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant had Kearse covered well, but Kearse reached back and held the ball against his chest as he fell backwards on the turf for a 23-yard gain to the Atlanta 29 on a third-and-3.

Kearse also outmuscled Atlanta defensive back Thomas DeCoud in the end zone for a 43-yard TD catch on a rare gadget play by the Seahawks. The play started as a handoff to Marshawn Lynch, who threw it backwards to Wilson before Wilson launched the long throw to Kearse.

So finally getting Harvin on the field will be great for Seattle, but the Seahawks’ receivers showed everyone Sunday that they are pretty good without him.