Posted on November 21, 2017, by Travis Pulver
There was a group of fans as interested if not more in the outcome of Monday Night Football’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks than either participant’s fan base. Sound strange? Maybe, but it’s true. Fans of the Los Angeles Rams were as interested in this one as anyone.
After losing to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Rams were in danger of losing their control on the NFC West. A Seattle win over Atlanta would put the Seahawks in first since they own the tiebreaker with the Rams.
But Atlanta needed the win as well. The playoff picture heading into Monday night’s match-up had them on the outside looking in. However, with a win over the Seahawks, they could slide into the wild card spot and push the Seahawks out.
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For most of the game, the Falcons appeared poised to win the game. But if there is one thing fans of the Seattle Seahawks know, its that Russell Wilson can never be counted out. He had two turnovers that led to 14-Atlanta points in the first half yet still managed to close the gap to 24-17 by halftime.
“Unfortunately, the turnovers really gave them a great opportunity, and they took advantage of it,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said (ESPN). “So, we were playing from behind all night.”
Down 34-23 with 3:49 on the clock, Wilson pulled off a few of his standard magic tricks and needed only 49 seconds to find Doug Baldwin in the end zone with a 29-yard touchdown pass. But the hard part was still to come. The Seattle defense would have to shut the Falcons down, and then Wilson would have to do it again. But with little time on the clock and no timeouts.
Sure enough, the defense did its part. Wilson got the ball on the Seattle 25-yard line with 1:46 to play.
For most guys, with no timeouts, it couldn’t be done. But nine plays later, Wilson had the Seahawks on the Atlanta 34-yard line with seven seconds to go.
In came Blair Walsh for a 52-yard field goal attempt to send the game into overtime. He has hit 24 of 34 attempts from 50+ yards during his career and seven of his last ten. When this sailed off his foot, it looked good, but it ended up falling just short.
After the game, he said he was too concerned about the kick not going straight and didn’t drive it as much as he could have (ESPN)
“That side of the stadium is definitely tricky, and I wanted to make sure it was straight, so it went through, but I need to probably drive it obviously more, and I didn’t…. I was happy with everything else that I did in the game, so it’s tough that the last play is what it comes down to, but that’s part of football.”
There would have been no guarantee that the Seahawks could have pulled it out in OT, of course. But with how the game finished, the Falcons got the win, 34-31.
“What an absolute team win from the guys tonight,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said (Guardian). “Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way.”
It could be that the Seattle Seahawks have been hit with more injuries than even they can overcome. They lost another running back during the game in Mike Davis, who had recently been promoted off the practice squad. Kam Chancellor is likely out for the season and they lost another defensive back, Shaquill Griffin, with a concussion.
At 6-4, they are far from out of the playoff race. The road doesn’t get any easier with games coming up against the Eagles, Jaguars, Rams, and Cowboys (with Ezekiel Elliot). They play the Philadelphia Eagles next week on Sunday Night Football.
The win was exactly what the Falcons needed to stay in the very tight NFC South. They kick off a three-game homestand next week when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town. That game will be followed by the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.
“We definitely have some big games coming up. All the games are important, but these divisions games are big. We just have to keep preparing, keep working and we’ll be good,” Desmond Trufant said after the game (AJC).