Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley said Tuesday the Falcons feel like they owe the Seahawks after a close loss in Seattle in October.
If the wild momentum swings of the first Atlanta-Seattle game this season left Seahawks fans a little queasy, it had the Falcons’ players feeling a little similarly once it was over
“Yeah, sick to our stomach,’’ said Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley — who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks this season — of how he felt walking off the field following Seattle’s 26-24 win over the Falcons at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 16.
Atlanta will get a chance at revenge Saturday in a game with much higher-stakes — a berth in the NFC championship game the following Sunday.
Beasley, who spoke to Seattle media Tuesday morning on a conference call, said the Falcons thought they should have won the October game, referencing a couple of controversial calls that went against Atlanta (notably, the final offensive play when some thought pass interference could have been called against Richard Sherman defending Julio Jones).
“I know coach (Dan) Quinn definitely wants to win going against his former team (Quinn was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks in 2013-14),’’ Beasley said. “But we feel like we owe them a little bit, too. We felt like we had a chance to win that game. A couple of calls didn’t go our way. But we can’t control that. We can only control what we can control.’’
Quinn also spoke via conference call and said he felt he got any feelings of sentimentality of Seattle out of the way in the first game.
“It was a unique game for me,’’ Quinn said of standing on the sideline opposite Pete Carroll, for whom he was an assistant for three years total with the Seahawks.
But now, he said, “it’s just back to ball and playing against guys you know.’’
The loss to Seattle was one of five this season for the Falcons, and one of three by three points or less. The Falcons lost the following week to the Chargers 33-30. But after that Atlanta won seven of its last nine, five of the wins coming by double digits. And Quinn said the tight defeat at Seattle helped teach the Falcons some things about how to win.
“For sure it was a battle,’’ he said. “We thought going in it was totally going to be that way, as well. In first half (when Seattle took a 17-3 lead) I thought, ‘man we really had a tough time of it’ and we had some turnovers and it was like classically turnovers, pass rush came alive. So we had to battle to get back in it.
“And for us it came down to the finish when we weren’t able to get the job done. But I would say you do gain some things from going through some difficult losses and just like they have and we have, when you go tough, tough, straining times there are lessons to be learned there. When w came back from that game we were disappointed in not winning the game but there was definitely things to gain. As far as the scheme goes and matchups, I think both teams now are a better version of themselves than when we played back then. So we are expecting, like they are, another tough, hard-nosed game against two really good teams.’’