ATLANTA — Three impressions from the Seahawks’ 27-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Seahawks are 6-2 overall and 4-0 on the road, matching their best road start in franchise history.
It’s never easy, is it?
Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have prided themselves on being a team that plays its best late in games, on getting better late in the season, on having a “constant improvement” mindset.
That certainly was not the case Sunday.
The Seahawks, in summary, were awesome early and awful late.
Seattle did just about anything and everything it wanted in the first half, building a 24-0 lead at half-time.
They did almost nothing for much of the second half, giving one of the NFL’s worst teams hope of a miracle rally late.
The Seahawks held on in the end, but the final score doesn’t do justice just how disconcerting that second half was. The Seahawks had a chance to put a 1-6 team away and couldn’t do it.
That has to raise some (more) legitimate questions about just how viable this team is as a playoff contender.
Yes, they’re 6-2, and that’s reason to celebrate.
But they allowed Atlanta’s 38-year-old backup QB, Matt Schaub, to throw for more than 460 yards — 460! — on 39-of-52 passing.
Schaub’s 1-yard touchdown pass to high end Austin Hooper got the Falcons within 27-17. Bobby Wagner then broke up Schaub’s attempted 2-point conversion pass.
Jacob Hollister recovered the ensuing onside kick for Seattle, but the fact that it came down to that had to be a disheartening for the Seahawks.
Midway through the season, the question has to be asked: Just how good is this Seahawks team, really?
Rookie’s play of the day
Marquise Blair made his second straight start at strong safety and came through with the play of the game in the fourth quarter, knocking the ball away from Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman near the goal line.
Wagner recovered the fumble at the Seattle 1-yard line.
An Atlanta touchdown there would have cut the Seahawks’ lead to 24-18 with almost 13 minutes left.
Blair, a rookie out of Utah, drew praise from Pete Carroll after his first start last week against Baltimore. And Blair’s play Sunday should only further increase his role going forward, even when Bradley McDougald (back) and new acquisition Quandre Diggs (hamstring) are fully healthy.
Wagner’s breakup on the 2-point play was another highlight in his record-setting day.
In the first quarter, Wagner broke Eugene Robinson’s 24-year-old record to become the Seahawks’ all-time leading tackler, now with 989.
Wagner also had one of the Seahawks’ two sacks of Schaub on Sunday.
Chris Carson, man.
The Seahawks star running back was as good as ever in the first half, running for 86 yards on 14 carries, with a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter to give the Seahawks a 17-0 lead.
Carson had one run in which he spun out of a would-be tackle, continued up the left sideline and then lowered his shoulder to punish an Atlanta defensive back. Dude looked unstoppable in the first half.
The second half, again, was a different story. The Seahawks offense never got going, and Carson had just six carries for four yards (yikes) in the final 30 minutes.
Guess who else looked good early?
Rashaad Penny had five carries for 42 yards in the first half, after being limited the last month because of a hamstring injury.
The day began with speculation that the Seahawks were perhaps listening to trade offers for Penny. But do you really want to give up on this backfield combo right now?