How high is the panic meter for the Seahawks after their 34-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons? Here's what national media members are saying.
While you may be hyperventilating in your office imaging a January with no Seahawks playoff games, allow us to calm your nerves for a second.
Yes, it’s true. If the playoffs began today, the Seahawks wouldn’t be in them. At 6-4, they currently sit as the No. 8 seed in the NFC and looking up at the first-place Rams in the NFC West.
But, despite Monday’s 34-31 loss to Atlanta — Seattle’s second-straight home loss this season — the Seahawks still control their own playoff destiny. The Hawks own the tie-breaker against L.A., with one game to play in Seattle.
That’s not to say things are rosy in the Pacific Northwest. Much like the weather, Seattle’s outlook is cloudy and a little dreary. We saw for the first time Monday night, what the Hawks’ defense looks like without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, and it wasn’t pretty. While the Seahawks were able to move the ball consistently, — in large part due to the sorcery of Russell Wilson — the defense failed to slow down Atlanta’s high-flying offense.
But that was hardly the main problem for the Hawks Monday night. Columnist Matt Calkins says Pete Carroll should shoulder the blame of this loss because of several head-scratching decisions, including a late challenge and a decision to not kick a field goal at the end of the first half. Instead, Seattle faked the kick with seven seconds remaining in the half, and it failed miserably.
So, what do we make of Seattle’s loss and their road going forward? Here’s what the national media are saying.
Danny Heifetz of The Ringer points out the absurdity of the fake field goal attempt:
“This had to be the worst fake since the Colts ran this travesty against New England in October 2015. The play itself isn’t bad on fourth-and-1—but it’s an incomprehensible call with seven seconds left on the clock. Running this play means you think you can reach the end zone. That’s a tall order for any player in the league. That Seattle chose Willson as the man to sprint 20 yards to the end zone was … optimistic. (To be fair, he had decent blocking around the edge.)”
Jon Benne of SB Nation writes the Seahawks’ “dumb” fake field goal cost them a win:
“Even if the Seahawks converted the fourth down, they’d have to use that timeout and kick a field goal anyway. There was zero upside to this fake and it’s a baffling choice by Carroll, taking three points off the board…
Those three points wound up being pretty important when the Seahawks lost by a score of 34-31. You know, a three-point game.”
Brady Henderson of ESPN says the Seahawks needed a cleaner game to beat Atlanta:
“They needed a much cleaner performance, they needed to get off the field on third down and they needed to put a whole lot more pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan than they ever got in their 34-31 loss. They also needed Blair Walsh to come through at the end to push the game into overtime, but his 52-yard field goal attempt with seven seconds left came up short to seal Atlanta’s victory.”
FOX Sports’ Chris Carter says we’ve seen the last of the Legion of Boom:
Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated says the panic meter is medium/high for Seattle:
“Seattle is jockeying for position with a young Los Angeles Rams team that was beaten convincingly by the Vikings this weekend and still has games against the Saints, Eagles and Seahawks remaining on their schedule. If I’m Pete Carroll, I’m not pushing the panic button yet, but the loss to Atlanta on Monday did expose his injured secondary.”
Cindy Boren of The Washington Post takes a look at the NFC playoff picture:
“Atlanta pulled out a 34-31 victory when Blair Walsh’s 52-yard attempt at a game-tying field goal fell inches short of the crossbar. Although both teams are 6-4, the win was significant for the Falcons because they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks and Detroit Lions, the conference’s other two 6-4 teams.”
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes Tyler Lockett’s 197 return yards were the most since last year’s rule change:
“Lockett returned five kickoffs for 197 yards last night, which is the most productive game a kickoff returner has had since the league changed the rule last year.
Lockett started the game with a 57-yard return of the Falcons’ first kickoff, then had a 37-yard return, a 39-yard return, another 39-yard return and finally a 25-yard return of the second-half kickoff. The Falcons had two more kickoffs after that, but both went deep into the end zone and Lockett didn’t return them.”