The major story line heading into Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Falcons was how Seattle’s top-ranked defense would fare against Atlanta’s top-ranked offense.
Advantage, Seattle thus far.
The Seahawks carried a 17-3 halftime lead thanks to an efficient offense and a smothering offense. The Falcons averaged 457 yards per game and mustered 86 yards in the first half. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was 11 for 17, but only had 83 yards and was sacked twice by Seattle linebacker Cliff Avril. The Falcons had 15 rushing yards on 10 attempts and lost a fumble, which led to the Seahawks’ first touchdown of the game late in the first quarter on a 9-yard run by Christine Michael. Meantime, Julio Jones was held to two catches for 24 yards. That had also been a talking point this week, especially if he was lining up against Richard Sherman.
Part of Atlanta’s success on offense this season banked on their ability to make big gains on first down. According to sportingcharts.com and the FOX broadcast, the Falcons were averaging a league-best 6.76 yards per rushing attempt on first down entering this game. In the first half, Atlanta averaged 2.33 yards per rushing attempt on first down.
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