It’s rare that you can clearly identify a game’s turning point, but you didn’t have to look hard to do that on Saturday.
It’s rare that you can clearly identify a game’s turning point, but you didn’t have to look hard to do that on Saturday. It was right there, obvious to everyone: In the second quarter, Devin Hester returned a punt to the Atlanta 7-yard line. But Seahawks linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis was called for a holding before the return, and the Seahawks instead had the ball at their own 7.
On their first play of that drive, Thomas Rawls lost three yards. On the second play, rookie guard Rees Odhiambo stepped on quarterback Russell Wilson’s foot as Wilson dropped back. Wilson tripped, fell in the end zone and was tackled for a safety.
So to recap:
- Hester return to the Atlanta 7-yard line.
- Penalty on Pierre-Louis.
- The Seahawks started the drive at their own 7.
- Rawls lost three yards.
The Falcons kicked a field goal after getting the ball back to take a 12-10 lead, and they rolled from there.
The reality is that the Seahawks probably would have had problems stopping Atlanta’s offense anyway; the Falcons did score (36 points). But the momentum and energy in the stadium completely changed after such a costly, costly penalty.
The Falcons scored on their next three drives, and the Seahawks’ offense never replicated the consistency of their first drive of the game.
If nothing else, Pierre-Louis’ penalty and the immediate aftermath of it underscored the small margin of error the Seahawks had to work with.