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Week 8 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 27, Atlanta Falcons 20


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson went back to his ultra-efficient ways, which was good news for both the running and passing game. Chris Carson got most of the carries, but a healthy Rashaad Penny did some damage on his few touches, and got some red zone snaps as well. DK Metcalf’s two TDs were the sort of plays that the injured Will Dissly would have been slotted for. And Tyler Lockett just keeps on rolling, making hard plays look easy, as he and Wilson have one of the best QB-Receiver rapport’s in football.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Bryant continued his slump, hooking a 50-yarder at the top of the second quarter and another one that he pushed to the right late in the half. He was released after this performance. Devonta Freeman ran well but didn’t have a lot of good blocking at the second and third level of the defense and a pair of Alex Mack holding calls nullified two of his longest gains. He also fumbled away a pass reception inside the five late in the game trying to make an extension with the ball. Matt Schaub threw an interception in the second quarter and should have thrown another at the end of the half. He was also late on pocket throws on timing routes, curtailing three drives and nearly getting Calvin Ridley seriously injured on targets just behind his receivers. Still, he was successful on play-action rollouts, especially throw-back plays and gained over 400 yards passing, most of it in garbage-time. Atlanta’s defense made multiple communication errors—including a pair in the red zone for touchdowns to Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf in the second quarter with Atlanta down 0-24.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 20 - 182 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0
Wilson got himself back on track after a blip last week against Baltimore. With not much pass rush to worry about for most of the game, he was able to key on his wide receivers a bit more than usual, spreading the bulk of the targets between Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and David Moore. Lockett, as always, was his money connection when they needed to move the chains; while Metcalf started to fulfill his promise as an end zone target, with two TDs to show for it. Moore got the most snaps as the third WR, but came up almost blank despite some well thrown balls in his direction. Wilson has found himself a replacement for the injured Will Dissly’s end zone presence, and his name is DK Metcalf. He and Wilson hooked up on two short passing scores, and almost had a third (albeit on the same drive as one of his scores), a perfect 22-yard pass to the end zone, but Metcalf couldn’t hold on.

RB Chris Carson, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 90 - 1 (1 targets)
Let’s just get this out of the way: Carson easily could have had a day with multiple TDs, if the red zone play calling had favored him. Throughout the first half, on all but the obvious short yardage plays, he had huge holes to run through. Even with the Seahawks starting Center going down early in the game, Carson still found plenty of room up the middle, including on his red zone carries. Ah, but the story of the red zone. Carson brought the ball to the 4-yard line, only to lose the TD opportunity to a passing play call. Next time up, Rashaad Penny carried a couple of times to get the ball to the one-yard line, and Carson scored on a counter play, cutting back and beating two defenders with his speed, to the right corner. A third time, Carson ran the ball from the 7-yard line to the 2-yard line, only to once again see a passing play (and score) called. As usual, not many of his plays stand out as highlights, but overall it was a good day for Carson. He showed great initial burst, read his blocks well, and shed tacklers when he had any open space (which was rare). Carson’s only blemish was a drop of a short pass to the flat area, early in the game.

RB Rashaad Penny, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 55 - 0
Penny returned as the change of pace back, and had a lot of success in his limited action. His first carries were not until the second quarter, as he made cutbacks on consecutive plays, which gave him room to run and gains of 9 and 17. Immediately after those two carries, Carson subbed back in. Later in the quarter, Penny surprisingly had two red zone carries, first going for twelve yards running left, then again from the 5-yard line but he was stopped just short. And then… Carson came back in and scored from in close. Overall, his skill set of speed/quickness, give the Seahawks a very different look from Carson’s game, so as long as he’s healthy, he could carve out a slightly larger share of the carries.

WR Tyler Lockett, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 100 - 0 (6 targets)
Lockett caught all of his targets, many of them in tight coverage, showing once again an excellent rapport with Russell Wilson. Lockett started off catching the ball well behind scrimmage on a reverse-screen play, turning it into a 15-yard gain. Then, a 14-yard pickup over the middle, finding a nice opening in the zone defense. Lockett continued his penchant for snagging improbable receptions, as he was just barely ahead of his man on a crossing route, yet somehow caught it in stride – making the incredibly skilled play look so easy. In the red zone, he made another magical/easy-looking catch in tight coverage, bringing the Seahawks to the 7. In the second half, he added to his total, finding a nice opening on the left side of the field for 19 yards. He just missed on what would have been his biggest play of the day, as Lockett was wide open and had the pass is on his fingertips, but couldn’t bring it in. As the run game broke down slightly in the final quarter, Lockett became the preferred target as the Seahawks worked on protecting their lead. On the final scoring drive, he and Wilson accounted for most of the yardage.

WR DK Metcalf, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 13 - 2 (5 targets)
Metcalf had no targets until his TD catch in Q2. On his first score, he lined up tight, and quickly got wide open in the middle of the end zone, making the easy catch to cap things off. His one non-scoring catch was a short sideline reception on a first down. It looked like he and Wilson had finally hooked up for a longer TD, but after doing a great job of getting open and then dragging his toe to stay in bounds, Metcalf dropped the ball as he went down.

WR David Moore, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (4 targets)
Moore was given the lion’s share of the third WR snaps… and did virtually nothing with them. He was targeted twice in a row early on, and couldn’t haul in the ball in coverage, effectively killing the Seahawks drive. On the first play, Moore lined up wide and was targeted in the end zone. In both cases, he just didn’t get enough separation to be able to make the catch. His third target was on a third down play. Another miss, another stalled drive. Moore carried the ball on a first down reverse handoff, for only a 2-yard gain. And – finally! -- he caught one in the fourth quarter, and easily knocked down a defender to add yards after the catch.

WR Malik Turner, 7 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets)
Turner was the opening starter in 3-wide sets, catching a 21-yard catch over the middle on the first play. After that, he gave way to (mainly) David Moore, and didn’t see the field enough to make any further impact.

WR Jaron Brown, 17 offensive snaps
Just as Brown was getting himself noticed as the 3rd WR over the past two games, his snaps were reduced dramatically and he was irrelevant in this one.


Atlanta Falcons

QB Matt Schaub, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 39 - 52 - 460 - 1 TD / 1 INT
He converted his first third down with a short flat route to Austin Hooper to extend the initial drive. He followed up with a short pass to Devonta Freeman to the opposite flat near midfield. Calvin Ridley dropped a short slant on third and six of the first drive after cornerback Shaq Griffin knocked the ball away. The target was at the receiver’s back shoulder. Although it should have been caught and secured, the placement made the corner’s job easier to defend the target. Schaub began the second series with a play-action out for 25 yards to Julio Jones. Schaub worked a variety of play-action passes in this game and got Atlanta past midfield with a pair of throws. He took pressure up the middle but found Austin Hooper for a couple of yards to prevent the sack. James Carpenter’s replacement Wes Schweitzer committed a false start to force a third and long. Schaub overshot Jones on a skinny post during the third series. Schaub found Jones a couple of times later in the drive, but one of them was a pass interference on Jones up the right sideline while Schaub fired the ball under pressure up the middle. Mychal Kendricks anticipated Schaub’s passing lane on a skinny post to Jones later in the drive and made a leaping interception. He found Jones on a play action out route against zone late in the half. Once again Schaub was just behind Justin Hardy on a slant that Griffin broke up at the catch point. Seattle’s safety Akeem King dropped what should have been an easy interception on second down from the Seattle 35 late in the half. No receiver was in the area. He lost a fumble at the end of the half against a three-man rush on a Hail Mary situation. Schaub found Hooper on a play-action throwback screen for a big gain to begin the second half with a 35-yard gain. He found Julio Jones on a fin route to reach midfield during the second drive of the third quarter and then a pair of targets to Jones late in the third quarter on the following drive to get Atlanta to midfield once again. He found Jones for 22 yards on a slant that was actually accurate early in the fourth quarter but then threw a hospital ball to Ridley on a corner route thrown behind the receiver inside the 10. Ridley hit his head on the turf after catching the ball, taking the hit and holding on. Schaub led Atlanta’s two-minute offense to a drive that cut the lead to 10 points with a play-action touchdown under pressure with a low throw only where Austin Hooper could make the catch. After a three-and-out by Seattle, Jones caught a deep out on a well-anticipated throw by Schaub but came up limping after the wrap at the boundary. He then found Ridley across the middle to get Atlanta to the Seattle 45 on a 30-yardpickup. Schaub drove Atlanta with less than three minutes left to cut the lead to seven points with 1:17 left and another shot at an onside kick.

RB Devonta Freeman, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0, Rec: 8 - 63 - 0 (8 targets)
He began with a six-yard gain with a bounce to left end and a spin off an oncoming defender to reach the flat. Mychal Kendricks stuffed Freeman on the next play, setting up a third and five. A few plays later, he was dropped at the line of scrimmage by Marquise Blair while trying to bounce to the right side. Freeman caught a short pass to set up a third and six. Freeman earned positive yards off left tackle for a first down once past midfield. Freeman took a third and long screen pass up the right flat within a couple of yards of the marker to the Seattle 33, setting up a field goal attempt than Matt Bryant hooked off the left upright. Freeman earned a nice dip inside a fullback who couldn’t block the oncoming linebacker as the lead blocker on a power play and earned a hard three yards to begin the third series. Freeman earned a nine yards on a short dump-off in the left flat late in the half and then a toss play for about 10 yards to reach the Seahawks’ 35 and earned the first down. Freeman gashed Seattle up the middle for 14 yards but a holding penalty on center Alex Mack on Bobby Wagner nullified the play. Two plays later, he earned 5-6 yards up the left sideline on a short throw to the backside flat. He earned four yards on a toss play to the right later in the drive. Freeman earned seven yards on a throwback screen to begin the second drive of the third quarter, spinning off a defender halfway through the run. Mack earned another holding penalty in as many drives, on a stretch play to Freeman for a short gain after the screen pass. Freeman later broke a tackle up the left sideline on a short pass to reach the Seattle 36 and then hit a crease on the next play for eight yards. Marquise Blair foiled a great setup of a screen to the right flat that limited the gain to four yards to begin the fourth quarter. Freeman caught a short route inside the five and his second-effort resulted in a called fumble on the field and confirmed with replay.

RB Brian Hill, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 29 - 1
He earned a score on a toss play with a 23-yard run in the third quarter with a nice block by Austin Hooper to seal the outside. Hill got stuffed for a couple of gains but missed the A-gap blitz by Bobby Wagner during a drive late in the third quarter while trying to work through the play-fake as the blitzer arrived.

RB Kenjon Barner, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0
He earned a yard up the middle on a run during the second offensive series.

WR Julio Jones, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 152 - 0 (12 targets)
He began the second series by breaking off an out route on a play-action pass for the catch one-on-one with a defender and gained 25 yards, mostly with the reception. Schaub overshot Jones on a skinny post during the third series. Schaub found Jones for a short gain on an out but the Seahawks tackled Jones a yard shy of the marker. Jones pushed off Shaq Griffin before making a leaping catch of a fade route up the right sideline. Jones worked through two zone defenders for his third catch on a play action out late in the first half. Jones got open on a fin route and earned a first down at midfield during the second drive of the third quarter. He earned a first down at the end of the third quarter on a curl route off play-action to get Atlanta to the Atlanta 31. He followed up with a catch at the 48 yard-line on a high target a little behind him on a crossing route. Jones earned close to 20 yards on a quick slant during the same drive to get Atlanta into field goal range. Schaub found Jones over the middle at the one between a pair of linebackers with 3:30 left in the game, earning the first down on this third-down attempt. Jones caught a deep out during Atlanta’s final drive for a first down, but he exited the sideline with a limp after rolled up during the tackle.

WR Russell Gage, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 58 - 0 (9 targets)
He gained close to 10 yards in the left flat and up the sideline early in the second series to get Atlanta to midfield. Gage earned a stick route for five yards on second and long to begin the second half. Gage ran the slant late in the third quarter and was wide open but Schaub was once again behind his receiver, leading to a 47-yard field goal. He earned 11 on a stick route with a good push after contact up the middle. Schaub then found Gage for a diving catch across midfield on the next play for another first down with 5:00 left and down 16 points. Gage earned garbage time yardage again with a gain of five in the left flat to reach the red zone. Two plays later, he worked inside the 10 with a short target to the left boundary. He earned a pair of catches over the middle inside the two-minute warning.

WR Calvin Ridley, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 70 - 0 (7 targets)
He dropped a short slant after cornerback Shaq Griffin knocked the ball away. The target was at the receiver’s back shoulder. Although it should have been caught and secured, the placement made the corner’s job easier to defend the target. He made a diving leaping catch near the end line for a two-point conversion on the Brian Hill touchdown run in the third quarter. Schaub threw a hospital ball to Ridley on a corner route thrown behind the receiver inside the 10. Ridley hit his head on the turf after catching the ball, taking the hit and holding on early in the fourth quarter. He passed an evaluation in the medical tent but rookie Olamide Zaccheaus replacement him during a fourth-quarter drive. Ridley was well covered on a fade in the end zone late in the game by Jamar Taylor. Ridley gained over 40 yards on two catches during garbage-time late in the game on passes over the middle. The first was a crossing route where he fumbled the ball after he was hit, but Austin Hooper recovered it.

WR Justin Hardy, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (4 targets)
Schaub found Hardy for eight yards on a play-action boot to the right. He got open on a slant late in the half but threw the ball behind the receiver and Shaq Griffin knocked it loose. Hardy and Hooper got crossed up on the direction of a route break that put them in the same area of a third quarter pass that fell incomplete. He earned a first down on a screen pass up the left sideline late in the game.

TE Austin Hooper, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (7 targets)
He converted a third and five with a short flat route from the slot against the rookie Marquise Blair. He earned two yards on a short stick route to the flat with his quarterback under pressure. Hooper began the second half with a huge gain up the left flat on a backside screen where he dipped inside a double team in the flat and hurdled a safety’s attempt at midfield to reach Seattle’s 35 for a 35-yard gain. He made the first man miss working inside on a pass to the flat for a first down during a two-minute drill late in the game. Schaub overthrew Hooper on an out route in the end zone, which was more likely a throwaway more than a high pass. A few plays later. Hooper caught a low throw inside the end zone on a short stick route against K.J. Wright to close the game to 10 late in the fourth quarter. Schaub targeted Hooper once again on a two-point conversion attempt but the window between two defenders was too tight.

TE Luke Stocker, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (1 targets)
He earned 17 yards up the right flat on a short dump-off with less than 30 seconds in the half.

TE Jaeden Graham, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)
Graham earned a first down on a short route out of motion on a fourth and one and earned another five yards after the catch during the third series of the game.