NFL: SEP 13 Seahawks at Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 13: Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons looks for his receiver during the NFL Week 1 game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks on September 13, 2020 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ATLANTA (CBS46) – The Atlanta Falcons struggled with pass protection and couldn’t muster enough defense to slow down the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Sadly, that’s not a write-up from last year’s Falcons team, but it could be. The same problems the Falcons had last year came back to the surface again Sunday as the Falcons were carved up by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on his way to 31-35 for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions for a final QB ratings of 143.1

Wilson’s accuracy was scary, or the Falcons were just awful in the secondary. And the Seahawks rode the hot hand during the game by rushing the ball just 20 times. But when your passing game is hitting on all cylinders like Wilson was, it’s hard to argue to go to the ground game. As coaches have famously said, they’ll call different plays when the opponent stops the one that is being executed successfully.

On the Seahawks’ second touchdown pass in the first quarter, the entire Falcons defense was out of position as Wilson dropped back before throwing a screen pass. When running back Chris Carson caught the ball, he had three offensive linemen in front of him and ran untouched into the end zone.

Atlanta had a chance when the score was 14-12 and Seattle was facing fourth-and-5 at the Atlanta 38-yard line. Just like it was a Super Bowl, Seattle threw the ball and Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf caught a perfect pass on the way to the end zone after beating cornerback Isaiah Oliver.

The Falcons’ loss was eerily reminiscent of the troubled start the team faced in 2019. Atlanta turned that around and finished strong last season with an improving defense. But despite pulling down three sacks, the Falcons secondary was no match for Wilson.

The news wasn’t all bad for the Falcons as quarterback Matt Ryan delivered a solid start going 37-54 for 450 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception. The Falcons also wasted a great day from the wide receivers who had three players go for more than 100 yards receiving (Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Calvin Ridley). The Falcons also excelled on third down, converting 50 percent of their third down attempts.

Trailing for most of the game forced Atlanta to throw and that cut back on the day’s work for running back Todd Gurley. He averaged four yards per carry on 14 carries and found the end zone once in his first game with Atlanta.

The Falcons must come together quickly to fix the problems Wilson masterfully exploited on Sunday as the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a game at Dallas this Sunday. The Cowboys are coming off a tough loss to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday night and will be looking to take out frustration on the visiting Falcons.

Atlanta has won three of the last four contests with the Cowboys including a road win in 2015. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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