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Third Quarter Mistakes Doom Seahawks in 38-14 Loss to Atlanta


The good news? The Seahawks somehow find themselves still tied for the NFC West.

The bad news? The team was beaten badly at home by one of, if not the best team in the NFC the Atlanta Falcons after three Matt Hasselbeck turnovers in the third quarter made it a blowout.

The Hawks fell hard, 34-18, to drop to 6-8 on the season, meaning they won’t finish the regular season with a better than .500 record. At this point, the team could care less about that, as they were able to stay tied for the top spot in the division after the St.Louis Rams fell at home Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs.

It appears that the season could very well come down to the final game of the year when the Hawks host the Rams. Seattle lost 20-3 to St.Louis back on October 3rd.

Sunday the Falcons took advantage of Hawks miscues, with Matt Ryan throwing for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-35 passes. Atlanta used a third-quarter surge with Hawks turnovers giving them all the opening they would need to get to 12-2 on the season.

Roddy White, Michael Jenkins and Jason Snelling all caught a TD pass for the Falcons, who clinched a playoff spot prior to the contest due to the Giants’ disheartening loss to the Eagles, and extended their lead in the NFC South to two games over New Orleans, which lost to Baltimore earlier Sunday.

Michael Turner added 82 yards on 25 carries and Jonathan Babineaux recorded a defensive touchdown for Atlanta, which reeled off their eighth straight victory — their most in one season since taking the final nine games of the 1998 campaign.

Hasselbeck didn’t last three quarters, and threw for 71 yards and two interceptions on 10-of-17 passing. Charlie Whitehurst finished the game 8- of-16 for 83 yards and ran for a score for the Seahawks, who suffered their fourth loss in five games.

Marshawn Lynch posted 60 yards and a TD on 12 carries while Mike Williams had 66 yards on eight receptions in defeat.

On Seattle’s first drive of the third quarter, it was pinned in the shadow of its own goal line. Hasselbeck dropped back and rolled out into the end zone on first down, but was hit by Jamaal Anderson, fumbled, and Babineaux recovered for a 24-10 Falcons edge.

Hasselbeck was picked off by Brent Grimes on the Seahawks’ next series, and he returned the ball to the Seattle 37. Eight plays later, Matt Bryant was good from 25 yards out.

It was 34-10 for the visitors and under a minute left in the third when Ryan capped the next Atlanta series with a five-yard TD pass to White.

Whitehurst ran in from the one with 8:29 remaining, and the conversion pass was good so the Seahawks faced a 16-point hole.

A comeback was not to be as the next Seahawks possession resulted in a punt, and their final drive stalled on a 4th-and-8 from their own 26 when a Whitehurst pass for Williams fell incomplete.

Lynch’s one-yard run put Seattle on the board and was the lone score of the first quarter.  Ryan hit Snelling for a three-yard TD to tie the game early in the second before Bryant hit a 27-yard field goal to give Atlanta the lead with 4:51 to play in the half.

Olindo Mare nailed a 38-yarder to make it 10-10 on the next series, but the Falcons responded before the end of the half as Jenkins hauled in a 24-yard scoring pass from Ryan.

The Hawks will be at Tampa Bay next week for a key matchup with the Bucs, who fell at home Sunday to the Lions.


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