The Atlanta Falcons lost their sixth straight game in Week 8 to the Seattle Seahawks, 27-20. With the loss, the Falcons dropped to 1-7 for the first time since 2003.
Let's dive into our Top 10 takeaways from the Falcons' latest defeat:
1. Once again, the Falcons fell behind by at least 17 points, which has happened at some point in all seven of Atlanta's losses this year. The Falcons trailed the Seahawks 24-0 at halftime on Sunday.
The pass defense has been the biggest reason for poor starts to games in 2019, but it was the Seattle run game that carved up the Falcons in Week 8. The Seahawks posted 151 rushing yards, with a vast majority of that coming during the first half.
Despite losing center Justin Britt early in the afternoon, the Seahawks pushed around the Falcons defensive front badly in the first 30 minutes.
2. Admittedly, it wasn't all bad from the Atlanta defense. The Falcons ended their sackless streak with two sacks in the second half Sunday. They also held Seattle to just 3-for-9 on third downs.
But the Seahawks had their way in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns on three drives inside the 20. The Falcons played their worst defense of the afternoon when the Seahawks were inside the Atlanta 5-yard line. Twice, D.K. Metcalf was wide open for easy touchdowns in the end zone, and Chris Carson beat the Falcons to the pylon from one-yard out for the other score.
Atlanta has given up a touchdown on nearly 69 percent of its opponents' red zone trips this season, which is third-worst in the NFL.
3. As poorly as the defense played in the first half, the stats were pretty even and the Falcons held advantages in lots of categories by the end of the afternoon. But Atlanta continues to end up on the losing end despite outgaining the opposition because the team loses the field-position battle.
The Falcons went another game without forcing a takeaway and gave the ball away three times. But what really killed the team was a pair of missed long field goals in the second quarter.
Kicker Matt Bryant missed from 51 and 54 yards away, which set up the Seahawks in prime field position. Matt Schaub's second-quarter interception also gave Seattle the ball near midfield.
The Seahawks scored touchdowns off of both field-goal misses and the interception.
4. While the statistics were even or somewhat favored Atlanta, I wouldn't say the Falcons outplayed the Seahawks. This game felt like the contest against Minnesota back in Week 1. In both cases, each team preferred to run the ball down Atlanta's throat rather than pad the lead.
When both of those teams elected to pass, the Falcons yielded big gains. That was true against the Seahawks, who chose to be very conservative in the second half because they could afford to.
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5. If the Falcons get even just one of those previously mentioned missed field goals, the complexion of the final quarter is completely different. Atlanta was trailing by 16 when the team scored a touchdown with a few minutes remaining in regulation and had to go for two in order to try and bring the deficit down to eight.
Had the Falcons made one of the early long field goals, it would have already been a one-possession game without the two-pointer, and Atlanta could have kicked the ball deep to play defense rather than attempt the onside kick.
6. The same can be said for the lone field goal the Falcons allowed during the second half. An offensive pass interference penalty on third-and-11 pushed the Seahawks back to the Falcons 48-yard line with Seattle ahead 24-11. But on third-and-21, Dan Quinn pushed his secondary way off the line of scrimmage to avoid giving up the big play. That allowed the Seahawks to easily pick up 12 yards to move back onto the fringe of field goal range.
Jason Myers proceeded to hit a 54-yard field goal to put Seattle ahead by 16 with under six minutes remaining. More press coverage in that situation could have prevented that field goal attempt and kept the Falcons within 13 points instead of 16 and in need of two-point conversions to tie.
7. That was one of a few interesting coaching decisions from Quinn against Seattle. In addition to his inconsistent fourth-down decisions, which we covered in a video on Sunday, there was a situation in the first half where officials called Julio Jones for a questionable offensive pass interference penalty. The NFL hasn't overturned many of those challengable penalties, but before the next snap, the Falcons called a timeout to avoid a delay of game.
If you have to use a timeout before the next play anyway, why not then throw the challenge flag? There's nothing to lose challenging a play if you want the timeout called regardless.
Jones had a 20-yard reception wiped out from the OPI call, and on the very next play after the timeout, Matt Schaub threw an interception. Maybe that giveaway doesn't happen if A) the Falcons win the OPI challenge or B) regroup in a longer timeout.
Again, that interception proved costly because it was part of what contributed to the Seahawks' avalanche in the second quarter.
8. Other than that pick, Schaub played very well in his first start since 2015. He had another throw that bounced off a defender's hands that should have been intercepted, but besides those two mistakes, he was everything one can ask for in a backup quarterback.
Schaub threw for 460 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
9. Jones spoke up last week to defend Quinn in front of the team. Against the Seahawks, he "walked the walk," posting 10 receptions for 152 yards. Atlanta needs more performances like this from Jones in order to end this losing streak.
10. In the first game without Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons offense still had plenty of weapons. Schaub attempted 52 passes, so there were a lot of targets to go around, but Jones set a new season-high with 12 targets while Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper each had seven.
Devonta Freeman was heavily involved in the passing game with eight targets. Russell Gage took the place of Sanu as the team's third receiver. He was more than serviceable with seven catches for 58 yards.