After dominating throughout the first half and building a 24-0 halftime lead, the Seahawks certainly took their foot off the gas during the second half of Sunday's matchup against the Falcons.
Coming out of the break, Seattle gave up 11 unanswered points to allow the home team to crawl back into the game. Following a sloppy performance by their defense as a whole over the final 30 minutes of play, the Seahawks managed to barely hold on for a 27-20 road win.
Even with moving to 6-2 through eight games, the Seahawks will need to play much better football through the second half of the season to emerge as a legitimate contender.
Let's dive into our three big winners and three losers from Week 8's win in Atlanta.
After struggling against the Ravens last Sunday in Seattle, Carson was able to bounce back with a dominant performance returning to his home state of Georgia. Growing up less than an hour away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Carson rushed for a total of 90 yards along with a touchdown in front of his friends and family in Atlanta.
The third-year pro was especially effective in the first half, grinding through Atlanta’s porous defense for 86 yards. Carson also scored his third rushing touchdown of the season as he made a spectacular cut at the goal line and barged through two defenders for the score to push the Seahawks lead to 17-0 in the second quarter.
So far this season, the Seahawks have struggled mightily to create consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Thankfully for the Seahawks, their defense was able to generate a little bit of pressure against Matt Schaub this week and though he didn't have a quarterback hit, Kendricks played a key role rushing the veteran passer.
The eight-year pro produced seven tackles and a pass deflection along with multiple successful rushes as a blitzer that forced Schaub to rush several throws, including one pass that should have been intercepted by cornerback Akeem King. Kendricks also displayed outstanding awareness to pick off Schaub while covering Julio Jones in zone coverage, giving the Seahawks terrific starting field position and leading to Carson's touchdown run.
Despite drawing very tough coverage assignments against elite receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Griffin produced one of his best performances of the 2019 season. During the Seahawks victory, the third-year pro produced four tackles along with a pair of critical pass deflections, including prying the ball from Ridley’s hands on a third down slant from Schaub that forced the Falcons to punt.
Coming off his impressive performance against the Ravens, Griffin continued to provide outstanding coverage during one-on-one battles throughout the game. The Seahawks defense will need Griffin’s strong play to continue into next week’s matchup against Tampa Bay, as he'll likely be tasked with covering two-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans.
Aside from an impressive 23-yard reception with big yardage after the catch, Moore failed to haul in a pair of passes from quarterback Russell Wilson during key third down plays in the first half. Wilson threw two similar back shoulder fade passes to Moore, but the third-year pro was unable to get both feet inbounds the first time and tripped over his feet on the second attempt.
Moore’s inability to catch either pass from Wilson may have cost the Seahawks a chance at scoring touchdowns on both drives, which may have proved to be especially important if the Falcons would've had enough time to get the football back late in regulation.
Filling in for injured center Justin Britt, who’ll likely miss the rest of the season, Hunt struggled mightily at times with his pass protection for Wilson. Specifically, Hunt was unable to hold his block on a third down against defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, which led to Wilson being sacked for a loss of nine yards and led to a quick Michael Dickson punt early in the third quarter.
Hunt also committed a holding penalty in the first quarter that negated Carson’s one-yard rush for the first down, ultimately forcing the Seahawks to punt the ball away two plays later. If Britt tore his ACL and is out for the remainder of the season as reported, the Seahawks will have to rely on Hunt through the rest of the 2019 campaign or acquire a center prior to Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Coverage Against Matt Schaub
Throughout the first half, the Seahawks defense was able to prevent Schaub from creating many big plays in the passing game. But that wasn’t the case during the second half, as the Seahawks surrendered a 35-yard toss from Schaub to tight end Austin Hooper on the first play of the third quarter and eventually allowed reserve running back Brian Hill to score a 23-yard touchdown to trim the lead to 24-8.
In addition to the second half-opening scoring drive, Atlanta was able to score on three of its final four drives to conclude the game. Seattle allowed Schaub to complete 39 of his 52 attempts for a troublesome 460 yards. It's a good thing the Falcons were shut out in the first two quarters because with receivers running open all over the field and the veteran quarterback dialed in, this game could've resulted in an inexcusable loss for the Seahawks.