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Seahawks-Falcons (23-27): Pete Carroll defenseless

Seattle Seahawks (1-2) – Atlanta Falcons (1-2): 23-27

This time there was no rabbit in Pete Carroll’s hat. The Falcons had the game in hand five minutes from the end, when the sequence of an unprecedented interruption due to a drone hovering above the stadium, then an unfortunately less unusual fumble from Marcus Mariota suggested a reversal of the situation to which the former USC coach has accustomed us.

Geno Smith (32/44, 325 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception) then began a long methodical drive, nibbling the clock and inexorably approaching the endzone, in a style that his predecessor Russell Wilson would not have denied. Except that, on a fourth desperate attempt, the quarterback found the arms of Richie Grant on a very nasty pass, thereby sending Pete Carroll back to his questionable choices.

When to defend is defended

The result remains logical as the Falcons appeared unstoppable in this match. Marcus Mariota’s stat sheet speaks for itself. With 229 passing yards on just 13 completed passes (out of 20 attempts), the quarterback benefited from the largesse of a Seattle backfield with absent subscribers. And if the pitcher didn’t really make a great game, he was able to count on the amplitude of the talent of his attacking partners.

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The first half is thus an attacking festival between the two teams. Fireworks that may seem surprising given the supposed pedigree of the two quarterbacks, but which becomes much less so when we look at the defenses of the two teams. On both sides, the homage to Gruyère is pronounced, with nevertheless a certain difference in the way of cutting it between the workforce.

On the Seahawks side, Pete Carroll’s men are faithful to their guru’s mantra and apply themselves to controlling the ball and the clock by alternating running and passing. The team advances very wisely and accumulates points. A chilly field goal on a 4th &3 at 14 yards from the endzone, to start (3-0), a touchdown on a pass to Will Dissly then (10-7), another superb touchdown from DK Metcalf (17-17) after the only punt of the half and almost the same field goal to pass before the break (20-17). Very clean, well helped by a passive opposing defensive line.

Except that opposite, Arthur Smith’s attack responds blow for blow, in a much more explosive style. There are therefore two actions of more than twenty yards on the first drive concluded in the race by Mariota (3-7), two others on the following field goal (10-10), and two including one of 26 yards on 3rd & 19 on the drive concluded by Kyle Pitts (17-10). If we add a small punt and an anecdotal interception, the balance sheet at the break is still encouraging for the team which confirms its offensive potential.

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The Patterson show, the Carroll misunderstanding

The second half is worse for the locals. Because in the first period, failing to complete the air, Seattle had at least controlled the running game. After the break, Cordarrelle Patterso (17 races, 141 yards, 1 TD) begins to dance on the opposing defense. But Pete Carroll is stubborn. So when Atlanta equalizes with a field goal to start half-time, and he finds himself a third time in a fourth “achievable” attempt in the endzone (4&2 out of 7), he opts for the field goal a third time ( 23-20), thus trusting in his defense.

The following drive therefore sees Atlanta score in 5 actions including a 40-yard run from Patterson (23-27). Handicapped by penalties, Seattle begins to bog down in attack, inexplicably abandoning the race, and the mass seems to be over. Mariota’s fumble comes as a miracle to give the residents of Lumen Field a chance, except that Geno Smith is not Russell Wilson. Even if the problem of the team is undoubtedly in defense, here he is author of a new interception when going to get a match.

Carroll’s good old recipe works less without its key ingredients. Atlanta, for its part, confirms its talent in attack which could allow it to annoy any team on a good day.

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