SEATTLE – The flaws that have plagued the Seattle Seahawks time and again this season proved fatal Monday night.
Penalties. Lack of offense not named Russell Wilson. Too many third-down conversions allowed.
The Seattle Seahawks (6-4) shot themselves in the foot time and again, falling to the Atlanta Falcons 34-31 in front of a national audience and remaining in second place in the NFC West division as they face the final stretch of the season with a fistful of key injuries.
Making it all the more painful: That three-point margin might just have been negated had the Seahawks not chosen to fake a field goal with 7 seconds left in the first half, giving up a nearly sure 3 points and instead eating a 4-yard loss on Jon Ryan’s toss to Luke Willson.
“It would’ve been a great call if we had made it," coach Pete Carroll said after the game.
Even with all that, Seattle once again nearly staged a seemingly impossible comeback. Down 11 with 5:08 to go, Wilson led a touchdown drive capped by a 29-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin.
A quick defensive stop later, they had one last chance to get on the board, but in the end, Blair Walsh’s 52-yard field goal attempt fell short and Seattle headed to the locker room disappointed.
Really though, it was the recurrence of the same flaws that have haunted the Seahawks that cost them.
Penalties? The Seahawks continued their league-leading pace with nine for 106 yards.
Third-down conversions? The Falcons converted 9 of 14.
Non-Russell-Wilson offense? You must be joking. Wilson threw for 258 yards and ran for 86 more, good for a grand total of 344 of the Seahawks’ 360 yards from scrimmage: A seemingly impossible 95.5 percent of their total output.
Seattle will hit the road next, travelling to San Francisco to play the 49ers (1-9) on Sunday in a 1:05 p.m. game on the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. They’ll follow that up with a primetime game at home against the top team in the NFL, the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, on Dec. 3.