It has been 301 days since it happened. Seattle marched into Atlanta with bad intentions, and left with a bitter taste in their mouths. They return to Georgia today to vanquish the foe that stood between them and a true championship opportunity, but that foe does not wear red or black. Matt Ryan, Mike Smith, and their one playoff win and 2-6 record are merely sparring partners. Defeating them proves little. The Seahawks take the field in Atlanta looking to extinguish all remnants of the Seattle team that lost that day. A worthy adversary, indeed.
The team that played in Seahawks uniforms that January day could not run the ball. Marshawn Lynch was a shadow of himself, and fumbled the ball to boot. The team came out slow on both offense and defense. Atlanta, a poor running team, piled up 167 yards and over six yards per carry. There were zero sacks, as the lack of pass rush depth was exposed without Chris Clemons. Seattle overwhelmed the Falcons in the fourth quarter, but ultimately yielded a late lead.
Infamous flaws that shaped the way the front office and the players attacked the off-season. Clemons is back, and John Schneider has brought hell with him in the form of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Pete Carroll has transformed Bruce Irvin from a helpless defensive end versus the run to an imposing figure in all phases of the game as a linebacker.
A team that struggled to start and play well on the road is looking to tie their franchise-best of five road wins in just six opportunities.
Seattle failed to feature the run two weeks ago in St. Louis, and the result reminded them to return to what makes them intimidating. That will serve them well the rest of the way.
This team has already had the wake-up call against the run on defense the past two weeks. It would only be fitting for this to be the day when they suffocate a weak run game from their opponent instead of breathing life into it.
The best way to hold a late lead is for it to be a large one. Seattle’s defense has already shown they are a different team in the clutch this year. Today is a day to leave no doubt.
Seattle shadow boxes their toughest opponent today. It is a chance to fully turn the page from a painful end to last season, and propel them toward a higher plane in this one. Life provides opportunities like this. Seattle becomes the team they wanted to be today. A team nobody wants to face.