In looking to defuse the Falcons’ offensive potential on Sunday, the Seahawks have three things working in their favor: Chris Clemons, Raheem Brock and the noise generated by the 12th MAN crowd.
Matt Ryan. Roddy White. Tony Gonzalez. Michael Turner. And now, Julio Jones.
The obvious question for the Seahawks heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Falcons at CenturyLink Field is how to match, as well as defuse, the firepower that Atlanta brings to town.
“This is a great opportunity for us because this is such a good team, and we know that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We have a lot of respect for them.”
And rightfully so, because win No. 12 in the Falcons’ NFC-best 13-3 record last season came against the Seahawks in Seattle, 34-18.
“They came in here and played great last year,” Carroll said. “We don’t forget the fact about how well they can function.”
Key word in that statement: Can. Because the Falcons are 1-2 this season, just like the Seahawks.
So there’s a nagging question for the Falcons, as well: How is that an offense with all this Pro Bowl talent has scored only one touchdown in eight quarters on the road this season?
“We have high expectations of ourselves and I don’t think anybody would say that we’ve kind of played up to the standards that we set for ourselves,” Ryan said.
Falcons coach Mike Smith definitely wouldn’t say that. His team did score 35 points in outlasting the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, but that was sandwiched between road games at Chicago and Tampa where the Falcons scored 12 points against the Bears and 13 against the Buccaneers.
“We haven’t played as effectively as we’d have liked to in the first three games,” Smith said. “We’re not executing.”
But that doesn’t stop the Seahawks from wondering if this is the week the Falcons’ offense rediscovers its productive ways.
“They’re very talented, and we know that first hand from playing them last year,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “They’re even better now with Julio Jones. They’re very talented and they’ve got a lot of weapons.
“I know they’re talking about some of their O-line issues, but when we watch them on tape they’re doing a good job.”
Line issues? One touchdown in two road games? Sounds familiar. But this is the Falcons, and not the Seahawks.
The best place to attack the Falcons’ offense is at the source: Ryan. And the best way to do that is to come after him, against a line that already has allowed 13 sacks – compared to 23 all of last season.
The Seahawks should have three things working in their favor in that matchup: The noise generated by the 12th MAN at CenturyLink Field, and the advantage it gives rush-ends Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock when the Seahawks go to their nickel and dime packages in passing situations.
“It’s definitely an advantage,” Brock said. “The atmosphere at the stadium is just unbelievable. When the offense can’t communicate and the offensive line has to get off on my first step or Clemons’ first step, it’s a great advantage for us.”
via Rush hour.