The Seahawks’ attempt to match the largest comeback in franchise history came up short.
Short and to the left, more precisely.
Steven Hauschka attempted a 61-yard field goal with 13 seconds left, which would have won the game and set a franchise record. His line drive wasn’t all that close, and Seattle lost to Atlanta on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, 30-28.
Considering that Seattle trailed by 20 in the third quarter, the game was closer than anyone could have expected, based on a lopsided first half, and more disappointing than a blowout because it came down to clock management and execution.
Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson passed for a career-high 319 yards and threw three touchdown passes. And with 22 seconds left, Seattle had the ball at the Atlanta 45 with one timeout left, looked to position itself for the winning kick.
On first down, Jackson spiked the ball to kill the clock. An illegal-motion penalty against receiver Sidney Rice on second down cost Seattle five crucial yards, but tight end Zach Miller gained seven back on a reception. A third-down incompletion left Seattle facing fourth-and-8.
Instead of going for it, Seattle sent out Hauschka for what would have been the longest field goal in franchise history. Josh Brown holds the record with a 58-yarder.
The kick was short, Atlanta took over, quarterback Matt Ryan knelt once and the Falcons escaped with a victory.
The first half left the stadium sounding like a library, the Seahawks trailing the Falcons by double digits and getting outrushed by Atlanta’s quarterback.
The Seahawks’ second half summoned Seattle’s crowd to life.
The Awakening occurred with 13:40 left in the third quarter. The Seahawks’ trailed 27-7, and the disappointment of three consecutive losing seasons could be heard echoing in CenturyLink Field.
All Seattle did was score three touchdowns on its next four possessions.
And somewhere between Mike Williams’ 6-yard touchdown catch, Leon Washington’s 33-yard punt return and Marshawn Lynch’s somersault into the end zone for a TD, Seattle awakened to the possibilities.
When Ben Obomanu caught an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8:10 left in the fourth quarter — a play in which he was so wide open Jackson could have underhanded the ball to him — Seattle trailed only 30-28. That was remarkable, given how lopsided the first half was.
Atlanta held the ball more than twice as long as Seattle in the first half, gained nearly twice as many yards, and scored 24 points — the most the Seahawks have allowed in any half this season.
The Falcons scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, kicked a field goal in the final minute of the first half and another in the second minute of the third quarter to lead 27-7.
Seattle switched to its no-huddle offense on its first possession of the third quarter, resulting in a touchdown drive. Williams, who had only one pass thrown his way last week, had a 19-yard reception down the sideline and then caught a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Miller nearly had a touchdown catch on Seattle’s next possession, only to have the ball knocked loose on a hit by Atlanta safety James Sanders and intercepted by Thomas DeCoud. The Seahawks forced a punt, Washington returned it 33 yards to set up the Seahawks inside Atlanta’s red zone.
Lynch scored on an 11-yard run — nearly doubling Seattle’s rushing yards to that point — and Seattle had the deficit down to six, 27-21.
Atlanta responded with a field goal — Matt Bryant’s third of the game — and Seattle answered with a touchdown.
The Falcons converted three third downs on their ensuing possession, consuming more than 5 minutes before the Seahawks forced a punt. Seattle finally got the ball back at its 15 with 1:49 to play.