The Seattle Seahawks were not in the mood to discuss moral victories after losing to Atlanta 30-28 in the Georgia Dome.
The Seahawks fully expected to be playing San Francisco for a third straight time this season, with a chance to go to the Super Bowl on the line.
“Yeah, definitely,” Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “You go up one with 30 seconds left, you feel like you’ve got the game. They ran some routes that I should have stopped.”
Instead, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and his players are looking toward next season.
“I hate to be dealing with this right now that we got beat today, but the future is so bright for this team, and they know that,” Carroll said. “They’ll live with this frustration for a long time.”
Added Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who said he intends to play another season: “This team has got a lot of great pieces in place for the future – a lot of young guys, a lot of great talent. I think Pete and Schneider have brought in a lot of great guys that are going to be around for a long time.”
Pete gets hormonal again
Carroll once again showed that he’s a risk taker, going for it on fourth and 1 from Atlanta’s 11-yard line with his team trailing 13-0 in the second quarter.
Fullback Michael Robinson was stopped for a yard loss on a play he usually converts for a first down.
“It’s one of our staple plays,” he said. “They brought extra D-linemen and they sent the safety off the edge and we didn’t have enough blockers for them.”
In fact, Robinson was 6 of 7 on 3rd and 1 during the regular season running a similar play.
The Falcons took over on downs, and scored four plays later on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White.
“We had a little screw up on third down there, and we didn’t get the communication clear. On fourth down we thought we could knock it out, but they did a real nice job with a little stunt and hit us in the backfield, on a running play that we make first downs on all the time.”
With the Seahawks losing by two points, on the surface it would appear that Seattle not taking a field goal in that situation could have been the difference. But not according to Russell Wilson.
“That’s our mentality,” Wilson said. “We play aggressive. It’s the playoffs and let’s see what we can get. That play has worked for us so many times, and we didn’t get it this time.
“But it didn’t define the game. A lot of people will question that, but it didn’t define the game. We went up at one point, and there’s so many other plays in that game that we could’ve done better, or that we did really well. So I think it was a great call, to be honest with you.”
Where’s the pass rush?
The absence of Seattle’s sack leader Chris Clemons was definitely felt on Sunday. The Seahawks failed to sack Ryan once, even though he threw the ball 34 times. The Seahawks also finished with just one quarterback hurry.
“Absolutely,” Carroll said, when asked if his defense missed Clemons. “How could you not? He’s our best player in rushing the passer for three years. So of course we did. Mike Morgan had to play. Mike hasn’t rushed the passer 10 snaps in his career. So that’s how we went with hit.”
Carroll said because the defense couldn’t get pressure up front with just the front four, the Seahawks had to blitz more than they normally do. Bruce Irvin, starting in place of Clemons, finished with just one tackle, no sacks and no quarterback hurries.
Wilson sets franchise mark for passing yards in a postseason game
Wilson finished 24 of 36 for 385 yards, two touchdowns and one meaningless interception at the end of the game.
Wilson’s 385 passing yards surpassed a franchise record for passing yards in a postseason game
The mark eclipses Matt Hasselbeck’s 341-yard passing performance against St. Louis on Jan. 8, 2005.
Wilson made a believer out of Atlanta safety William Moore.
“That dude is going to be a big problem for defenses in the league,” Moore said. “I came away very impressed with his game. He can do it all – he can run, he can throw, and he has the moxie you like to see in good quarterbacks. He was truly a game changer and a playmaker for their Seattle ball club.”
* Seahawks tight end Zach Miller eight catches for a career-high 142 yards and a touchdown.
* Golden Tate finished with six catches for 103 yards, and his eighth touchdown on the year.
* The Seahawks gave up 167 rushing yards, the first time they’ve allowed a team to rush for that much since the Miami game (189 yards). Michael Turner ran for 98 yards on 14 carries. Jacquizz Rodgers finished with 64 yards on 10 carries.
* Seattle did not force a punt until 7:34 left in the game.
* In the second half, the Seahawks scored touchdowns on four of six drives, on 80, 80, 62 and 60-yard drives for scores.