2020 Week 1 Analysis: Seahawks @ Falcons (By Ross Jacobs)
Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. Typically, he will have written/submitted his work before mine, so this is a look at the same game with different eyes...and you can compare and contrast or find some new takeaways.
-This was a weird game. It looks like a blowout if you just see the box score, but I saw two fairly evenly matched teams. Seattle is a bit better because their defense is just ok instead of terrible like Atlanta, but I don't believe they are really that different.
-Seattle benefited from an iffy penalty on 3rd and 23 in the 1st quarter that gave them a first down and ultimately led to a TD. Atlanta proceeded to quickly make it close again, and the score was only 14-12 Seattle at the half. The Seahawks then uncharacteristically go for it on 4th and 5 and Russell Wilson hit a bomb to DK Metcalf for a TD. 21-12 Seattle. The Falcons get the ball and decide to run a fake punt on their own 35 yard line. They fumble the ball, and Seattle recovers only to score shortly after to make it 28-12. At this point the Falcons only have a quarter left and are down 16. They completely abandon the run, but it's too late. They score two garbage time TD's to Calvin Ridley, and Seattle gets one more TD late. The Seattle offense played very well and very aggressively, but the strange fake punt is what ultimately won them the game, not anything they really did. Without that sequence of events it's probably a much closer game.
-Two things to note about Seattle's offense here. The first is that they played a terrible Atlanta group that lost their best cornerback in the off-season. This secondary is atrocious and will likely be beaten badly by other teams in the future. The second thing is I was utterly shocked to see how often and aggressively the Seahawks were throwing. They never let Russell Wilson come out and attack like that, instead preferring to keep one of the game's best QB's under wraps until they need a 4th quarter comeback. Anyone that says Seattle is wrong to #LetRussCook is off their rocker. Looking at you Louis Riddick. This is what can happen when you unleash Wilson. You can actually score points and get a lead. And what is head coach Pete Carroll's response to this success? He thinks they need to run the ball more! This level of stupidity is beyond me.
-Atlanta's offense piled up yards, but half of it came in the 4th quarter with the team down 19 points. Matt Ryan only had 230 yards at the end of the 3rd and ended with 450.
-I have to repeat that this is no longer the Legion of Boom defense that Seattle had years ago. They are merely average these days.
-DE Benson Mayowa flashed on several plays for the Seahawks. I doubt he's suddenly going to break out for 10 sacks after being a journeyman his entire career, but I was quite impressed with his play here.
-Don't think you're getting this kind of yardage out of Ryan every week. It's simply unsustainable. But he does look like he'll be piling up garbage time yards similar to how he has the last few years. If you have him target average defenses or poor defenses.
-For the same reason you can't count on Ridley getting these types of numbers that often. He wasn't doing much of anything until all the garbage time numbers in the 4th quarter. I'm sure he'll rack up plenty of stats this year. I just don't think he's the new Chris Godwin. He's not that caliber of receiver.
-Todd Gurley looked fine here. His knee seems to be fully healed. He's a great buy low target. Most games the Falcons won't be behind and forced to throw like this and he will take more carries. There's no threat to his touches on the roster either.
-Metcalf benefited from Russell's big day, but again he won't be playing secondaries as bad as Atlanta every week. If you can flip him for something you like better I would.
-It's a minor note, but I thought Chris Carson caught the ball much better than I've ever seen before. Not sure the heavy pass targets will keep up, but it would be a nice addition to his game if so.