After blowing multiple opportunities to score in the first half, the Seattle Seahawks have taken the lead with 31 seconds left against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC DIvisional Playoff game, 28-27.
A failed fourth down play and a sack with time running out in the first half -- both deep in Atlanta territory - cost the Seahawks dearly, despite another strong performance by Russell Wilson and tight end Zach Miller.
The Seahawks got the ball at its own 20 to start the second half. A 17 yard scramble by Wilson got Seattle close to midfield. Wilson later hit Miller for a 19 yard gain, then capped off the drive with a 29 yard touchdown to wide receiver Golden Tate.
The Seahawks defense could not stop Atlanta on its next drive. The Falcons moved methodically downfield with a combination of runs and passes, ending the 80 yard drive with a 5 yard shovel pass to Jason Snelling to make the game 27-7. More importantly, they knocked 7:36 off the clock.
Wilson led Seattle on another 80 yard scoring drive, highlighted by 24 yard pass to Tate and a 26 yard pass to Miller. Wilson scored on a 1 yard scramble to make it 27-14.
Atlanta looked like it would work to run out the clock on the next possession, but quarterback Matt Ryan was intercepted by safety Earl Thomas at the Seattle 38 with 11:03 to play. The Seahawks wasted little time, with Wilson hitting wide receiver Sidney Rice for 24 yards and running back Robert Turbin for 30 yards before tossing a 3 yard touchdown to Miller with 9:13 to play.
Despite having lots of success running the ball, the Falcons went back to the air on the next possession, but went three and out. Leon Washington returned the punt to the Seattle 40 yard line with 7:23 to play. Seattle only picked up 10 yards before being forced to punt, giving Atlanta the ball at its own 20 with 5:32 to play.
Atlanta could have put the Seahawks on the ropes, but an incomplete pass by Ryan on third down led to another Falcons punt. Wilson led the Seahawks downfield and Marshawn Lynch scored on a two yard run. It appeared he fumbled at the half yard line, but replay showed he broke the plane of the goal line with the ball before the fumble.
First half summary
Atlanta took the game's opening kickoff, started at its own 25 yard line and moved down to the Seattle 21 yard line with a balance of run and pass. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw to the end zone on third down to Roddy White, but Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman closed the gap and batted the ball away.
Just as they did last week, the Seahawks offense got off to a slow start. Seattle went three-and-out on its first possession. Its second possession began after linebacker Bobby Wagner intercepted Ryan at the Seattle 33. Seattle took advantage early with a 17 yard scramble by Wilson. But on the next play, Marshawn Lynch ran 11 yards and fumbled. Atlanta recovered at its own 39.
The Falcons marched downfield, helped by a 15 yard penalty on Wagner for a horsecollar tackle. Ryan hit future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.
The Seahawks next drive stalled at the Atlanta 38 yard line and they punted. The quarter ended with a long Jacquizz Rodgers 45 yard run that put the Falcons on the Seattle 42, but the drive stalled at the Seattle 19 and the Falcons settled for a 37 yard field goal with 9:13 left in the second quarter.
Leon Washington started the next drive by taking the kickoff from the back of the endzone to the Seattle 30 yard line. Wilson hit tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Golden Tate on two big plays, but on fourth down and one at the Atlanta 11, fullback Michael Robinson was stuffed for a one yard loss and the Falcons took over with 5:33 to play in the half.
Just 77 seconds later, Ryan hit Roddy White in the end zone for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 20-0.
Seattle drove down to the Atlanta 11, but with no timeouts and seconds left on the clock in the second quarter, Wilson was sacked. With no time to bring out the field goal unit, Wilson tried to get the offense lined up for a desperation fourth down play, but time ran out.