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Russell Wilson, Seahawks can't keep pace with Falcons

Facing the NFL's most prolific offense in the Georgia Dome, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks needed to keep pace with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and a cadre of Atlanta Falcons weapons. They failed.

After a clinical opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, Atlanta outscored Seattle 36-6 before a late touchdown made the final tally closer in a 36-20 loss.

"We really had a chance to take this game into a whole different kind of story line and we weren't able to capitalize on it," coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game.

Against a Dan Quinn defense allowing 25.4 points per game and 371.2 yards per game, it appeared early that Seattle might keep pace with Ryan's high-flying offense. After the 14-play 89-yard TD drive to open the game, Seattle was in scoring range on their second offensive possession.

A sack on a blown blocking assignment by reserve guard Rees Odhiambo pushed the Seahawks back. Then Wilson had Doug Baldwin dashing towards the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The quarterback sailed a pass long, forcing Seattle to settle for a field goal.

It was the first of several "just miss" moments for Seattle on Saturday.

After a 79-yard punt return from Devin Hester was wiped out by a hold on Kevin Pierre-Louis, Odhiambo stepped on Wilson's foot resulting in a safety. Seattle scored just three points on their next five possessions while Atlanta moved up and down the field.

As the game spiraled out of hand, Wilson missed Baldwin on another potential touchdown in the red zone. On the next possession, the QB overshot Baldwin again as the receiver streaked wide-open deep. After dicing up the Lions last week, Wilson and Baldwin couldn't find a consistent connection. Baldwin caught just 2-of-5 passes for 20 yards in the first half -- he finished with 5 receptions for 80 yards on 9 targets.

With Ryan dicing up a banged-up Seattle secondary, the Seahawks running game was left behind -- Wilson led the team with 49 rushing yards -- allowing Atlanta's pass rush to tee off against a bad offensive line.

Wilson was flushed from the pocket on seemingly every drop back in the second half. Running for his life, Wilson ended the game 17-of-30 passing for 225 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs for a 75.0 passer rating. Wilson was under pressure on 18 of 39 drop backs, per Pro Football Focus. He had 96.9 rating without pressure and 46.3 rating with pressure.

The Seahawks entered 2016 with the most wide-open offense of the Wilson-era. Yet, spending cheap on the offensive line eventually proved Seattle's Achilles heel. Pete Carroll's team has the nucleus in place to retain its spot among the NFC powers. The offensive line, however, must be improved in 2017 for Wilson to have a chance of keeping up with the scoring machines in the conference.

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