Falcons pass defense on alert and on the hot seat against Seahawks

SEATTLE -- Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell has been in coverage on three short touchdown passes over the first two games.

Terrell will be on the hot seat as the Seahawks plan to open their passing attack and try to unleash wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett when the Falcons and Seahawks meet at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Lumen Field.

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In those deep red-zone situations, the football normally is coming out quickly.

There was nothing wrong with Terrell’s coverage against the Saints in the opening game. Quarterback Jameis Winston just threw some laser pinpoint passes. On a touchdown pass against the Rams, Terrell could have jammed Allen Robinson at the line and not gone for his inside fake.

Seattle has featured their tight ends while trying not to leave their rookie tackles in pass protection long. Coach Pete Carroll pronounced that rookies Charles Cross (first-round pick from Mississippi State) and Abraham Lucas (third-round pick from Washington State) are fine and that they don’t need to “hold back” in the passing game.

Metcalf has caught 11 passes for 71 yards, while Lockett has caught 12 passes for 135 yards.

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“It’s just give or take,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said about the Seahawks’ threat to go down the field more. “I think what you’re seeing right now, you’re not seeing a ton of man (coverage) right now, really around the league.”

NFL teams are playing zone and forcing offenses to take the check-down receivers, which helps to explain Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith’s 81% completion percentage.

“Obviously, it’s about converting and scoring touchdowns in the red zone, however you get down there,” Arthur Smith said. “Are you going to run a control passing game because they’re playing such soft zone?”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sun., Sept. 25 at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 2, Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 9, at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

Thur., Nov. 10 vs. at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

BYE WEEK

Sun., Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Sat., Dec. 24, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.