The Seahawks won their season opener over Wilson and the Broncos, but they were pummeled 27-7 by the 49ers on the road last Sunday. The Falcons have dropped two thrillers by a total of five points. They are 2.5-point early underdogs to the Seahawks.
Geno Smith, a second-round pick by the Jets in 2013, is the new quarterback. He’s 14-22 as an NFL starter.
Smith, who was out of football in 2019, beat out Drew Lock, whom the Seahawks acquired in the Wilson trade.
“When I was in Tennessee, we went against (Smith) when he was with the Jets,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said Monday. “We’ve had a couple of games to watch him now, what he’s doing in Seattle’s offense, how they’re handling their personnel.”
With a young offensive line, the Seahawks have not scored a touchdown over their last six quarters.
The Seahawks are starting two rookie offensive tackles. Charles Cross, who was taken right after the Falcons selected Drake London with the eighth overall pick, is the left tackle. Cross played at Mississippi State.
Abraham Lucas, who was drafted in the third round from Washington State, is the right tackle.
With the rookies, the Seahawks have relied on Smith to complete a lot of short passes and have not thrown down the field much to wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
“I think Shane Waldron has done a really good job, their offensive coordinator,” Smith said. “They’ve got a lot of really good skill personnel, at tight end, they like to use all three of those tight ends, (Will) Dissly, (Noah) Fant and Colby Parkinson. At the receivers, Metcalf and Lockett, they’re as good of a one-two punch as anybody in the league.”
Metcalf and Lockett are both former Pro Bowlers.
“Great corps,” Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell said. “Good quarterback. Good receivers. Just got to watch film and get all of the details down on them. DK is a great receiver. Lockett has been doing his thing, too.”
The Seahawks’ rushing attack is off to a slow start. Running backs Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker have found little room to work.
“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Smith said.
The defense also is being rebuilt. Safety Jamal Adams, whom the Seahawks made the highest-paid player at the position after getting him from the Jets, is likely out for the season with a quadriceps/knee injury.
The unit played Denver with a lot of spirit. They forced two fumbles at the 1-yard line and benefited from Broncos rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett going for a 64-yard field goal.
The Broncos amassed 433 yards in the game.
“Well, you see the speed and attention that they try to do to disrupt the football, and I know that’s been a big point of emphasis for them, getting turnovers,” Smith said. “It’s a completely new front from the first iteration from when Pete (Carroll) got there and part of that staff, Gus Bradley, Dan Quinn, Jerry Gray, those guys were there early, and they were running so much of that Cover-3, and they had so much success.”
That was the old “Legion of Boom” featuring Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman.
“A lot of those guys got jobs at other places, and it was kind of a trend, now you’ve seen them kind of reshape, a lot more five down fronts, a little more 3-4 base, (current defensive coordinator) Clint Hurtt is a different play-caller,” Smith said.
Now the Seahawks mix up their coverages more in the secondary.
“It’s changed, but you still see Pete’s emphasis, the way that they attack the football, ball disruption, team speed, all of that stuff is showing up,” Smith said.
The 49ers ran the ball 45 times for 189 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns against the Seahawks.
“They threw some different looks at San Fran, and San Fran’s got some good players,” Smith said. “Deebo (Samuel) made a couple of guys miss on a tackle and was able to get through there for an explosive run.”
The Falcons also plan to account for Seattle’s fans, who still show up and get loud even though the team is going through a rebuild.
“It’s probably one of the best environments that you could have home-field advantage. We know it’s going to be loud, and we’ve got to account for that,” Smith said.
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The Bow Tie Chronicles
Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.
Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD