PREGAME: We feared that Atlanta was capable of coming out of the gate looking like 13-3. And of winning the game by a 42-7 score.
POSTGAME: Atlanta bullied its way to a 24-7 halftime lead, leaving its win probability at 96% after thirty minutes.
True, the Seahawks did come back to a 30-28 score, and Jackson wound up throwing for more yardage than Ryan, by a 319-291 yard margin.
However, the two teams weren't really as close as the final score might have indicated. The Falcons had 40 minutes of possession, and Ryan's "success rate" on passing attempts was 62% compared to Jackson's 51%. The rushing yardage was 121-53, Atlanta.
Seattle's second-half comeback showed eighteen kinds of character, but it was still a cat fighting a dog to the death. The fact that the dog was surprisingly bloodied doesn't mean that the dog got lucky.
PREGAME: This being Qwest, er, CLink, we prophesied that this particular game would "be won by a couple of turnovers either way."
POSTGAME: Sho' nuff, the Seahawks lost because they benefited from 0 turnovers.
Tarvaris Jackson threw two interceptions, both of which had to deflect up off receivers into the air in order to find Atlanta defenders. AAAAAARRRRgggggghhhh! The real "travesty" of this game wasn't Travesty Jackson, but the fact that the Seahawks played so heroically, only to have the turnover luck go Atlanta's way.
If there were ever a game when the Seahawks deserved a bounce, here you were. That is the emotional punch line of October 2, 2011: You are not always rewarded for doing the right thing (playing hard and believing in yourself).
Not always, but often. And whether you're rewarded for it or not, at the end of the day, you've got your self-respect. The 2008 and 2009 Seahawks had none. This team does.
The Atlanta Falcons have an elite football team, and on Sunday they were firing on eight offensive cylinders. The Seahawks rose to the occasion and the result was a great football game. The Seahawks didn't lose the football game; the Atlanta Falcons won it.
The Seahawks put up a playoff-caliber performance. Good on them.