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Seahawks

Seattle Marks Best Start In Franchise History After 33-10 Win Over Atlanta

Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer
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Marshawn Lynch (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Marshawn Lynch (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks made sure there was no dramatic finish in their rematch with the Atlanta Falcons.

Russell Wilson threw a pair of touchdowns passes, Marshawn Lynch ran for 145 yards and the Seahawks routed the hapless Falcons 33-10 Sunday in a one-sided follow-up to last season’s NFC divisional playoffs.

After struggling for victories the last two weeks, the first-place Seahawks (9-1) blew out a team that not so long ago was talking Super Bowl but now is just two defeats away from its first losing season since 2007.

The Falcons (2-7) trailed 23-3 at the half after the Seahawks scored a touchdown with 1 second remaining — a complete reversal of their postseason game last January.

Atlanta led 20-0 in that one after two quarters and was still up by 20 early in the fourth before Wilson led what appeared to be a historic comeback, putting the Seahawks ahead 28-27 with less than a minute remaining. The Falcons bounced back with two long passes and Matt Bryant’s field goal for a 30-28 victory that sent Atlanta to the NFC championship game.

This one was totally devoid of drama.

The Falcons finally scored a touchdown late in the third quarter on Matt Ryan’s 12-yard pass to rookie Darius Johnson on fourth down, but the Seahawks wrapped it up with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took more than 7 minutes off the clock. Lynch, appropriately, finished the possession with a 1-yard touchdown run that sent what remained of the Georgia Dome crowd hustling to the exits.

This one was total domination for the Seahawks, who had staggered to victories over St. Louis and winless Tampa Bay the previous two weeks. Seattle finished with a 490-226 edge in total yards. Steven Hauschka hit four field goals, including a 53-yarder.

The Falcons trailed only 6-3 after Bryant’s 53-yard field goal with 6½ minutes left in the opening half, but Seattle seized control with three big plays in a row, including a bit of trickery that caught Atlanta off guard.

With the Seahawks starting at their own 20 after a touchback, Lynch immediately broke off a 37-yard run into Falcons territory. On the next play, Wilson handed off to Lynch, who passed the ball back to the quarterback. Wilson threw it deep to Jermaine Kearse, who hauled in the 43-yard touchdown pass over Thomas DeCoud to stretch the Seahawks’ advantage to 13-3.

After the Falcons went three-and-out, Wilson hooked up with Golden Tate on a short pass that turned into a 46-yard gain. So, on three consecutive snaps, Seattle ripped off 126 yards.

Tate’s reception led to a field goal by Hauschka. Atlanta went three-and-out again, and Tate set up another scoring chance with a 32-yard punt return in front of the Seahawks bench.

In the final minute of the half, Wilson drove Seattle down the field for the score that crushed the Falcons. But it took a gutsy call by coach Pete Carroll, who decided to take a shot at the end zone on third-and-5 from the Atlanta 6 with 8 seconds remaining and no timeouts. Wilson lofted the pass into the left corner, and Tate made a brilliant one-handed catch while managing to drag both feet inside the line.

Tate finished with 106 yards on six receptions.

Ryan was held to 172 yards passing, while Steven Jackson managed just 11 yards rushing on nine carries. Roddy White returned to the Falcons’ lineup after missing the last month with ankle and hamstring injuries, but one catch for 20 yards hardly sparked the offense.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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