Sunday’s NFL playoff game is the 14th contest between Seattle and Atlanta – this is the first time they will tangle in the playoffs. These two football squads have had some incredible scrums dating back some 30+ years!
Looking back at the Seattle-Atlanta rivalry:
The Seahawks won the first four games of the series and enter Sunday’s playoff game winning eight of the 13 get togethers, while losing the past three.
Nov. 7, 1976 – @ Seattle 30, Atlanta 13
The Seahawks in their inaugural season win for the very first time at home to improve their record to 2-7. Sherman Smith led Seattle with 124 rushing yards, including a 53-yard scamper in the 3rd quarter, helping the Hawks to a 30-6 lead.
Oct. 13, 1985 – @ Seattle 30, Atlanta 26
A thriller as Paul Skansi caught a 12-yard TD pass from Dave Krieg in a wild fourth quarter giving the Seahawks a 28-26 lead. Atlanta had rallied from a 21-9 deficit to take the lead on a 37-yard TD reception by UW grad Anthony Allen in the fourth quarter making the score 23-21. Krieg finished the game 33-51 for 405 yard and four TD passes. Seattle improved to 4-2 with the win, Atlanta dropped to 0-6. Seattle finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
Jan. 2, 2005 – @ Seattle 28, Atlanta 26
Both teams advanced to the playoffs after the Week #17 contest. Seattle (9-7) lost a home Wild Card game to St. Louis 27-20. The Falcons (11-5) drilled the Rams 47-17 in a Division playoff game, only to lose to Philadelphia 27-10 in the Conference Championship.
Sept. 18, 2005 – @ Seattle 21, Atlanta 18
Seattle scored three TDs in the first half and held on for the victory in Week #2 as the Falcons rallied for the final 18 points of the game. Atlanta would finish 8-8 while Seattle would cruise to a 13-3 record and reach the Super Bowl.
Dec. 30, 2007 – @ Atlanta 44, Seattle 41
The Falcons improved to 4-12 when they exploded for 24 fourth-quarter points to beat the playoff-bound Seahawks by three. Seattle (10-6) beat Washington 35-14 in the Wild Card game, before losing 42-20 to the Green Bay Packers.
Dec. 19, 2010 – Atlanta 34, @ Seattle 18
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan was 20-35 with 3 TDs passing. The Falcons improved to 12-2, Seattle dropped to 6-8. Atlanta got clobbered 48-21 in a Division semifinal by the Green Bay Packers.
The Greatest Game of them all?
Remembering the Monday Night thriller in 1979
The Seattle Seahawks made their first appearance on Monday Night Football back in 1979 when they traveled to play Atlanta at on the night of October 29.
A game for the ages as Seattle pulled out all the stops and knocked off the Falcons 31-28 in a wild rain-drenched encounter at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Quoting Seattle Times staff reporter Gil Lyons:
“The weird, wacky and sometimes wonderful world of Seattle Seahawk football, was in full bloom on national television last night and produced an unforgettable win for Jack Patera’s crew of riverboat gamblers.
Employing an inexhaustible repertoire of fake field goals, fake punts, onside kicks and gutsy fourth-down calls, the Seahawks out-gambled the reckless Atlanta Falcons in a wild melee.
After Seattle had tied the score at 14 on Jim Zorn’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Sherman Smith, Efren Herrera executed an onside kickoff which was recovered by Keith Simpson at the Atlanta 42. When the Seahawks faltered at the Falcon 37, Herrera lined up for a 55-yard FG try. But Zorn passed, instead, to Herrera for a 20-yard gain, setting up the go-ahead touchdown.”
Seattle was led in rushing by Dan Doornink with 122 yards and two scores. Zorn added a 34-yard TD run in the first half. Steve Largent caught six balls for 127 yards.
Atlanta QB Steve Bartkowski fired a 20-yard TD pass with 51 seconds remaining in the game to close the gap to 31-28. The Falcons recovered the ensuing onside kick and moved the ball to the Seahawks ‘13 yard-line with 33 seconds left to play.
But Seahawks DB Dave Brown made a leaping interception in the end zone to seal the deal for the upstart Seahawks.
The turning point?
Frank Reed, ex-Washington Husky (Hazen HS grad) in the Falcon secondary, thought it was 9½ minutes to play in the second quarter, when Zorn, on fourth and 5 from the Atlanta 34-yard line, tucked the ball under his wing and scrambled all the way into the end zone.
They shattered the Falcons’ early 14-0 shutout and obviously unnerved the Atlanta defense.
“What hurt,” said Reed, “is that we know all about that play. We didn’t know when it was coming. But we expected it. And we know how to stop it.”
Ah, yes. Everyone knows. At the top of the show, as Howard Cosell would say, we warned you about this man, Zorn.
-The turning poing was a small clip from the Seattle Times Sports Editor Georg N. Meyers’ column the following day.
For information on this year’s Seattle-Atlanta contest, go to www.seattletimes.com
Other notable happenings:
Seahawks punter Herman Weaver completed a pass on 4th and 12 at their own 32-yard line. The pass went for 10 yards – two yards short of a first down.
Seattle fumbled four times and lost each and every one of them.