On the ensuing possession by the Seahawks, the defense allowed a quick score that put Seattle right back into the game, exactly what you don't want to see if you're the Falcons. A second-down pass that was first ruled a fumble/recovery that would've actually helped the Seahawks, it was then ruled an incompletion following a Mike Smith challenge.
That play brought up a third-and-eight, and the Falcons looked to be in good position to get the ball back. But Tarvaris Jackson managed to get the ball to Doug Baldwin over a slightly hobbled Kelvin Hayden for a thirty-yard gain, putting the Seahawks in business at midfield.
Then on what would have been a free play due to an offsides penalty called on Kroy Biermann, Jackson launched what I'll admit was a great pass and found Sidney Rice for the 52-yard score. Though Rice is a big receiver, he has some pretty deceptive speed and basically had Brent Grimes beat the whole way down the field. That cut the Falcons lead in half, 14-7.
So, after a solid kickoff return by Eric Weems, the offense went to work right away by picking up the first down on a 10-yard swing pass to Michael Turner. Then, after a screen pass to Julio Jones that failed in every sense of the word, Ryan went right back Julio on third-and-thirteen for a 29-yard gain. Jones has really been the difference maker for the offense today, already hauling in six catches for 60 yards.
Then Ryan turned to his most reliable weapon in Roddy White. On a third-down play in which the pass protection (mostly Sam Baker) completely broke down, Ryan somehow managed to find Roddy for an 15-yard gain with Seahawks defenders hanging all over him. Two plays later, the two connected yet again, this time a 16-yard tip-toe catch that brought up a first and goal at the two.
Turner was able to power it in from one yard out for his second score of the day, capping an 11-play, 72-yard touchdown drive. After giving up a big score, the Falcons offense responded in a big way to regain their 14-point lead.
The Seahawks offense took the field hoping to continue their recent success, but the Falcons D wasn't going to have any of it, forcing a very quick three-and-out. While he's made some good plays on the day, Jackson simply hasn't been consistent enough to orchestrate any sort of extended drive.
So as a result of that defensive stop, the offense had the ball with under two minutes left in the half and all three timeouts. After some more poor tackling by Seattle's defense, they had the ball at midfield and again turned to the no-huddle. But after a third down incompletion on what was probably pass interference against Brandon Browner, the Falcons settled for a field goal, which Matt Bryant nailed from 47 yards out. He is now five-for-five on the year.
That effectively brought an end to the first half, with the Falcons holding a comfortable 24-7 lead over the Seahawks. A couple of important things to note: the Falcons have not committed any turnovers, and have only allowed five yards rushing in the first half. Ryan is an efficient 16/21 passing for 164 yards and a touchdown.
All that remains for Atlanta now is to stay strong on defense (that means no prevent defense-- I'm talking to you, Brian Van Gorder) and continue to stay mistake-free. "Back to basics" was the theme for the week, and so far the Falcons have delivered.
For discussion, turn to Falcons blog The Falcoholic and Seahawks blog Field Gulls, plus SB Nation Seattle.