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(Sunday, December 19th)
Final Score: Atlanta 34, Seattle 18
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-35 passes as Atlanta used a third-quarter surge to rout Seattle, 34-18, at Qwest Field.
Roddy White, Michael Jenkins and Jason Snelling all caught a TD pass for the Falcons (12-2), who clinched a playoff spot prior to the contest due to the Giants' disheartening loss to the Eagles, and extended their lead in the NFC South to two games over New Orleans, which lost to Baltimore earlier Sunday.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys, not just today but the last several weeks," said Falcons head coach Mike Smith. "I think we have done a good job of preparing every week. I'm really happy for our team, our fans and Mr. Blank for clinching a playoff berth."
Michael Turner added 82 yards on 25 carries and Jonathan Babineaux recorded a defensive touchdown for Atlanta, which reeled off their eighth straight victory -- their most in one season since taking the final nine games of the 1998 campaign.
Matt Hasselbeck didn't last three quarters, and threw for 71 yards and two interceptions on 10-of-17 passing. Charlie Whitehurst finished the game 8- of-16 for 83 yards and ran for a score for the Seahawks (6-8), who suffered their fourth loss in five games but remained tied atop the NFC West after the Rams lost to Kansas City earlier in the day.
Marshawn Lynch posted 60 yards and a TD on 12 carries while Mike Williams had 66 yards on eight receptions in defeat.
On Seattle's first drive of the third quarter, it was pinned in the shadow of its own goal line. Hasselbeck dropped back and rolled out into the end zone on first down, but was hit by Jamaal Anderson, fumbled, and Babineaux recovered for a 24-10 Falcons edge.
Hasselbeck was picked off by Brent Grimes on the Seahawks' next series, and he returned the ball to the Seattle 37. Eight plays later, Matt Bryant was good from 25 yards out.
"I was really disappointed in the way we let this game get away," Hasselbeck said. "We made too many errors, we had to take care of the things you need to win a football game and we did not."
It was 34-10 for the visitors and under a minute left in the third when Ryan capped the next Atlanta series with a five-yard TD pass to White.
Whitehurst ran in from the one with 8:29 remaining, and the conversion pass was good so the Seahawks faced a 16-point hole.
A comeback was not to be as the next Seahawks possession resulted in a punt, and their final drive stalled on a 4th-and-8 from their own 26 when a Whitehurst pass for Williams fell incomplete.
Lynch's one-yard run put Seattle on the board and was the lone score of the first quarter.
Ryan hit Snelling for a three-yard TD to tie the game early in the second before Bryant hit a 27-yard field goal to give Atlanta the lead with 4:51 to play in the half.
Olindo Mare nailed a 38-yarder to make it 10-10 on the next series, but the Falcons responded before the end of the half as Jenkins hauled in a 24-yard scoring pass from Ryan.
Despite the loss, Seattle has won eight of the 12 overall meetings with Atlanta...However, the Falcons have won the last two meetings...This marked the fourth time in 2010 that Ryan threw for three TDs, with the last happening on November 11 against Baltimore...For Hasselbeck, it was by far his fewest passing yards on the year, and least since going 2-for-5 for 23 yards in a 37-20 loss at St. Louis on October 20, 2002.
12/20 00:24:02 ET
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