Throughout the Matt Ryan era in Atlanta and the Russell Wilson era in Seattle, the Falcons and Seahawks have played some of the greatest games in each franchises history against one another.
The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks have played 18 times over the last 43 years, with the Seahawks owning a 10-8 series lead. The two teams have met a total of five times since Wilson came into the league in 2012, with many of these games becoming memorable affairs for each franchise.
The first meeting between Ryan and Wilson came in the 2013 NFC Divisional Playoffs. Ryan had never won a playoff game and there was a lot of pressure on the team to win coming off of a 13-3 regular season record. The Falcons had built a 27-7 lead going into the 4th quarter of the game. It seemed like they were in cruise control.
The Seahawks, however, did not plan on giving up. They scored 21 unanswered points to take the 28-27 lead late in the game. It seemed like it would be yet another Falcons post-season disappointment. Thankfully, the Falcons had a guy named Matt Bryant. Bryant kicked a late field goal to win the game for the Falcons in exhilarating fashion and sent the Seahawks home.
The next meeting would be during the 2013 season. The Seahawks walloped the Falcons 33-10 and avenged their heartbreaking loss from the NFC Divisional Playoff game earlier that year.
The teams met again during the 2016 season in another classic that saw the Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in controversial fashion.
The Seahawks had built a 17-3 lead going into the half. The Falcons weren’t able to get anything going on offense. Then, in the 3rd quarter, the Falcons scored 21 unanswered points to build a 24-17 lead going into the 4th quarter. The Seahawks then scored nine unanswered points and regained the lead.
The Falcons were down 26-24 with time winding down, but were putting together a nice drive. Tragedy struck however as on 4th down, Ryan threw up a pass for Julio Jones. Sherman grabbed the left arm of Jones, leading to an incomplete pass. There was no pass interference call and the Falcons could do nothing about the loss.
The 2017 divisional round playoff game had many storylines coming into the game. First off, the game was thought to be the last Atlanta Falcons game ever played at the Georgia Dome. Second, the two teams had met previously in the 26-24 victory for the Seahawks earlier that season.
Third, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, up until this game, had very little success in the playoffs. Ryan was 1-4 and the fans were tired of post-season disappointment. The game ended up being one hell of a fun time for the fans at the Georgia Dome.
A strong second quarter helped the Falcons win the game 36-20, ensuring another playoff game would take place in the dome.
The latest matchup took place during the 2017 season. The game was a Monday night matchup in Seattle. The Falcons were able to pull off a 34-31 victory thanks to some questionable calls from Pete Carroll and mistakes on special teams.
Let’s not forget, this emerging rivalry has gained even more steam since Dan Quinn took over as Falcons head coach in 2015. He spent time with the Seahawks from 2009-2010 and again during their Super Bowl runs from 2013-2014.
The Seahawks over the years have become a rival for the Falcons outside of the NFC South. The amount of close games and Quinn joining the staff has morphed this matchup into a new rivalry.
They aren’t hated rivals like the New Orleans Saints or Carolina Panthers. I view this rivalry as more of a friendly rivalry between teams that have mutual respect for one another.
With another matchup coming up in week 8 of the upcoming season and many more to come in the future, both teams and their fans should expect more classics to take place.