Falcons vs. Seahawks: Atlanta Dominates Seattle, Firmly In Control Of NFC

Ryan ComstockCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2010

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19:  Wide receiver Roddy White #84 and Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate as they leave the field after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 34-18 at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

In beating the Seattle Seahawks, 34-18, the Atlanta Falcons had possibly their most dominating performance of the season.

Matt Ryan completed 20 of 35 passes in the game for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception when he attempted to force the ball to Roddy White, but was mistake-free after that.

White was Atlanta's leading receiver with seven catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, although Ryan did an excellent job of spreading the ball around.

Ryan targeted seven players. Six of them caught passes and four of them had at least three receptions.

Tony Gonzalez and Jason Snelling both had four catches and Michael Jenkins had three.

Jenkins and Snelling were the recipients of two touchdown passes, Jenkins's coming on a 24-yard streak to the end zone. Ryan just missed Jenkins on what would have been a very long pass.

White also became the first receiver since Eric Metcalf in 1995 to total 100 catches in a season in the game. He entered with 99 and now has 106 to lead the NFL.

Michael Turner led the way for the Falcons on the ground, rushing 25 times for 82 yards.

Atlanta got a bit fortunate early in the game, when Jason Snelling fumbled twice on the same drive. The first was recovered by Brian Finneran and the second bounced to White who ended up getting a first down on the play.

The Falcon defense also forced three turnovers on the day.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck lost a fumble in his own end zone that was recovered by Jonathan Babineaux for a touchdown and also threw two interceptions—one going to Brent Grimes and the other going to William Moore.

Moore's pick came after Grimes tipped the ball in the air and Grimes' interception was on yet another fantastic leaping play from him.

There are not many, if any, corners playing at a higher level than Grimes.

The final stats do not completely bear it out, but the Seahawks were in way over their heads in this one.

Seattle had two good drives all day; one that went for 80 yards (their first of the game) and one that went for 89 after Charlie Whitehurst replaced Hasselbeck.

If you take away those two drives, Seattle gained just 65 yards and held the ball for about four minutes.

The defense that has been much maligned for its ability against the pass has now held three straight opponents below 200 passing yards.

It also held its own against the run, keeping Seattle to 91 yards.

With New Orleans falling to Baltimore earlier Sunday, the Falcons now have some breathing room in the division.

They will have a chance to lock up the No. 1 seed next Monday night when they host the Saints. If they can't get it done then, they simply need to beat the Carolina Panthers at home to earn the top spot.

It seems highly likely that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through Atlanta