January 13, 2013– The Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons met in Atlanta for the NFC Divisional Playoff.
The Georgia Dome may have a roof, but the temperature inside was cold as ice. At least for Seahawks fans who saw their post-season dreams freeze when head coach Pete Carroll iced his own kicker Steven Hauschka, who then missed what would have been a game-winning field goal.
This post-season match-up featured two teams who had only one previous Super Bowl appearance each and zero Super Bowl championships. Fans of both teams were on the edge of their seats as Atlanta, who had the early lead with 20-0 at the half, watched Seattle make an incredible comeback run in the fourth quarter and narrow the score 30-28. With 0:08 left on the clock, Seattle lined up for the infamous field goal attempt.
Winning the game 30-28, Atlanta went on to keep chasing the Super Bowl dream for one more year, while Seattle went back home to the drawing board.
Four years later-The Seahawks have a Super Bowl championship and back-to-back “rePETE” Super Bowl appearances. The Falcons are still hankering for that Super Bowl ring.
The Seahawks have been in the playoffs every year since 2012. The Falcons have not made it to the playoffs since 2012.
Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator for Seattle’s top ranked defense, who led them to two Super Bowl appearances and a championship ring, is now the head coach for Atlanta.
Seattle’s 2016 season has been riddled with inconsistencies and injuries from key players including safety Earl Thomas III, quarterback Russell Wilson, and wide-receiver Tyler Lockett. The team continues to carry around the weight of the infamous 2015 Super Bowl pass call that resulted in an interception and the loss of a second championship. But Seattle is determined to prove they are still the championship team they were three years ago.
Atlanta’s 2016 season has been one for the records. Quarterback Matt Ryan finished the season with career highs in touchdowns, passer ratings and completion percentage. However, the Falcons, who boast the number one offense in the country, are still being dubbed by critics as merely a good “regular season” team.
Each team continues to have something to prove.
January 14, 2017- The Seattle Seahawks met for the first time in the post-season since 2013. Once more the NFC Divisional Playoff was held in Atlanta.
History seemed to be repeating itself in this game, as Atlanta scored a safety and twelve unanswered points, leading 19-10 at the half.
Yet, this time there was no fourth quarter comeback for the Seahawks. Seattle allowed nineteen unanswered points before quietly responding with a 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter, making the score 26-13 with Atlanta leading.
Gaps from injured Seattle defensive players were felt, and more injuries continued to plague the game, including cornerback DeShawn Shead who suffered a serious knee injury. Huge penalties called back what yardage Seattle’s special teams could muster.
This time around Atlanta routed Seattle 36-20.
For the Seahawks, there was no redemption in Atlanta.
For the Falcons, there was the continuing spark of hope.
Matt Ryan proved that he can get it done under pressure, throwing 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dan Quinn proved that he could beat his former team and still be classy by taking a knee at first and goal in the remaining seconds of the game. Atlanta gave their fans something to cheer for as they played what could have been the final game at the Georgia Dome before the Falcons move into their new stadium next season.
Once more Seattle returns home to the drawing board (or more likely the rehab facility) while Atlanta thinks ahead to the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Super Bowl dream is still in the cards for Atlanta. Maybe this time around they will actually make it a reality.