SEATTLE -- When Pete Carroll looks at the personnel Atlanta will have against Seattletoday, he cant fathom a Falcons offense that in two of three games this season failed to score more than one touchdown.
All he sees is Week 2 when the Falcons won a shootout with Philadelphia and looked reminiscent of the team that routed Carrolls Seahawks a season ago.
In the tough game with Philadelphia how they just came roaring back and they had all the firepower you could ever want, great leadership with Matt (Ryan) the quarterback, the receivers and Tony Gonzalez, Carroll said. Just everything that you could hope to have on a football team, they have. ... So thats the team were preparing for. We know that they have all of that ability and we better get ready.
Surprisingly though, the Seahawks (1-2) might not be the cure-all the Falcons (1-2) could use when the teams meet today. While Seattles offense continues to set one of the early-season standards in futility in the NFC, the Falcons arent exactly lighting up scoreboards.
In the opener against Chicago, the Falcons failed to score an offensive touchdown. In last weeks 16-13 loss at Tampa Bay, Atlantas offense didnt find the end zone until the fourth quarter.
And while a trip to the Pacific Northwest might seem the perfect remedy for the Falcons, theyll be facing a Seattle defense thats been the bright spot of a shaky start in Carrolls second season. The Seahawks have already shut down San Franciscos Frank Gore in the opener, then did a number on Arizona star Larry Fitzgerald last week, holding him without a catch in the second half for just the eighth time in his career.
Seattle ranks 10th in the league overall so far defensively and 10th against the pass. Its a huge, albeit early jump from a secondary that ranked 27th last year against the pass.
But theyll get their biggest test against Ryan and his stable of receivers. Ryan threw for a career-high 330 yards last week against Tampa Bay, with 140 of those going to Roddy White, who finished with nine catches. Rookie Julio Jones added six catches for 115 yards.
Its just been a big emphasis on keeping everything in front of us and eliminating the explosive (plays) because that kind of demoralizes the whole defense and thats when the bad stuff starts creeping in, Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. We dont want to be a liability so we just try our best and take our jobs seriously. We stay late. We just try to get any tips and tendencies that they bring and we go from there.
Seattles defense will look unfamiliar to Ryan. Of the Seahawks starting defense from last years Week 15 game the Falcons won 34-18 only five remain.
There are a few changes, thats for sure. But (Chris) Clemons on the defensive line is one of the better ones you see, Ryan said.
Atlanta hasnt started 1-3 since beginning the 2007 season 1-4. That was the year the Falcons crumbled and eventually landed the No. 1 pick, which turned into Ryan.
Perhaps the most impressive sign of Ryans early success is that only twice in three-plus seasons with Ryan as the starter have the Falcons lost consecutive games. But a loss to the Seahawks would leave Atlanta already playing catch-up in the loaded NFC South and with a home game next week against Super Bowl champion Green Bay.
I think we have high expectations of ourselves and I dont think anybody would say that weve kind of played up to the standards that we set for ourselves, Ryan said. But its a long season and you have to stay mentally tough and stay patient.
and keep doing things the right way and trust that were going to make plays and were going to become more consistent.