An inside look at the Seattle Seahawks’ 30-10 win over Atlanta on Sunday:
When George Koonce stepped in front of a Doug Johnson pass and returned the interception 27 yards for a touchdown, it gave Seattle an early 14-0 lead and sucked all the wind out of Atlanta.
When Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna took a big hit from Atlanta’s Patrick Kerney, and the only thing that saved him was Walter Jones’ soft posterior. Kitna completed a 9-yard pass to Christian Fauria, but got walloped by Kerney on the play. Fortunately for Kitna, his helmet ran into Jones’ behind before he fell to the artificial turf.
Atlanta’s Chuck Wiley thought he had the first touchdown of his career in the first half, but officials correctly took it away. Wiley picked up a loose ball and rambled 33 yards for an apparent touchdown, but the play was ruled down even though the whistle never blew. Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna had actually thrown the ball away, back-handing it forward in the direction of fallen running back Ricky Watters. Kitna, with chin strap hanging to his chest, eventually chased down Wiley and tackled him as the Atlanta defender crossed the goal line — all for naught.
Best start: Jon Kitna completed all five of his passes for 74 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown to Darrell Jackson, as the Seahawks drove down the field to score on their opening drive.
Worst start: Atlanta rookie quarterback Doug Johnson, making his first NFL start, threw an incompletion on his first pass, then an interception that was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by George Koonce.
Best catch-and-run: Darrell Jackson did most of the work on a 71-yard reception in the second quarter. Jackson caught a pass on a slant pattern, used his speed to break away from a defender, broke two tackles at midfield, then ran down the sideline before Atlanta’s Ashley Ambrose pushed him out at the 1.
Worst call: Jackson looked like he scored on the reception, even though officials and an instant replay ruled him out at the 1. Ricky Watters scored on the next play to make the call moot.
Best hands: Kitna, who fumbled two snaps in a win over Jacksonville three weeks ago, seems to have overcome his butterfinger problems. The quarterback took time after practices last week to work on snaps with centers Chris Gray and Robbie Tobeck — both of whom played Sunday — and had no problems against the Falcons.
Most opportunistic player: Seahawks defensive end Michael Sinclair has recovered four fumbles in the past three games, including two recoveries Sunday.
Best stats that could have been better: Kitna had impressive numbers, completing 25 of 34 passes for 252 yards, but they probably would have been even better had the Seahawks not played so conservatively after halftime. During the first half, Kitna completed 18 of 25 passes for 228 yards.
"Everybody can’t be blessed with 4.3 speed. God wants some people to run 7.3. I thought he did a good job of getting out of bounds. I think he saw the Gatorade cooler and was running toward that." — Seahawks defensive end Michael Sinclair, on Cortez Kennedy’s 14-yard interception return.
"I told George, of 27 years working with the Jugs machine catching balls, he finally caught one." — Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren on George Koonce’s interception return for a touchdown.
"We were in control basically throughout the game, so I don’t want to say today was a true test of our character. But if you look at these guys all through the season, you realize we have good guys in this room that are going to continue to play hard. I’m not surprised that they came ready to play here today." — Seahawks offensive lineman Pete Kendall.
"I was hoping to go to Alaska and get far away from this, live in a tent of something. But now I can’t do that." — injured Falcons running back Jamal Anderson, on his bye week plans.