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Seahawks vs. Falcons final score: 4 takeaways from Seattle’s 26-24 win

The Dirty Birds and Seahawks had an epic showdown at CenturyLink Field.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Week 6, the Atlanta Falcons boasted the NFL’s top scoring offense, averaging 25 points per game. The Seahawks’ defense ranked among the league’s toughest, holding opponents to an average of less than 14 points per game.

The two teams met in Seattle for a Week 6 matchup on Sunday that would go a long way toward determining the top of the food chain in the NFC. They both made strong cases that they belong there, but in the end the Seahawks defeated the Falcons, 26-24, with a little help from a controversial non-call at the end of the game.

Here are four things you should know about this game.

Seattle’s rush defense is in midseason form

When the Seahawks play at CenturyLink Field, their defense is an intimidating unit, especially when defending the run. In this game, all 11 players on Seattle’s defense swarmed to the ball to deliver big hits and stifle Atlanta’s rushing attack.

Atlanta’s offensive line had a difficult time carving out space for running back Devonta Freeman to run through. Seattle’s defensive line and linebackers clogged up rushing lanes and forced Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to throw the ball. Freeman finished the game with 40 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Matt Ryan continues to light up the stat sheet

If you thought Seattle’s crowd noise was going to affect Ryan’s performance throughout the entire game, you were wrong. Atlanta headed into halftime trailing 17-3, and Ryan got off to a bad start.

He fumbled the ball on the team’s second offensive possession of the game, which led to a 9-yard touchdown run by Seahawks running back Christine Michael. Seattle’s defense harassed Ryan a lot in the first half, and he looked rattled.

In the second half, Ryan came alive and put on an inspiring performance. On Atlanta’s first offensive possession, he threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to receiver Julio Jones to cut the lead to 17-10. Ryan stood tall in the pocket and delivered a strike to wide-open Jones near the sideline.

One possession later, Ryan struck again with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu to tie the game up at 17. However, he wasn't done. On the Falcons’ third offensive possession, Ryan threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to tight end Levine Toilolo. It was an easy throw for him because there wasn't a defender within 15 yards of Toilolo on that play. Atlanta increased its lead to 24-17.

Late in the fourth quarter, Ryan threw a costly interception that led to a game-winning 54-yard field goal by Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, however..

Julio Jones shreds The Legion of Boom

Julio Jones, the Falcons’ star receiver, exploded with seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown against Seattle’s ferocious secondary. Atlanta moved him all over the field to give him a better chance of getting open. Jones corralled some tough catches over the middle of the field and kept drives alive for Atlanta’s offense. There were also times where he was left wide open in the secondary.

On Atlanta’s final offensive possession of the game, Ryan threw the ball deep to Jones on fourth down, but he couldn't haul in the pass. With Richard Sherman holding his arm, Jones wanted a pass interference call but didn't get it. Jones continues to torch defenses with ease, though.

Russell Wilson’s superb decision-making made the difference

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson played mistake-free football against Atlanta’s defense. He did a great job of spreading the ball around to his receivers, tight ends, and running backs. The Falcons’ secondary had a hard time defending all of the short, quick passes.

Even without a strong rushing attack, Wilson managed to methodically work the ball down the field to put pressure on Atlanta’s defense. He went 25 of 37 for 270 yards. Even though he didn't throw any touchdowns, Wilson’s decision-making is the reason why the Seahawks came away with the victory. He didn't turnover the ball.

What’s next for both teams

The Seahawks (4-1) are now sitting atop of the NFC West. They are playing with confidence and grit. Seattle heads to Arizona next Sunday to face a divisional foe in the Cardinals.

The Falcons (4-2) are sitting comfortably in first in the NFC South. They will head back home to face the Chargers next Sunday.