Seahawks rally for exciting win over Atlanta

Late field goal gives the Seattle Seahawks a come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons.

SEATTLE — Richard Sherman snapped and then the Seahawks looked broken.

But then came some of the Russell Wilson fourth-quarter magic with which Seattle fans have grow so familiar, and the Seahawks survived a really strange game with a 26-24 victory at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle is now 4-1 and two games in front of the field in the loss column in the NFC West.

Seattle gave up touchdowns on three straight drives during a bizarre third quarter to fall behind 24-17.

After the first — a 36-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones — Sherman erupted in anger on the sideline, throwing his helmet in the direction of defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

But he hardly stopped there, stalking around the sideline in anger for several minutes despite the efforts of basically every defensive teammate to calm him down.

Sherman finally calmed down but the defense seemed markedly somber and out of sorts for a while, allowing two more long Atlanta touchdown drives in the third quarter.

The Seahawks got the big break they needed to save themselves when Jones let a pass go in and out of his hands with 3:48 left.

The ball then tipped off Sherman’s hands and then to Earl Thomas, who after batting it himself finally controlled it and then tackled at midfield.

Wilson then turned in a bit of magic, evading Atlanta’s rush on third-and-two at the 42 to float a pass to Alex Collins for nine yards and a first down with just over three minutes remaining.

Steven Hauschka’s 44-yard field goal with 2:02 left proved to be the winner.

Seattle then held Atlanta to four straight incomplete passes — with a big hit by Thomas leading to one and then Thomas and Sherman teaming to break up a final deep throw to Jones.

The game marked the 20th fourth-quarter or overtime comeback for Seattle under Wilson.

The Seahawks were efficient if not overly explosive early, with drives of 52 and 75 yards to score touchdowns in the first half.

Wilson was on target early, hitting 11 of 15 passes for 135 yards in the first half — with two of the incompletes wide-open drops of well-thrown balls.

But the running game remained erratic, in part because Wilson was obviously again not quite himself €” he had just one run for three yards in the first half as Seattle had 43 yards on 13 carries, with 21 coming on one run by Christine Michael.

Jimmy Graham was again Seattle’s most effective receiver but was oddly not really involved in a key third-down play from the 10 early in the fourth quarter. Graham finished with six catches for 89 yards.

But after being stagnant much of the second half, the offense moved 70 yards in nine plays to make it 24-23 late in the fourth quarter. Wilson was 4 for 5 for 40 yards on the drive.

The Seahawks dominated the first half with a variety of blitzes appearing to keep the Falcons off balance — Seattle had six quarterback hits in the first two quarters, with three sacks in the first quarter.

Seattle held the Falcons to 15 yards rushing on 10 attempts and Ryan had just 83 yards on 11-of-17 passing.

But that all changed with stunning quickness in the third quarter as Atlanta scored touchdowns on dries of 75, 79 and 97 yards to take a 24-17 lead.

Two of the touchdowns came on blown coverages, the first of which led to Sherman’s outburst that seemed to cast a pall on the sideline for the rest of the afternoon.

Ryan was 13 for 17 for 220 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter while the Falcons also rushed six times for 32 yards.

Michael Bennett was hurt on the second of three touchdowns and without him the pass rush was noticeably less effective for a while (Bennett’s backup, Frank Clark, was also out with a hamstring injured suffered during the week in practice).

Thomas was the star, with a number of big hits as well as the game-turning interception. DeShawn Shead also was targeted often but came through late.

Sherman’s matchup with Jones got a lot of attention and Jones had some big moments with seven receptions for 139 yards. But several came in zone coverage or not on Sherman.

The linebackers did a good job holding down Atlanta’s running attack and passes to the running backs.

And ultimately, Seattle held an offense averaging an NFL-leading 457 per game to 362.