Earl Thomas III and the Seattle Seahawks defense have been the most immovable object in the NFL this season, and in Week 6, they’ll meet an Atlanta Falcons offense that has been the most unstoppable force in the league.
ET III and the Legion of Boom have allowed the fewest yards in the NFL this season, while Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. have generated more yardage (457.4 YPG) than any offense in football. In perhaps the premier matchup league-wide this Week 6, Earl knows what type of challenge his team will face.
“To me, the more and more I watch film I think every offense around the league is similar. But what separates the Falcons is their personnel,” Earl says. “They have two great running backs. Julio [Jones], he can run as fast as anyone in the league. They have a great quarterback. They have Dan Quinn, he comes from the Seahawks. They have a little bit of what we bring to the table in them also.”
The Falcons will certainly present a tough challenge for ETIII and Co. when they come to town this weekend. Through the first five weeks of the regular season, Atlanta and its high-octane offense leads the league in total points scored, as well as total offense.
The Hawks will be well-rested and should be ready for the challenge, coming off their bye week. Knowing what was waiting after the week off, ET did all he could to stay in game mode.
“I think it all starts with my routine for one. I never try to shy away from my routine or get away from it,” No. 29 said. “I’ve been in the league for seven years and every year it gets harder just to re-commit yourself. That’s the thing people don’t understand. It’s about recommitting to this craft. If you don’t do that, you’re going to be in for a long season.”
Atlanta’s offense is headlined by the NFL leader in passing yards in Ryan, and one of the best receivers in the league in Jones. Ryan is in the midst of one of his best seasons as a pro and the always reliable Jones has been a stud this year as well.
A couple weeks ago Ryan went off for 500-plus passing yards, with Jones accounting for an absurd 300 receiving yards against the Carolina Panthers. Last week on the road against the defending champion Denver Broncos, the Falcons came away with another impressive victory that solidified them as a force to be reckoned with.
The Falcons running backs also pose a unique threat for opposing defenses, as both Tevin Coleman and Devanta Freeman are capable options in the passing game. ET and the rest of the secondary will need to account for the two-headed monster in Atlanta’s backfield if they want to be successful in containing this elite offense.
“You have to account for them. They’ve been hitting a lot of seams so our safeties are well aware, along with our corners…that’s a huge part of their offense,” defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. “We’re well aware when they put those guys in the game and they put them outside core, we anticipate them throwing the ball to them.”
Earl and the Hawks forced their first turnovers of the season in Week 4 against the New York Jets and they will look to continue that trend coming off the bye. Ryan hasn’t been very turnover-prone this year with only two interceptions up to this point, but against a rejuvenated L.O.B. that number could climb after Sunday’s showdown.
“We’ve become more polished with everything that we’ve been through,” Earl explained. “Early on we lost to the Rams at the Coliseum. We were close to a lot of turnovers, just didn’t get it done. But we’re starting to see what we do in the week pay off. Guys are finally catching picks…we’re having fun.”
The game will kick off at 1:25 p.m. PT from CenturyLink Field and will be broadcast on FOX.