Falcons kicker Matt Bryant sprinted around the field. Tight end Tony Gonzalez cried. Quarterback Matt Ryan had his first playoff win.
That was the scene the last time the Seahawks and Falcons were on the same field. Atlanta barely held off Seattle's fourth-quarter comeback to win last season's divisional playoff game, 30-28, in Atlanta.
The Falcons lost the NFL championship game to the San Francisco 49ers, but beating the Seahawks was seen as a significant step for the combination of Ryan and head coach Mike Smith.
Gonzalez, who considered retiring last year, was overwhelmed by moving on after Bryant's field goal with eight seconds remaining put Atlanta back in front.
Nine months later, the Falcons are a mess.
Atlanta is 2-6. It's last in the league in rushing. The Falcons have been outscored 61-24 in their last two games.
Things are so bad, the team mascot, Freddie Falcon, had to apologize Monday for an insensitive tweet after participating in a suicide prevention walk.
"Right now, we're not executing at a high level," Smith said. "We have many different problems. Sometimes it's the offense. Sometimes it's the defense. Sometimes it's special teams. Sometimes it's coaching. When you are 2-6, you're obviously not doing (anything) very consistently (or) effectively."
Ryan threw three interceptions Sunday during a 34-10 loss to the the Carolina Panthers. Midway through the season, he's just four short of his career high for picks.
Part of the reason is the Falcons have been wiped out by injuries. Starting wide receiver Roddy White was inactive for the third consecutive game Sunday because of hamstring and ankle problems.
Atlanta lost stud receiver Julio Jones for the year in Week 5 because of a broken bone in his foot that required surgery.
Running back Steven Jackson was signed in the offseason as an anticipated boost to the offense. He was hurt in the second game of the season, has played in just four and has just 38 carries for the league's worst rushing offense.
Jackson had a season-high 13 carries last week.
The Falcons had 18 rushing yards on 18 carries against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that the Seahawks ran on for 198 yards.
Losing so many playmakers has left Atlanta with nowhere to turn on offense.
"I do believe we have not been on the same page consistently and that has led to a number of offensive breakdowns," Smith said.
Which leaves Atlanta a long way from the playoff euphoria of last January.
SEAHAWKS' OPPONENT THIS WEEK
Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
10 a.m. Nov. 10, Georgia Dome
Against the Seahawks: This is the 14th regular-season meeting between the two teams. The Seahawks leads the series 8-5. The last time the two teams met in the regular season, the Seahawks lost, 30-28, Oct. 2, 2011 in Seattle.
Stats and stuff: Former University of Washington start and Tacoma native Desmond Trufant was the Falcons' first pick in the 2013 draft. Trufant was selected 22nd overall. ... Trufant is fourth on the Falcons in tackles and leads them with eight passes defensed. He also has an interception and forced fumble. ... Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez told the team he did not want to be traded despite the rough start to what is expected to be his final season. Gonzalez has 44 catches and is on pace for his eighth 80-plus catch season. ... Julio Jones still leads the Falcons in receiving yards though he hasn't played in three weeks after breaking a bone in his foot, which ended his season. ... Unlike the Seahawks, the Falcons spend most of the second half on the road. Atlanta plays four of its final seven away from the Georgia Dome.
Quotable: "This is a production-oriented business, and we didn't get it done."
-- Falcons head coach Mike Smith
Sept. 8 L, 23-17 at New Orleans
Sept. 15 W, 31-24, vs. St. Louis
Sept. 22 L, 27-23 at Miami
Sept. 29 L, 30-23 vs. New England
Oct. 7 L, 30-28 vs. New York Jets
Oct. 20 W, 31-23 vs. Tampa Bay
Oct. 27 L, 27-13 at Arizona
Nov. 3 L, 34-10 at Carolina
Nov. 10 vs. Seattle
Nov. 17 at Tampa Bay
Nov.21 vs. New Orleans
Dec. 1 at Buffalo
Dec. 8 at Green Bay
Dec. 15 vs. Washington
Dec. 23 at San Francisco
Dec. 29 vs. Carolina
-- Todd Dybas, The News Tribune
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