Falcons' fourth-down follies too much to overcome in loss to Seahawks

ATLANTA -- Fourth down wasn't too kind to the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's 38-25 season-opening home loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

There were three fourth-down plays that proved to be particularly costly to the Falcons on a day where they needed those type of plays to swing in their favor. The one that probably swung the momentum most came in the third quarter when the defense surrendered a 38-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf on fourth-and-5. The Falcons trailed just 14-12 at the time, but the score against cornerback Isaiah Oliver was part of a run of 17 straight points for Seattle that all but put the game out of reach.

The Falcons gambled on a fourth-down play on the next drive, attempting a fake punt with safety Sharrod Neasman. He picked up the first down but fumbled the ball right back over to the Seahawks. Wilson hit tight end Greg Olsen for a 7-yard score shortly after.

Even in the first quarter, the Falcons went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Seahawks' 40-yard line but a Matt Ryan pass to Todd Gurley was incomplete. In turn, Wilson took the short field and the Seahawks down for a 19-yard touchdown to Chris Carson on a three-play, 60-yard drive.

For the game, the Falcons were 0-for-4 on fourth down while trying to take an aggressive mindset. But in the end, a team has to execute when it takes such gambles.

Pivotal play: The touchdown pass from Wilson to Metcalf was no doubt the pivotal play. Oliver let Metcalf get a step on him and it was history. Oliver had a great training camp but he can't afford hiccups such as that. Rookie corner A.J. Terrell played OK but he gave up a big play late.

Troubling trend: The Falcons didn't target Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as much as they should have in the first half when the game was close. Russell Gage had a team-best seven targets in the half. Jones came on in the second half and surpassed 150 yards receiving. Ryan could have had a long touchdown hookup with Jones in the second half had he hit Jones in stride. Meanwhile, Ridley had two touchdowns. Jones, Ridley and Gage each surpassed 100 yards receiving as Ryan passed for 450 yards.

Buy: Todd Gurley looked pretty solid in scoring his first touchdown as a Falcon. Gurley wasn't spectacular, but he had a nice 15-yard run early. ... Takk McKinley brought some strong pressure early on and looked pretty motivated after not having his fifth-year option picked up. He, Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler gave the Falcons three sacks, all in the first half. It's an area the Falcons hope to improve weekly.