FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s a breakdown on how the Falcons’ special teams units match up against the Seahawks:
Falcons: Kicker Matt Bryant, punter/kickoff Matt Bosher, holder Bosher, kickoff returner Jacquizz Rodgers, punt returner Harry Douglas and long snapper Josh Harris.
Seattle: Kicker Steven Hauschka, punter Jon Ryan, holder Ryan, punt and kickoff returner Leon Washington and long snapper Clint Gresham.
Matchup to watch: Bosher vs. Washington
Washington is one of the most dangerous return men in the NFL.
On 27 kickoff returns, he averaged 29 yards per attempt during the regular season. He also returned one 98 yards for a touchdown against Miami on Nov. 25.
His 29-yard average was second in the NFL behind Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones (30.7) among players with 25 returns or more.
As a punt returner, Washington had 41 returns for 356 yards, the longest at 52 yards. He had 17 fair catches.
With the 98-yarder against Miami, Washington tied Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs as the only players in NFL history with eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Bosher can take Washington out of the game by sailing his kickoffs for touchbacks and with extended hang-time on his punts.
When the Falcons played Seattle on Oct. 2, 2011, Washington got loose for one punt return of 33 yards and a kickoff return of 36 yards. Overall that day, he had two punt returns for 40 yards and four kickoff returns for 94 yards.
The Falcons coverage units are led by safety Chris Hope and linebacker Robert James. Also, cornerback Christopher Owens, who is attempting to come back from a hamstring injury, is perhaps the fastest player on the coverage units and could be missed if he can’t recover in time.
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