The Atlanta Falcons survived a furious comeback by the Seattle Seahawks and secured their spot in next week’s NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. A late Matt Bryant field goal sealed the deal for the Falcons, who have won their first playoff game since 2005, by the final score of 30-28.
The game couldn’t have started any better for the Falcons, who jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead. It appeared as if the Seahawks had been affected by the two cross-country trips in the past two weeks, but that didn’t last. The Falcons squandered a 27-7 fourth quarter lead and found themselves trailing 28-27 with 30 seconds left in the game. That, however, was more than enough time for the Falcons high powered offense. Atlanta drove the ball into field goal range in 22 seconds which opened the door for Matt Bryant.
The game was not over, however. The ensuing kickoff almost turned into disaster when Bryant shanked the kick and was recovered by the Seahawks at their own 45 yard line. A quick out route moved the ball to the 50 yard line which set up one last hail mary pass, which was intercepted in the endzone. The Seahawks six game win streak came to an end and the Falcons finally got the playoff monkey off their backs.
Quarterback Matt Ryan completed 24 passes for 250 yards and threw three touchdowns. The stats do not show how poised he looked all game, especially on the game winning drive late in the fourth quarterback. Wide Receiver Roddy White led the team in receiving with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Running Back Michael Turner rushed for 98 yards on 14 attempts and rushed for some critical first downs late in the game.
The Falcons will host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. The last time the Falcons played in the NFC Championship resulted in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10. If the Falcons win next week, they will face either the Patriots or Ravens in Super Bowl 47.