ATLANTA (AP) Matt Bryant pumped his Andy Dalton Womens Jersey fist and celebrated atop the Falcons logo in the middle of the field. Tony Gonzalez broke down in tears. Matt Ryan relished the thought of not having to answer a familiar question.
The Atlanta Falcons finally showed they could win a playoff game.
After a meltdown in the fourth quarter, the Falcons pulled off a comeback that will long be remembered in championshipstarved Atlanta. Ryan completed two long passes and Bryant kicked a 49yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining, lifting the NFC top seed to a stunning 3028 victory over Russell Wilson and the gutty Seattle Seahawks in a divisional game Sunday.
said Falcons coach Mike Smith, summing up this classic as well as anyone could.
Atlanta (143) squandered a 20point lead in the fourth quarter, falling behind for the first time all day when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 2yard run with 31 seconds left and www.bengalsofficialnfl.com Ryan Longwell knocked through the extra point for a 2827 lead.
No team has ever won a playoff game when facing such a daunting deficit in the final period.
The Falcons, thanks to a pair of Matty Ices Ryan and Bryant didn become the first.
Ryan, shaking off his struggles in three previous playoff losses and two interceptions against the Seahawks, hooked up with Harry Douglas on a 29yard pass in front of the Falcons bench, and Smith quickly signaled a timeout. Then, Ryan went down the middle to his favorite target Gonzalez, a Hall of Famertobe playing what could've been his final game.
Gonzalez hauled in the 19yard throw, and Smith called his final timeout with 13 seconds remaining. Instead of risking another play and having the clock run out, he sent Bryant in for the field goal try.
The Seahawks called time just before the ball was snapped, and Bryant kick sailed right of the upright. That turned out to be nothing more than practice. The next one was right down www.bengalsofficialnfl.com/Authentic-Andy-Dalton-Jersey the middle as Bryant took off in the other direction, pumping his fist before he was mobbed by his teammates.
quarterback is a special player, Smith said. call him Matty Ice, but I feel like we've got two Matty Ices. There Matty Ice Ryan and Matty Ice Bryant. The Falcons overcame their reputation for choking in the playoffs, winning their first postseason game since the 2004 season. They'll host San Francisco in the NFC championship game next Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
flinched, Ryan said. just kept battling, kept doing what we do. That been the makeup of our team all season. Bryant knocked through his third gamewinning kick of the season. But he'd never made one like this, with so much on the line.
they scored their touchdown, I walked down (the sideline), he said. told the offensive line, I told Matt (Ryan), I told all the receivers, done this before.' Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, doing all he could to pull off the most improbable of comebacks for the Seahawks (126). But the Seattle defense, which is one of the NFL best and had totally stymied the Falcons in the fourth quarter, went to a softer coverage and got burned.
Atlanta had just enough time to pull off a comeback of its own.
had high, high hopes for the rest of the season, Wilson said. the game was over, I was very disappointed. But walking back into the tunnel, I got so excited about next year. The resilience we showed was unbelievable. Wilson finished with 385 yards passing as the Seahawks wiped out a 277 deficit entering the final quarter. When Lynch powered over, the ball breaking the goal line just before it squirted from his arms, Seattle celebrated like it had won its second straight playoff game on the road, having already taken care of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
According to STATS, it would've been the greatest fourthquarter comeback in NFL playoff history.
Ryan led the Falcons back, wiping out his 03 mark in the playoffs, including a crushing loss to Green Bay two years ago when the Falcons were in the same position, the NFC topseeded team with homefield advantage in the playoffs.
one thing I've learned during my five years in the league, and specifically in the postseason, is that it hard, Ryan said.
Now, he'll no longer be asked why he can win in the playoffs.
going to be nice, Ryan conceded. our goal is not to win one playoff game. Our goals are still in front of us. We still have two more games to go. That the mindset I have. That the mindset this team has.
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