Falcons, Ryan Withstand Seattle Comeback, Finally Win Playoff Game
Matt Bryant kicked a 49-yard field goal with 8 seconds left, less than 30 seconds after Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks came back from a 20-point deficit to take a 28-27 lead, to give the Atlanta Falcons a 30-28 victory over the Seahawks in an NFC divisional playoff game on Sunday in Atlanta.
Atlanta will host San Francisco next weekend in the NFC championship game.
The Falcons (14-3) appeared ready to allow the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL playoff history when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 2-yard run with 31 seconds left, but Ryan, who has been criticized for not living up to the moment in big games, "completed two long passes after the kickoff, setting up Bryant's winning kick and sending the Falcons to the NFC championship game for only the third time in franchise history."
This was Ryan's first playoff win and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez's first playoff win in his storied 16-year NFL career.
"I've never cried after a win," Gonzalez said, who said he was thinking "here it goes again."
After Seattle scored in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Gonzalez said he thought "this is it" and that he would -- as unfair as it is -- end is career without ever having won a playoff game.
"I'm so glad we don't have to worry about that now," Gonzalez said.
The Falcons led the game at halftime 20-0 before Seattle mounted another one of their patented fourth quarter comebacks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.