The Atlanta Falcons held off a late rally from the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC Divisional Round, 30-28.
The Falcons jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead thanks to a strong running game from Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers, and an efficient game from Matt Ryan. Ryan found Tony Gonzalez in the end zone for Atlanta's first score in the first quarter, and a 47-yard pass to Roddy White late in the second quarter buried the Seahawks early.
Seattle didn't go down without a fight, however. Russell Wilson rallied the troops and hooked up with Golden Tate in the third quarter to get the Seahawks on the board. Atlanta scored again on a 5-yard shovel pass to Jason Snelling to go up, 27-7, with 2:11 left in the third quarter.
After that it was all Seattle. who went on to score 21 unanswered points. Wilson ran one in on a 1-yard bootleg, and found Zach Miller wide open on an easy fade route to close the deficit to 27-21. The defense stepped up and forced Atlanta's first two punts of the game, getting the ball back with 3:00 left in the 4th quarter.
Wilson drove the offense all the way down to the one-yard line, and Marshawn Lynch punched it in to give the team their first lead of the game. They led, 28-27, with 31 seconds to go.
Unfortunately, that was too much time for Ryan and company. Quick passes to Harry Douglas and Gonzalez brought the Falcons to Seattle's 31-yard line, setting up Matt Bryant for a 49-yard field goal. He made the kick, putting Atlanta up, 30-28, with 13 seconds left. A Seahawks Hail Mary attempt failed.
Ryan and Gonzalez finally got the first playoff win of their careers.
Box Score Hero: Turner burned the Seattle run defense, racking up 98 yards on 14 carries. White matched up well against Richard Sherman, hauling in five catches for 76 yards and one touchdown.
Wilson deserves special credit for bringing the Seahawks all the way back into the game. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (on the Hail Mary).
Did They Cover? Nope. The Falcons were three-point favorites.
What's Next: Atlanta will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.