For years, Matt Ryan has had that nagging 1-4 record in the playoffs and a lot of critics saying that he isn’t an elite quarterback because of it.
He silenced those critics with a masterful performance against a solid Seahawks secondary. Ryan threw for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns while committing no turnovers. For just the fourth time in their 51 year history, the Falcons are headed to the NFC championship with the man they call “Matty Ice” at the helm.
The Seahawks started the game with a long 9 minute possession that culminated in a Jimmy Graham touchdown. The Falcons got the ball back and they proceeded to go on a long drive of their own. They spent the rest of the first quarter and a small portion of the second quarter driving into Seattle territory, and they were able to punch it in with a 7 yard connection between Ryan and Julio Jones.
Steven Hauschka was able to make a 33-yard field goal, but the Seahawks wouldn’t be able to score until the second half. The Falcons went on a tear after that field goal, but the Seahawks gave them a few gifts on the way. Devin Hester had returned a punt all the way to the Falcons’ 7 yard line, only to have it called back by a holding penalty. After a 5 yard loss by Thomas Rawls, Wilson took the snap from center and proceeded to get stepped on by his right guard. Wilson fell backwards into the end zone, resulting in a safety. That made it 10-9, and then with a short field to work with after the punt by Jon Ryan, Matt Bryant converted a 35 yard field goal to make the score 12-10 in favor of the Falcons.
They weren’t done yet. After being pinned on their own 1 yard line, Ryan orchestrated a 99 yard drive in 2 minutes and 55 seconds capped with a 14 yard touchdown run by Tevin Coleman to make it 19-10 going into halftime.
The Falcons received the kickoff and took it 75 yards in 13 plays, ending with a 1 yard Devonta Freeman touchdown run to make it 26-10. The Seahawks responded with a field goal by Hauschka to make it 26-13, but that was as close as they would get. Bryant ended up hitting another field goal to start the fourth quarter. After trading punts, Wilson tossed an interception, giving the Falcons good field position. They scored again on a 3 yard catch from Mohamed Sanu to make it 36-13.
Hester made another impact by returning a kick 78 yards. Then, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on the next play for a touchdown, making the score 36-20. That was how the game ended, as Dan Quinn beat his former team.
Next up: The Falcons will face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship, while Seattle heads to the offseason.