Thirty-one seconds and 100 yards from their fourth playoff loss in their last four postseason games, the Atlanta Falcons shocked both the world and the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome to advance to the NFC title game.
Two Matt Ryan passes - the first a 22-yarder to Harry Douglas, the second a 19-yarder to Tony Gonzalez - put kicker Matt Bryant in a position to kick the game-winner from 49 yards away. After one Seattle timeout, that's just what he did to hand the Falcons a 30-28 victory.
They now host San Francisco on Sunday, the winner headed to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Two Ryan touchdown passes and two Bryant field goals combined to give the Falcons a 20-0 halftime lead over Seattle.
Ryan's 1-yard scoring toss to Tony Gonzalez and Bryant's 39-yard field goal in the first put Atlanta up 10-0 after one quarter.
His 47-yard strike to Roddy White and a 37-yard field goal by Bryant in the second period moved the lead to 20-0.
Atlanta has lost its three previous playoff games under fifth-year coach Mike Smith and Ryan.
When Ryan's third TD pass moved the lead to 27-7 late in the third, it appeared the Falcons had won.
But Seattle scored three times in the fourth, finally taking the lead on a Marshawn Lynch 1-yard run with 31 seconds to go.
But Atlanta wouldn't surrender.Atlanta reached the Super Bowl during the 1998 season, but has yet to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...