Matt Bryant’s field goal lifts Falcons over Seahawks, into NFC title game
Atlanta, GA, United States (4E Sports) – Matt Bryant delivered a 49-yard field goal in the dying seconds to carry the Atlanta Falcons to a 30-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and book a spot in the NFC championship game Sunday at Georgia Dome.
Bryant’s heroic came after the Falcons squandered a 20-point fourth quarter lead when the Seahawks scored three consecutive touchdowns to take the lead with 31 seconds remaining.
Quarterback Matt Ryan led a three-play, 41-yard drive that led to Bryant’s game-winning kick. He connected with Harry Douglas for a 22-yard gain and Tony Gonzalez had a 19-yard catch to set up field-goal position.
It was the Falcons first playoff victory under coach Mike Smith. They will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title showdown Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Ryan completed 24 of 35 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns but threw two interceptions while Bryant hit three field goals for the Falcons, who made it to the NFC championship game for only the third time in team history.
Ryan hit touchdown passes to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Snelling. White tallied 76 yards on five catches while Gonzalez had six catches for 56 yards.
Running back Michael Turner rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries and Jacquizz Rodgers added 64 yards on 10 rushes for the Falcons.
Russell Wilson hit 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns for the Seahawks, who became the sixth team in the Super Bowl era to score 21 fourth-quarter points in a playoff loss.
Wilson also rushed for 60 yards on seven carries and a score while Marshawn Lynch added 46 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown for Seattle.
Tight end Zach Miller tallied 142 yards on eight catches and a touchdown and wide receiver Golden Tate added 103 yards on six receptions for the Seahawks.
Ryan hit two touchdown passes and Bryant buried two field goals in the first half to stake the Falcons to a 20-0 lead at the break.
In the third, Wilson finally found his range, hitting Tate for a 29-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 20-7.
However, Ryan hit Snelling with a five-yard touchdown throw for a 27-7 lead going into the fourth period.
In the fourth, Wilson sparked the Seahawks’ 21-point outburst with a five-yard touchdown run and added a scoring pass to Miller. Lynch then capped the comeback with a two-yard run before Bryant delivered the game-winning kick.