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ATLANTA, Georgia: Matt Bryant kicked a 49-yard field goal with eight seconds left as the Atlanta Falcons thwarted a fourth-quarter surge by Seattle for a 30-28 second-round NFL playoff victory yesterday.
The Falcons blew a 20-point second-half lead but managed to hold off upstart Seattle and advance to the National Conference championship game.
“We knew coming into it, it was going to be tough. That’s a very good defense” Ryan said of Seattle.
“Luckily we made enough plays to come out with the win.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan tossed three touchdown passes en route to his first playoff victory for the Falcons, who had lost their last four playoff contests.
Running back Michael Turner carried the ball 14 times for 98 yards and fifth-year Falcons quarterback Ryan completed 24-of-35 passes for 250 yards.
Atlanta, who are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host the San Francisco 49ers in the first of two games next Sunday with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
The 49ers advanced Saturday with a win over Green Bay.
In the late game yesterday, the New England Patriots advanced to the American Conference championship game with a 41-28 victory over Houston.
The Patriots will next face the Baltimore Ravens who edged Denver 38-35 in double overtime.
The conference champions will meet in the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3.
Yesterday’s win could prove to be costly for the Patriots who fear they may be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the playoffs after he left the game in the first quarter with an arm injury.
Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson looked poised to continue his Cinderella run Sunday but his sensational season ended with Bryant’s field goal.AFP