Despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC and boasting the best record in football, there was intense doubt as to whether or not the Atlanta Falcons could sustain their regular season momentum and turn it into a playoff win. It was more than just a footnote fact that the Falcons had yet to win a playoff game under Mike Smith and Matt Ryan.
With under 0:35 left in the game, it appeared that unbearable streak continues as the Seattle Seahawks were in line to tie the 1957 Detroit Lions for the 3rd biggest comeback in NFL postseason history.
The Seattle Seahawks epitomized what many NFL fans lean on as momentous, as they came into the NFC playoffs red hot and looking to do some serious damage. They came from behind to beat the Redskins last week, and after falling behind 20-0 in the first half, they showed exactly why they’re the dangerous team everyone has been saying they are.
Matt Ryan played a near flawless first half, as did most of the Falcons team. But when it came to sustaining that lead, Matty Ice wasn’t up to the task and the Falcons allowed the Seahawks to outscore them 21-7 leading into the 2 minute warning of the fourth quarter.
Russell Wilson, who was mediocre in the first half, was brilliant in the third and fourth quarters. Poor decisions plagued the Seahawks in the first two quarters of the game, but those decisions were left there when Seattle took off. Wilson set a new Seahawks postseason franchise record with 379 yards passing, and was the leader of what ended up almost being the game winning drive of the game.
But Matt Ryan and the Falcons said enough was enough when it came to the history of postseason losing in Atlanta. With under 0:30 left in the game and trailing by one point, Ryan lead the Falcons down the field to set up a game winning field goal that finally gave the Falcons their first postseason win un four years under Ryan and head coach Mike Smith.
The celebrating must be short lived for the Falcons, as while they finally bucked a huge monkey off their back, they still have a rough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers ahead of them.
While the Seahawks almost pulled off the improbable, they shouldn’t hang their heads too low. Russell Wilson proved that he’s an elite quarterback in the making and Seattle isn’t going to fall very far from this loss.
But this is all about the Falcons finally getting the playoff monkey off their back. The work isn’t done yet, but we’ve never seen a Matt Ryan Falcons team win a playoff game, so who knows what this will do to their momentum.