National Football League playoffs | Falcons, Seahawks have changed since first meeting

"We were caught up in the moment", said wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

Quarterback Matt Ryan again proved himself the leading contender to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player award as he guided the Atlanta Falcons to a 36-20 victory over the visiting Seattle Seahawks in their NFC divisional playoff clash. The Seahawks went from the Atlanta seven to their own seven, and two plays later Russell Wilson tripped into the end zone for a safety. The Falcons not only shredded the Seahawks secondary, but frankly played better ball on the defense than did Seattle in this game. Tom Brady, one of the greatest postseason quarterbacks ever, gets to play at home after a week of rest that followed an impressive regular season.

The chippiness began to emerge as Saturday's game at Atlanta began to get away from them in the third quarter. Football fans without a horse in the race didn't have much to enjoy in the other three games, none of which were decided by less than 13 points. And that means they must have a good day running the ball against the Falcons. "For me, it's about, 'How do we get the win (this) week?' Putting any more pressure on yourself other than that is a waste of time".

Hard to blame them.

Seattle, which used a resurgent running game to beat Detroit in the wild card game was held to 101 yards rushing.

Wilson only threw for 179 yards, but did so on only 23 passing attempts. Jones was in and out of the game with what the Falcons said is a foot injury before heading to the locker room for good during the fourth quarter. We're just doing what we do, continue to stay loose and just have fun around here. While the Seahawks' offense ranked 17th in both season-long (-2.7 percent) and weighted (-2.1 percent) DVOA, the Falcons' defense rises from 27th (8.1 percent) to 22nd (5.6 percent) when recent games are more heavily weighted.

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Seattle chewed 8:34 off the clock with an 89-yard scoring drive to open the game. Don't hesitate to jump in on the live updates and chat with us as the game rolls along.

Matt Ryan: Without the superior play of Ryan this season, the Falcons would not be sitting in the number two seed in the conference getting to play Seattle in the Georgia Dome instead of having to travel to the thunderous CenturyLink Field in January.

It's no surprise that most of these teams lasted this far. With 10 minutes left in the first half and the Seahawks enjoying a 10-7 lead, Devin Hester returned a punt 80 yards to the Atlanta seven-yard line, but Kevin Pierre-Louis was flagged for holding at the line of scrimmage. That's when Bennett had his first stint with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie and Quinn was Seattle's defensive line coach.

A 30-28 loss to the Falcons in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs stung and lingered.

Because of that, the Falcons were able to move and take a 12-10 lead. I just don't see Brock Osweiler being added to that list. Seattle had no true answer, as allowing 36 points seemed to be inevitable before Atlanta made a decision to run out the clock while in the red zone once again. We took full advantage of it.

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