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         === Late field goal leads Atlanta to NFC Championship game ===
 
 Atlanta,  GA (Sports Network)  - It took a 49-yard field goal from Matt Bryant
 with  less than 10 seconds remaining, but Matt Ryan finally got the proverbial
 playoff monkey off his back.
 
 The  fifth-year  Falcons quarterback threw  for 250 yards and three touchdowns
 en  route  to his first  playoff victory, as  Atlanta fought off a second-half
 surge  from  the Seattle  Seahawks to  earn a  30-28 win  in an NFC Divisional
 Playoff at the Georgia Dome.
 
 Ryan,  who had  dropped his first three playoff appearances, finished 24-of-35
 with two interceptions, while Michael Turner rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries
 for the Falcons, who had lost their last four postseason games.
 
 "We knew coming into it, it was going to be tough. That's a very good defense"
 Ryan  admitted of Seattle.  "Luckily we made enough plays to come out with the
 win."
 
 Atlanta will host an NFC Championship game for the first time next Sunday when
 the  Falcons welcome  the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers to the Georgia
 Dome.
 
 Russell  Wilson finished  24-of-36 for a postseason team record 385 yards with
 two touchdown passes and one interception, but the rookie's sensational season
 ended on a sour note, as the Seahawks saw their six-game win streak come to an
 end.
 
 "When  the  game was  over I  was very  disappointed," Wilson admitted. "Right
 before  I got back  to the tunnel, walking off the field, I got so excited for
 the next opportunity next year, looking forward to what we have in the future.
 We have a great football team."
 
 Wilson  also rushed for  60 yards and a score on seven carries, while Marshawn
 Lynch  added 46 yards  and a touchdown on 16 rushes for the Seahawks, who have
 lost their last four NFC Divisional Playoff games.
 
 Atlanta's  defense held  Seattle scoreless in the first half while the offense
 built a comfortable 20-0 advantage behind a pair of touchdown passes from Ryan
 and two Bryant field goals.
 
 "I  can't imagine anybody  expected that we were going to have a chance to get
 back in the game, except for the guys in that locker room," Seattle coach Pete
 Carroll said of his team trailing by 20 at halftime. "They knew that we'd have
 a chance to get back in that game. They felt it the whole time."
 
 Wilson  then led the Seahawks on a second-half resurgence, with the first-year
 signal-caller  leading  his team  on a  trio of scoring  drives on their first
 three  touches of the second half to bring the visitors within 27-21 with 9:13
 left in the game.
 
 Seattle's  next touch  ended in  a punt,  but after  a quick  series from  the
 Falcons  ended  in a punt, Seattle took over at  its own 39 with three minutes
 remaining.
 
 After  Lynch  picked up a  first down near midfield  with a short 7-yard grab,
 Wilson  fired  a strike to  Golden Tate  for 19 yards  down to the Atlanta 32.
 Facing  3rd-and-5  three plays later,  Wilson used  his athleticism to avoid a
 rusher before dumping off a short pass to Lynch, who rumbled 24 yards down the
 left sideline to the Atlanta 3.
 
 Following  a  12 men  on the  field penalty against  the Falcons, Lynch surged
 through  the line  and into the end zone  for a 2-yard score to put Seattle in
 front, 28-27, with 31 ticks on the clock.
 
 Ryan,  though,  would not  let  the  rookie steal  the  show,  as the  veteran
 quarterback  calmly rifled  a pass  to  Harry Douglas  for a  22-yard gain  to
 midfield.
 
 Following  a timeout, Ryan  went to Tony Gonzalez over the middle for 19 yards
 to  the  Atlanta 31.  After both teams  used a timeout,  Bryant stepped up and
 buried the go-ahead field goal to give Atlanta the decisive advantage.
 
 "What  a way  to do it though,"  Gonzalez said of his first playoff victory in
 his  16th NFL season.  "It seems like it could not have happened any other way
 if it was going to get done. I'm so happy we were able to pull it out."
 
 After  Atlanta squibbed  the  ensuing  kickoff, the  Seahawks  took over  near
 midfield with eight seconds left, but the comeback bid fell short, as Wilson's
 Hail Mary heave landed in the arms of Julio Jones to seal the outcome.
 
 The  Wisconsin product  started Seattle's second-half surge with a 9-play, 80-
 yard  scoring  drive that he  capped with a 29-yard  scoring strike to Tate to
 bring Seattle within 20-7 just over five minutes into the third.
 
 Ryan  responded with a  scoring drive of his own, as he capped a 14-play march
 with  a  5-yard shovel  pass to  Jason Snelling  to restore Atlanta's 20-point
 edge.
 
 Wilson  and  the Seahawks kept  rolling on their  next touch. He completed all
 four  passes on the  8-play drive, which he capped early in the fourth quarter
 with  a 1-yard  scramble around the left  end to trim the margin to 27-14 just
 under two minutes into the final frame.
 
 Seattle  intercepted  Ryan on  Atlanta's ensuing touch,  as safety Earl Thomas
 picked off a pass intended for Roddy White at the Seattle 39.
 
 Wilson  quickly took  advantage of the turnover thanks to a 30-yard catch-and-
 run  from Ryan Turbin  down to the Atlanta 3. On the next play, Wilson faked a
 handoff  and found a  wide-open Zach Miller in the back left corner of the end
 zone for a 3-yard score to bring Seattle within 27-21 with 9:13 left.
 
 Early  on,  Bryant connected on  a 39-yard field goal  to start the scoring on
 Atlanta's first touch of the game.
 
 After a three-and-out from Seattle, Ryan was intercepted by Seattle linebacker
 Bobby Wagner, but the Seahawks gave the ball right back, as Lynch was stripped
 three plays later to give Atlanta possession at its own 39.
 
 Ryan kept Atlanta's ensuing touch alive with a 16-yard strike to White on 3rd-
 and-14 down to the Seattle 17. Two plays later, Ryan faked a handoff and found
 Gonzalez  in the back  of the end zone for a 1-yard score to make it 10-0 with
 3:10 left in the first.
 
 Following  a Seattle  punt, Jacquizz Rodgers surged up the middle on the first
 play  of Atlanta's  ensuing touch and plowed  through Thomas en route to a 45-
 yard rush down to the Seattle 42.
 
 Ryan  scrambled for six yards down to the Seattle 11 later in the drive, but a
 false  start  penalty on 3rd-and-2  handcuffed the  drive and the Falcons were
 forced to settle for Bryant's 37-yard field goal to take a 13-0 advantage with
 9:13 to play until halftime.
 
 Wilson  opened  Seattle's ensuing touch  with back-to-back completions down to
 the Atlanta 20 before finding Lynch for six yards down to the Atlanta 11.
 
 Turbin  was  then stacked  up at  the line for  no gain  on 3rd-and-1, but the
 Seahawks  elected to  go for  it  on 4th-and-1.  The plan  would backfire,  as
 fullback  Michael Robinson was  stuffed for a 1-yard loss to turn ball over on
 downs with 5:38 left in the half.
 
 "You  can  look at it anyway  you want, but we  had a chance," Carroll said of
 going  for it on  fourth down. "You have to make the six inches or whatever it
 was."
 
 Turner  rumbled  ahead for  33 yards  on the second  play of Atlanta's ensuing
 touch  and  two plays later,  Ryan heaved  a pass deep  down the middle of the
 field for White, who hauled in the 47-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0 with
 4:16 left in the half.
 
 Seattle appeared poised to put points on the board late in the half, as Wilson
 converted a 3rd-and-1 with a 4-yard toss to Tate down to the Atlanta 6 with 25
 ticks remaining.
 
 The  Seahawks would come away empty, however, after Wilson was sacked for a 9-
 yard loss on 3rd-and-11. With no timeouts remaining, Seattle tried to scramble
 for  a  last second  play, but  Wilson couldn't  get the  snap off before time
 expired and the Seahawks went into the locker room trailing, 20-0.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Sunday's  matchup was  the first  playoff meeting  between the  two teams  ...
 Seattle  hasn't  reached the conference  championship since going to the Super
 Bowl  in  2005 ...  White is now  tied with Terrance  Mathis for the franchise
 postseason career record  for touchdown catches with three ... Miller finished
 with eight  catches for  142 yards and a score, while Tate totaled six catches
 for  103 yards  and a touchdown ... Seattle  racked up  491 yards  of offense,
 while Atlanta managed 417 total yards.
 
 
 
 01/13 18:30:52 ET