Falcons Hang On Against the Rams for a Tough Playoff Win

Todd Gurley named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for second time

This year may not have been the year for the Rams to win a second championship, but they are not going anywhere and will be an NFC contender for the foreseeable future.

But the Falcons, who had preceded the Rams as the league's top-scoring team, had more to offer on both sides of the ball, and they will move on to face the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.

Gurley's had an MVP-caliber season.

The Falcons are back for their first postseaon game since that memorable Super Bowl loss. So the Falcons' best chance of success against the Rams was to take him out of the game as much as possible and force Jared Goff to make throws to win it. Ryan, pressured by Connor Barwin, slipped on the play-action play yet still had the presence to loft a flawless pass to Jones' back shoulder for the most important touchdown of the game. Goff finished 24 of 45 for 259 yards and a touchdown but it was not enough to beat a Falcons defense loaded up to stop the run.

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Gurley was productive on the ground, with 101 yards. Only six Rams players have ever been in postseason games. He had only four catches for 10 yards on Saturday night.

The Falcons know they can outscore anyone despite seeing more than a 10-point drop-off in their scoring average from a year ago. The Rams had a first-and-goal from the Falcons' 8-yard line. Earlier, he hit Tevin Coleman for 14 yards on a screen pass on third-and-9. The touchdown was overturned on review.

Ryan and the offense continued to miss on some red zone opportunities, although they converted the one that counted most with the touchdown to Jones. Deion Jones knocked down Goff's pass that was intended for Sammy Watkins, pretty much locking it up for the Falcons.

Aaron Donald came after Matt Ryan relentlessly, as he does. The Falcons got the kickoff to open the second half and, behind Matt Ryan, used half of the third quarter on a 16-play, 76-yard drive capped by Bryant's 25-yarder. They dominated time of possession and softened up the Rams defense.


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