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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 24 September 2020

Seahawks can't live with high-flying Falcons

Matt Ryan showed why he is the NFL MVP favourite in an almost flawless performance.

Atlanta Falcons' Ben Garland (63) falls onto Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Atlanta Falcons' Ben Garland (63) falls onto Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Image: John Bazemore

MATT RYAN LED an explosive Atlanta offense by throwing for three touchdowns as the Falcons outgunned the Seattle Seahawks 36-20 to punch their ticket to the NFC Championship game.

Ryan has now won both his playoff games against the Seahawks but is winless in four postseason starts against other NFL teams.

He completed 25 of 36 passes for 334 yards and went without an interception for the fifth straight game while engineering drives that produced points on five of the team’s first six possessions at the Georgia Dome stadium.

The Falcons, who had lost 26-24 at Seattle in the regular season, will play either Dallas or Green Bay on January 22 for a berth in the Super Bowl.

Saturday’s win earned the Falcons their fourth NFC Championship game in franchise history and equaled a second round win over Seattle in 2012 that served as Ryan’s only previous postseason win.

Julio Jones caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown before sitting out most of the fourth quarter after re-injuring his foot.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 17 of 30 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

Seattle was unable to run the ball against the Falcons as Thomas Rawls rushed for just 34 yards after gaining 161 against Detroit a week earlier.

Atlanta went 75 yards in 13 plays to start the third quarter, with Devonta Freeman scoring from a yard out.

Seattle’s Steven Hauschka booted a 26-yard field goal later in the third, but Matt Bryant pushed the lead back to 16 points when he connected from 31 yards to start the fourth quarter.

Ryan’s three-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu clinched the victory with less than four minutes remaining.

Wilson was intercepted by Deion Jones and the Falcons took a knee at the one-yard line to run out the clock and end the contest.

(C) AFP 2017

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