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Falcons 26, Rams 13: Philadelphia, here we come

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The Falcons defense and special teams saved the day. Yes, really.

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Falcons are back in the playoffs for the second straight year, but have to play on the road against the league’s best offense in the LA Rams. Here’s how the game played out.

First Quarter

The Falcons win the coin toss and elect to defer. The top scoring Rams offense starts with the ball. However, the high-powered offense was stymied early, with the Falcons defense forcing a 3 and out.

The punt to Andre Roberts bounces behind him to the 6 yard line (of course). The Falcons offense failed to do much either, going three and out as well. Wooo punters.

The Rams offense would get the ball at midfield after the punt. A promising run by Todd Gurley ultimately amounted to nothing, as Takk McKinley got his first career playoff sack on third down to force another three and out.

The Falcons would be pinned deep in their own territory again and after a wild series of events, the ensuing punt is muffed by the Rams with the Falcons recovering deep in Rams territory. Matt Ryan and company take over at the Rams 17. The offense was quickly shut down, however, and the Falcons have to settle for a field goal from Matt Bryant.

Falcons 3 - Rams 0

Rams get the ball past their 30 after yet another special teams penalty on the kickoff. However, the Falcons defense came to play, shutting the drive down quickly. Rams punt.

The Falcons get the ball back again - deep in their territory, of course. This drive featured several key plays, with the Falcons driving into Rams territory. However, a drop on third down by Devonta Freeman would kill the drive. Matt Bryan came on for the 51 yard field goal and punches it through like a damned machine.

Falcons 6 - Rams 0

The Rams would fumble on the kickoff, giving the Falcons the ball deep in their territory yet again. After two straight runs, the first quarter finally comes to an end.

Second Quarter

The offensive drive would be one of the best of the night for the Falcons, converting multiple third downs on the way. The drive would end with a Devonta Freeman three yard touchdown run (with a sizable assist from Alex Mack).

Falcons 13 - Rams 0

The Rams offense needed to get back into the game desperately. The Rams began putting a drive together and did fairly well, until Devondre Campbell blew up Jared Goff on third down to force another punt.

The Falcons - yet again - were pinned deep in their own territory. The drive would end after only one first down conversion when Michael Brockers sacked Matt Ryan.

A nice punt by Bosher would put the Rams around their 20. Todd Gurley would eventually break free for a big run, extended by fifteen yards by a Ricardo Allen late hit penalty. That sequence of plays put the Rams in field goal position. After a few more conversions, Brian Poole is beat by Cooper Kupp for a Rams touchdown.

Falcons 13 - Rams 7

A horrid return by Andre Roberts would pin the Falcons deep in their own territory ... again. The Falcons looked to be putting a drive together, until the horrid field caused a sack of Matt Ryan which effectively killed the drive. Falcons punt.

The Rams get the ball back with no timeouts and 1:15 left on the clock. The Rams begin putting a drive together, helped by defensive pass interference by Blidi Wreh-Wilson. A crazy series of events put the Rams in 2nd and goal with 14 seconds left, after a penalty on the defense that wasn’t a penalty because of a catch that was not a catch. It would all ultimately end in a Rams field goal attempt that would be good.

Falcons 13 - Rams 10

Third Quarter

The Falcons start the second half with the ball, with Andre Roberts gifting the offense with the ball at the 15 (UGH). Thankfully, an explosive Devonta Freeman run got them closer to midfield. Tevin Coleman also converted a huge screen pass on third down to extend the drive. Leaning heavily on the running game, the drive continued pounding on the Rams defense. Unfortunately, it would stall out, leading to a chip shot field goal by Matt Bryant.

Falcons 16 - Rams 10

The Rams potent offense took to the field again, but after a nice catch by Robert Woods, the drive stalled out. Punt.

After a fair catch at the 19, the Falcons offense took to the field again. The drive went well with a mix of quick passes and runs, but stalls out yet again. Matt Bryant came on for a 54-yard field goal attempt that he amazingly punches through. Wow.

Falcons 19 - Rams 10

Fourth Quarter

The Rams offense took to the field yet again. On the back of two big Todd Gurley runs, the Rams offense put itself in position to score. The Falcons defense buckles down on the back of a big De’Vondre Campbell sack of Goff and force a field goal.

Falcons 19 - Rams 13

The Falcons offense would take to the field again with just under 11 minutes remaining. Some key plays by Ryan and Sanu kept the drive alive long enough to end in a Julio Jones touchdown.

Falcons 26 - Rams 13

With under 6 minutes remaining, the Rams offense came onto the field with a sense of urgency. The Falcons defense went into zone to prevent a big play but allowed the Rams to drive the field, burning the block down along the way, but the defense came up BIG yet again, stopping the Rams on fourth and goal and giving the Falcons offense the ball right before the 2 minute warning.

The Falcons offense played conservatively, forcing the Rams to burn two of their three timeouts before the Falcons punt the ball. The Rams offense would do nothing more, allowing the Falcons to take the victory formation to close the game out.

Final: Falcons 26 - Rams 13