On Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams. What did we learn from this postseason showdown?
About a year ago, the Atlanta Falcons were on the wrong end of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. This season, they are the only NFC team from the 2016 playoff field coming back to the playoffs.
Dan Quinn’s club made their way west this week and faced the division champion Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday evening. Led by head coach Sean McVay and a very-improved offensive unit, the franchise was making its first postseason appearance since 2004 when the club was still in St. Louis.
So would there be fireworks at the Los Angeles Coliseum this night? Both clubs appeared to be nervous early on and the Los Angeles’ problematic special teams set up the Falcons for a couple of scores. But the Rams only trailed 13-10 at the half. However, it was pretty much all Atlanta after intermission as the Falcons came away with a 26-13 victory.
1. QB Matt Ryan
The veteran signal-caller was very effective, hitting on 70 percent of his passes (21-of-30) for 218 yards and one score as the Falcons came away with a road playoff win.
2. WR Julio Jones
The talented wideout was targeted 10 times by quarterback Matt Ryan. He responded with nine catches for 94 yards and one touchdown as the defending NFC champions doubled up the host Rams, 26-13.
3. PK Matt Bryant
Last week, he booted five field goals and helped the Falcons reached the playoffs. On Saturday night in Los Angeles, Bryant connected on a pair of PATs and field goals of 29, 51, 25 and 54 yards, respectively, as Atlanta moved on to a date with the Eagles.
Despite the fact the Rams were playing their first playoff game in 13 years, McVay’s club was a six-point favorite headed into Saturday’s action. Meanwhile, the over/under was a solid 48.5 and fell well short of the number.
The sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons head to the City of Brotherly Love to face the NFC’s top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoffs next Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are headed home following their first postseason appearance since 2004.