The Falcons traveled to the west coast to face the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. This was the 78th all-time meeting and the second time these two teams have met in the playoffs. The Rams and Falcons met in the Divisional round of the playoffs in 2005, where Atlanta came away with a 42-14 victory in the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons traveled to LA last season to take on the Rams during the regular season and came away with a 42-14 win.
Last week, the Falcons earned their second straight playoff berth – 14th in franchise history – with a 22-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. This is also the first time since 2011-12 that the team has recorded back-to-back 10+ win seasons (third time in franchise history posting back-to-back 10+ win seasons).
I mentioned just a week ago that if the Falcons made the post-season, they would need to play mistake-free football. Well, they passed their first test against the Rams and did just that.
Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan completed 21 of 30 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. Avoiding interceptions and coming through when it counted played a big part of their win.
The other side of the coin deal with Atlanta’s rushing game. It’s almost like the coaching staff read my write-up last week after that Panthers match. They made too many mistakes and their run-game was nonexistent. Tonight, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 35 rushing attempts for a total gain of 106 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Julio Jones had yet another fantastic outing catching 9 passes for a gain of 94 yards and a touchdown. Right behind him was Mohamed Sanu with 4 catches and 75 yards to close out the game.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Atlanta. It just wouldn’t be right for the Falcons without a bit of controversy. The Rams were denied both a touchdown and a pass-interference call that would’ve eventually led to a touchdown. If you turn both of those calls in the Rams’ favor tacked on with some successful extra PATs, the Rams would’ve won by a single point.
But that’s all hindsight now. The Falcons handled their business away and now move on to test #2 with their high-flying offense against Philadelphia in Philadelphia. “Offensively, we’re going against a great defense tonight,” said quarterback Matt Ryan. “We ran the football, our guys played up front so hard, and then in the second half, we started to get it going a little bit. So, I’m just proud of it.”
Photo: Hakim Wright