Sports

Falcons face Rams in NFC Wild Card game

Falcons face Rams in NFC Wild Card game

But what makes them even more unsafe now is the way the defense has played. Todd Gurley II, who led the N.F.L.in yards from scrimmage, averaged 7.2 yards a carry on his way to 101 rushing yards, and receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp had their share of highlight-reel plays. But things shifted for the Falcons in the third quarter, when they finally got a consistent ground game going. But here's the catch: The Eagles are without quarterback Carson Wentz, the guy most considered the MVP front-runner before he went down with a season-ending ACL injury.

The ghosts of the Super Bowl collapse could hardly be exorcised by one playoff win, but the perseverance the Falcons showed in Los Angeles should give them something to build on. 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.

The touchdown reception was the seventh for Jones in eight postseason games. 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. They finished 2017 ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and yards allowed. After a 3-yard completion on first down and an incomplete pass on second, Goff hit Tyler Higbee in the end zone, but he was blanketed and didn't actually catch it.

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Even more impressive is the fact that three of those field goals are from 56, 51 and 54 yards out. The touchdown was overturned on review.

While the Falcons eventually pulled away, Ryan was harassed for much of the game by the Rams defensive front.

The speed on defense and sure, sound tackling made all the difference. Leading the charge was Aaron Donald. Most of Atlanta's damage came from its running game, which ground down the clock once the lead was built. The Eagles lost in Atlanta to the Falcons 14-13 in the Wild Card Round way back in 1978, which was Dick Vermeil's first playoff game as a head coach. They dominated time of possession and softened up the Rams defense.


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