Sunday, January 13, 2013

NFL Playoffs - Patriots Roll, Falcons Hang On For Victory

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots made it look easy once again in beating the visiting Houston Texans on Sunday in a 41-28 victory in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons almost did it again (losing in their first playoff game that is) as they squandered a 20-point lead but then rallied late to hold on and beat the visiting Seattle Seahawks, 30-28 in the NFC Divisonal Playoffs.

Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant nails the game winner.
ATLANTA 30, SEATTLE 28 - Falcons kicker Matt Bryant nailed home the victory for the Falcons with a 49-yard field goal in the closing seconds to propel his team to the NFC Championship Game next weekend against the San Francisco 49ers.
The fact the game came down to that was amazing in that Seahawks' rookie quarterback Russell Wilson brought his team back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 28-27 lead in the final minutes of regulation.
Wilson set a rookie record for passing yardage in a playoff game by throwing for 385 yards and had two touchdown passes with one interception.
The Falcons led 20-0 at halftime as QB Matt Ryan (250 passing yards with three TD and two INT) connected with tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Roddy White for touchdowns. The dormant Atlanta running game came alive as well with Michael Turner gaining 98 yards on 14 carries.
The Seahawks chipped away at the Falcons 27-7 advantage as they put up 21 points in the final quarter with Wilson leading the way.
After running back Marshawn Lynch scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give the 'Hawks the lead,  the Falcons stormed back with Ryan hitting two passes to set up Bryant for the game winning kick.

NEW ENGLAND 41, HOUSTON 28 - The Patriots advanced to a re-match of last year's AFC Championship Game with Baltimore by blasting the Texans for the second time in five weeks.
New England QB Tom Brady (pictured below) passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair of TD strikes to Shane Vereen, who came in when starting running back Danny Woodhead left the game with an injury.
Brady targeted Vereen for the two scores and also connected with Brandon Lloyd for another touchdown. In addition, WR Wes Welker hauled in eight catches for 131 yards to go with solid rushing by Vereen (one rushing score as well) and Stevan Ridley, who scored a touchdown and rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries.
On a down note, the Patriots lost starting Tight End Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the post-season as he re-broke his forearm early in the game.
Houston trailed 17-13 at halftime and fell behind 38-13 early in the fourth quarter before mounting a comeback to close to within ten points with five minutes remaining. Texans' QB Matt Schaub passed for 343 yards and two TD with one interception. Running back Arian Foster gained 90 yards on the ground in the loss.

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