• Falcons defeat Rams in NFC Wild Card game

    Updated:

    LOS ANGELES - The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 Saturday night in the NFC Wild Card round of the playoffs. 

    They will play at Philadelphia next Saturday in the divisional round. 

    The Falcons got on the board first with a 29-yard field goal by Matt Bryant after a Rams turnover. Bryant hit a 51-yard field goal to put the Falcons up 6-0 in the first quarter.

    A Devonta Freeman 3-yard touchdown put the Falcons up 13-0 off of another Rams turnover. 

    The Rams scored a touchdown to bring the score to 13-7 with just over two minutes left in the first half. Sam Ficken kicked a 35-yard field goal before the half to bring the score to 13-10 at halftime. 

    Bryant kicked two more field goals in the 3rd quarter to put the Falcons up 19-10. 

    Ficken hit another field goal in the 4th quarter to bring the score to 19-13.

    Matt Ryan found Julio Jones in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown to put the Falcons up 26-13.

    The Falcons visited the Coliseum late last season on their path to the Super Bowl, and racked up a blowout victory. That 42-14 loss to the Falcons was a catalyst in the Rams' transformation from LA laughingstocks to NFC West champions, because coach Jeff Fisher was fired the next day. 

    The Rams are now led by 31-year-old Sean McVay, who grew up near Atlanta, and a roster of playmakers, including former Georgia Bulldog Todd Gurley. 

    The Falcons were back for their first postseaon game since that memorable Super Bowl loss. They clinched the final spot in the playoffs and are the only team in the NFC to return from last year. 

    The Falcons' experience in the playoffs may have come into play. Only six Rams players had ever been in postseason games. 

     

     

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    AP Top Sports News at 3:12 p.m. EDT