California Dreamin': Falcons Begin Road Back to Super Bowl vs. Rams

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Atlanta let an early double-digit lead slip away before holding on at the Los Angeles Coliseum, setting up a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles in next week's NFC divisional round.

The defense is better than a year ago, moving into the top 10 in scoring and total yards for the first time at the end of the regular season in 1998 - when the Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl.

The Rams meanwhile have completely turned around their franchise and thanks to Sean McVay this is a very prolific Rams side that has taken the league by storm and they have the Lombardi Trophy in their sights as the third seed and NFC West division champions.

Devonta Freeman scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and led the Falcons' ground game with 66 yards.

The Falcons got two more field goals from Matt Bryant to take a 19-10 lead against the Rams in their wild-card game.

Jared Goff made a few fantastic throws, but he was wildly inconsistent. But Ryan has his team back in the postseason despite a big dropoff in points and yards. That includes tackle Andrew Whitworth, who played in six playoff games with Cincinnati, but lost all of them. Gurley finished with 101 yards on 14 carries, though 61 yards came in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons have been answering questions about the 25-point blown lead against the Patriots for 11 months, but they almost didn't get the opportunity to see the playoff stage for the second consecutive year.

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The Rams eventually settled down, but the early deficit was too large to overcome. Goff doesn't have as much responsibility in the Rams' offense as Ryan does in the Falcons', but he's been an integral part of their success.

When asked about his biggest surprise this season, Phillips quipped: "Aaron Donald".

Cooper is a Pro Bowl selection after a strong season on special teams. In fact, Los Angeles resembles the Atlanta attack of last season, as the Rams led the National Football League with an average of 29.9 points per game during the regular season. The Rams are the up-and-coming group and while the Falcons are not falling down to reality as the players are aging, they went backwards compared to a year ago. The 2017 Rams showed what a difference a coach can make.

The Los Angeles Rams haven't been to the playoffs in 13 years.

After four years with the Cincinnati Bengals, the former Rutgers Scarlet Knight has formed a solid rapport with quarterback Matt Ryan in his two seasons in Atlanta, catching 126 passes for 1,356 yards and nine touchdowns in 30 games.

Wide receiver Robert Woods, who played at USC, spoke up about what he hopes the vibe will be on Saturday evening.

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