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Shutdown Corner

Five craziest plays from end of Atlanta’s playoff win

Maggie Hendricks
Shutdown Corner

The Atlanta Falcons earned their first playoff win with Matt Ryan as quarterback, and they did it in heart attack-inducing manner. After pulling out to a 20-0 lead, the Falcons came close to dropping the home game to the Seattle Seahawks. Atlanta found their way to a win, in part because of crazy plays in the final minutes.

1. Atlanta's poorly executed squib kick: After Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning field goal for Atlanta, the Falcons tried a squib kick to keep the ball low and prevent any big returns by Leon Washington. However, the ball only went to the 50-yard line, and the Seahawks had eight seconds to work with.

From that spot, one big catch on the sideline would have opened the door for Seattle to kick a field goal of their own. Not only was it one of the worst squib kicks in recent postseasons, it could have cost Atlanta the game.

2. Pete Carroll calling-timeout-but-then-again-maybe-not: You've seen it happen a million times. A head coach with a timeout to burn stands next to the referee as the opponent's field goal kicker lines up. The coach lets the game clock run down before calling timeout. Carroll went through the motions on this, but then protested when the timeout was called before Bryant's kick.

[Also: Niners unleash new beast in wide-open Colin Kaepernick]

3. Marshawn Lynch's fumble into the end zone: Down by six and with less than a minute to go, the Seahawks handed the ball to their top running back. Lynch fumbled the ball as he was crossing the goal line. Seattle lineman Max Unger grabbed the ball, creating a scoring situation that needed plenty of sorting out. In the end, the touchdown was confirmed and the Seahawks (momentarily) had the lead.

4. Icing the wrong kick: In Carroll's timeout oddity, Matt Bryant still got his first kick off. He missed, but it didn't count because of the timeout. His next kick easily split the uprights to give the Falcons the lead for good, leaving Seahawks fans to wonder what if.

[Also: Tim Tebow's brother disrespects John Elway, city of Denver]

5. Julio Jones making the interception on the final play of the game: Atlanta made the smart move by putting in their receivers on defense during a Hail Mary situation. They put themselves in good position to keep the ball out of any the Seahawks' hands by putting their sure-handed wideouts on the field. Jones came through and made the pick of Russell Wilson's final pass. Still, it will always be a fun piece of trivia to see Jones' statistics from the game: 10 catches, 59 yards, and one interception.

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