Tony Gonzalez thought his career was over, and he couldn't believe how it was ending.
A 27-7 lead was gone, and Seattle led 28-27 with 31 seconds left. As he waited for Atlanta's final drive, Gonzalez figured that a 16-year career was going to end and he'd never be a part of even one playoff win.
"I was thinking about it," Gonzalez said to FOX on the field after the game. "I was like, 'I guess this is it, I'm going to go out with a heartbreaking loss getting such a big lead.' I was thinking in my mind, 'It's not fair.'"
Gonzalez ended up crying on the field after the game. He couldn't believe that the Falcons came back to win 30-28. He was right in the middle of an epic final drive.
Gonzalez's 19-yard catch, pushing forward for a few extra precious yards, set up Matt Bryant's 49-yard field goal that won the game for the Falcons. That's an incredible turn of emotions in just a few minutes.
"After 16 years, never winning a playoff game, I was ... I've never cried after a win," Gonzalez said to FOX. "I was thinking, 'Here it goes again, I just guess it wasn't meant to be.' For us to come back the way we did, I'm so proud of our guys."
Gonzalez, who by any statistical measure is the greatest tight end in NFL history, is 60 minutes from a Super Bowl. If he does follow through on his plans to retire after this season, he'll do so knowing that he is still playing as well as any tight end in the game.
He had six catches for 51 yards in the win against Seattle. His first-half touchdown was a thing of beauty, with him coming down just in bounds after jumping up to grab Matt Ryan's pass out of the air. And when the Falcons needed a game-saving play to set up Bryant, Gonzalez got open and made the play.
It would have been a shame had Gonzalez's great career ended on a devastating loss blowing a big lead to Seattle, with him never experiencing the thrill of a playoff win. His pure emotion after the game was one of the highlights of the playoffs so far.
"I thought we weren't going to be able to pull that one out," Gonzalez told FOX. "But I'm so glad we did."
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