ATLANTA -- An epic meltdown was avoided, and a remarkable comeback was thwarted. The end result: The Atlanta Falcons are one win away from the Super Bowl.
Matt Bryant nailed a 49-yard field goal with 13 seconds to play, lifting the Falcons to a heart-stopping 30-28 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons ended a three-game postseason losing streak and notched their first playoff win since 2004. They'll host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday.
Matt Ryan bested Seattle's hyped secondary, throwing for 209 yards with touchdowns to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and fullback Jason Snelling on a nifty shovel pass that put the Falcons up 27-7 late in the third quarter.
But Seattle would not go away.
Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led three fourth-quarter scoring drives, and Marshawn Lynch scored a go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds to play.
That was plenty of time for Ryan, though. The Falcons marched to the Seattle 32 in just two plays to set up Bryant's winning kick.
It never seemed like it was going to be that close.
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead and seized control after a failed gamble by Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
Trailing 13-0, the Seahawks were threatening to get back in the game in the second quarter. Carroll went for it on 4th-and-inches from the Falcons' 11 and elected to give fullback Michael Robinson a shot at picking up the first down. It was a decision Seahawks' fans will regret for the entire offseason.
Robinson was stuffed, and four plays later, Ryan lofted a high-arcing bomb to White, who ran under the perfect throw for a 47-yard touchdown and a 20-0 Falcons' lead.
A chant of "Rod-dy! Rod-dy!" erupted in a packed Georgia Dome, and the Falcons looked like they were in total command, after a second defensive stand kept Seattle off the scoreboard at halftime.
With Seattle at the Falcons' 11, Jonathan Babineaux sacked Wilson on third down, and time expired before the Seahawks could get another play off.
Babineaux also had a fumble recovery in the first quarter.
A Seattle team that averaged 38.8 points over its last five games went to the locker room down 20-0.
The Seahawks got on the board on their first drive of the second half. Wilson hit Golden Tate on a 29-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle hope.
The Falcons responded with a time-consuming, 14-play drive, capped by Ryan's 5-yard touchdown pass to Snelling.
But Seattle would not go away.
Wilson, a rookie third-round draft pick, ran for a touchdown later in the third quarter and threw a touchdown to Zach Miller early in the fourth to cut the Falcons' lead to 27-21 with nine minutes to play.
Notes: Falcons DE John Abraham re-aggravated his ankle injury he suffered in the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay and left the game in the first half. ... Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons, the Seahawks' leader in sacks (seven), will reportedly meet with Dr. James Andrews regarding his torn anterior cruciate ligament, suffered against the Washington Redskins in the wild-card round of the playoffs. ... White became the Falcons' all-time leader in postseason receptions.