Atlanta Falcons 26 Los Angeles Rams 13: Matt Ryan and Co school Rams’ young guns to take first step to Super Bowl redemption

REJUVENATED Atlanta Falcons tamed free-scoring Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card Saturday.

Matt Ryan and Co sneaked into the play-offs in week 17 after suffering an early-season hangover from their sickening Super Bowl overtime loss the the New England Patriots in Houston last February.


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But they used all their post-season experience to teach the Rams’ young guns a harsh lesson at the Coliseum.

Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to clinch it.

But it was a stellar display by the defence – and some big plays on special teams – that earned the comfortable 26-13 victory for the defending NFC champions.

The Rams were the top-scoring team in the regular season, averaging over 29 points a game.

But, led by sophomore quarterback Jared Goff, they looked shaky at times in their first playoff game since 2005.

Goff got off to a slow start, and Pharoh Cooper and Blake Countess lost fumbles on kick returns to help the Falcons take an early 13-0 lead, via Devonta Freeman’s three-yard run.

The Rams found some rhythm at the end of the first half when Goff found Cooper Kupp for a 35-year touchdown, and a Sam Ficken field goal cut the deficit to three.

But Atlanta opened the second half with two time-consuming drives that resulted in Bryant field goals, including a 54-yarder, to take a 19-10 lead into the fourth quarter.

Those drives sapped the energy out of the Ram defence, and Ryan found Jones at the end of an eight-play, 83-yard drive to make it 26-13 with 5.38 remaining.

Jones had nine catches for 94 yards. Goff led the Rams back down the field but couldn't complete the drive and all hopes was lost when they turned the ball over on downs at the Atlanta five-yard line.

Ryan said: “This game was kind of the way our season was, we had to grind it out.

“It doesn't matter where we're going, we're going. It doesn't matter. Keep it going is our main goal.”

Atlanta with now face Philadelphia Eagles for a place in the conference final.

And, with Carson Wentz ruled out for the NFC East champions, Ryan and Co will be ever more confident of a shot of Super Bowl redemption in Minnesota next month.” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter

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