With a controlling performance focused on ball control and stuffing Todd Gurley, the Atlanta Falcons are on to the Divisional Round. It’s a huge win for the defending NFC Champions, who needed the final day of the season to reach the postseason.
The Falcons got two turnovers on special teams, and built an early lead that they refused to relinquish. They took the air out of the football, the stadium, and the Rams in the second half, running two scoring drives that lasted for over 13 minutes.
If Rams fans are looking for a scapegoat, it’s not hard to point the finger at kick returner Pharoh Cooper. Cooper muffed a punt and a kick return in the first half, giving easy points and momentum to the Falcons. Cooper continued to return kicks in the game, much to the dismay of Twitter critics.
Spending the entire evening on the sidelines, the Rams could never get into a rhythm. Jared Goff made some nice throws, but the Rams simply didn’t get enough chances with the football on Saturday night. Todd Gurley quietly went over 100 yards, but the Rams struggled in the red zone.
It was a mostly uncharacteristic night for the Falcons, but they’re moving on. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for over 100 yards rushing, and the Falcons controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
Because the Falcons are the sixth seed, they are automatically headed to Philadelphia to face the Eagles. It’s an interesting matchup for Atlanta, who after a turbulent regular season look poised for another deep run in the playoffs.
As it looks, the Falcons match up very well with the Eagles. The loss of Carson Wentz is devastating for Philadelphia, and they’ll now be forced to lean on their run game to move the football. The Falcons just showed the nation that they can stop the run, as they bottled up Todd Gurley for the meaningful majority of the game.
The Falcons will visit the Eagles January 13th at 4:35 p.m. on NBC.