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Falcons follow quarterback Matt Ryan to big win over Seattle

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If your vote isn’t in for Matt Ryan as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, it might be time to buy a stamp.

Ryan, the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons who threw 38 touchdowns in the regular season, was stellar Saturday night as the Falcons beat Seattle 36-20 to advance to the NFC Championship Game. The Falcons will play against either Dallas or Green Bay next week.

Ryan threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the vaunted Seattle secondary. In short, he doomed the Legion of Doom.

“Matt just had a terrific week naturally,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn. “I felt the energy from the receivers right from the beginning from our warm up today. I thought they looked great. For Matt and his preparation, he stayed on exactly the same path that he had been on during the regular season, so it was something that we spoke about now. I thought he was on it like he has been the entire year.”

Rookie Keanu Neal of Florida led the Falcons with 11 tackles, including 10 solos.

Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 225 yards, but he suffered two interceptions.

Seattle has become one of the most controversial teams in the NFL with outspoken corner Richard Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett. That doesn’t count recently retired Marshawn Lynch.

Against Atlanta, however, there wasn’t much to say. Former FSU running back Devonta Freeman rushed for 45 yards and caught four passes for 80.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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