Wilson threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-for-36 passing performance. Miller had eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown, and Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate had six catches for 103 yards and a third-quarter touchdown.
But Wilson joins the two more celebrated members of his rookie quarterback class, the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III and the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck, in watching the remainder of the postseason. Luck, like Griffin, lost a first-round playoff game.
“We had high, high hopes the rest of the season,” Wilson said. “When the game was over, I was very disappointed. But right before I got back to the tunnel, walking off the field, I got so excited for the next opportunity next year.”
But the day’s main story line was about the at-least-temporary redemption of the Falcons, who entering Sunday had no playoff triumphs to show for their 56 regular season wins the past five seasons. They’d been 0-3 in the postseason since Ryan and Smith arrived together in 2008. They’d lost a conference semifinal here to the sixth-seeded Green Bay Packers two years ago as the NFC’s top seed. Gonzalez had been 0-5 in the playoffs in his 16-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs and Falcons.
“What a way to do it,” Gonzalez said. “I still can’t get over it. I thought, ‘Here we go again.’ I thought it wasn’t going to happen. I am happy. What a roller coaster of emotions. I’m spent right now. . . . I’ve never cried after a win before. I’ve cried after a loss. I thought it was over — 16 years, six playoff games.”
Gonzalez had a touchdown catch in his first postseason win. Wide receiver Roddy White and running back Jason Snelling were on the receiving end of Ryan’s other touchdown throws. Bryant also had a pair of first-half field goals.
Smith deflected a question about what the playoff win meant to him personally, saying he was happy for his team. But Ryan acknowledged he’ll be happy not to be asked questions any longer about his zero postseason victories.
“It’ll be nice not to have to answer it,” Ryan said. “That’s for sure.”