After overcoming a thrilling come-from-behind performance by the Seattle Seahawks in the division round of the NFL playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons weren’t able to hold off the surging San Francisco 49ers from making their comeback on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Despite playing at home in the NFC Championship game, the Falcons were labeled the underdogs and for good reason with this team continuing to show an inability to hold leads.
Atlanta was able to get out to red-hot starts against the Seahawks and 49ers, but simply couldn’t put it together defensively or improve upon leads in the second half. Luckily, the Falcons were able to get the best of the Seahawks with a game-winning field goal by Matt Bryant, but the same couldn’t be said for the game against the 49ers.
One of the reasons for the Falcons’ poor play in the second half against the 49ers was a shoulder injury sustained by quarterback Matt Ryan. The up-and-coming quarterback suffered the injury in the second half and was noticeably in pain and probably would’ve been pulled from the game had it been in the regular season.
The injury has been diagnosed as a sprained left shoulder according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan suffered a sprained left shoulder during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Fortunately for Ryan and the Falcons, the veteran quarterback won’t require surgery to repair the injured shoulder.
Ryan had a solid performance in the loss to the 49ers throwing for a franchise-record 396 yards and three touchdowns, but his fumble and interception ultimately cost the team the game and a trip to the Super Bowl.
As a result of the Falcons’ loss, veteran tight end and future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez may have played his last game in the NFL. Gonzalez has made it clear throughout the playoffs that he was leaning heavily towards retirement regardless of team’s outcome in the postseason.