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Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan fly past Seattle Seahawks in NFC Divisional Round

Jan 14 (The Sports Xchange) - Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, building off a spectacular regular season, threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns to help the Falcons to a 36-20 playoff romp over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

The Falcons lived up to their billing as the highest-scoring team in the NFL to the delight of their Georgia Dome fans as they advanced to next Sunday's NFC championship game.

Atlanta, who had lost 28-26 at Seattle in the regular season, will play either Dallas or Green Bay on Jan. 22 for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

Ryan, a contender for league MVP honors, completed 26 of 37 passes in the divisional round game and went without an interception for the fifth consecutive contest while directing the Falcons to points on five of their first six possessions.

RELATED: The highest-paid NFL players of all time

26 PHOTOS
The highest-paid NFL players of all time
See Gallery
The highest-paid NFL players of all time

25. Dwight Freeney, DE — $97.6 million

Seasons: 15

Highest single-season earnings: $30.8 million (2007; includes $15 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 7

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: Prior to the 2007 season, Freeney signed a six-year, $72 million contract with the Colts and, in a rarity for the NFL, he made every penny of that deal.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

24. Jared Allen, DE — $97.9 million

Seasons: 12

Highest single-season earnings: $20.9 million (2008; includes $15.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 5

First-team All-Pro: 4

One thing to know: Allen spent some of his earnings on at least one horse. We know this because when he announced his retirement in February, he rode off on a horse.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

23. Champ Bailey, CB — $102.8 million

Seasons: 15

Highest single-season earnings: $16.5 million (2010; includes $3 million roster bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 12

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: Bailey's largest contract came after the 2003 season, when he signed a seven-year, $63 million deal.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

22. Ndamukong Suh, DT — $104.2 million

Seasons: 7

Highest single-season earnings: $26.5 million (2015; includes $25.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: If Suh stays with the Dolphins until the end of his 6-year, $114.4 million contract his career earnings will rise to $178.6 million.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

21. Joe Thomas, LT — $108.4 million

Seasons: 10

Highest single-season earnings: $19.1 million (2011; includes $6 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 6

One thing to know: Thomas has never missed an NFL game due to injury and has started all 156 games since being drafted.

(Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

20. Matthew Stafford, QB — $110.8 million

Seasons: 8

Highest single-season earnings: $26.9 million

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Stafford was the top pick in the 2009 draft in an era when there were no limits on rookie contracts. His first deal was worth $72 million.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

19. Jay Cutler, QB — $112.2 million

Seasons: 11

Highest single-season earnings: $20.5 million (2015; includes $5 million restructure bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Cutler's seven-year, $126.7 million contract is the largest in NFL history in terms of total potential value.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

18. Calvin Johnson, WR — $113.8 million

Seasons: 9

Highest single-season earnings: $25 million (2013; includes $20 million option bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 6

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: Johnson retired earlier this year because he was reportedly "in pain." He walked away from the final four years and $67.7 million on his contract.

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

17. Joe Flacco, QB — $114.8 million

Seasons: 9

Highest single-season earnings: $30.0 million (2013; includes $29.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 1

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Joe Flacco has elite career earnings.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

16. Darrelle Revis, CB — $118.2 million

Seasons: 10

Highest single-season earnings: $25 million (2011; includes $18 million option bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 7

First-team All-Pro: 4

One thing to know: In a league where most players are forced to take safe contracts, Revis has continually bet on himself and won and he says he wants to keep going. Despite a report saying Revis will retire after the season, Revis says he wants to play in 2017.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

15. Mario Williams, DE — $120.4 million

Seasons: 11

Highest single-season earnings: $25 million (2012; includes $19 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: Mario Williams was another No. 1 overall draft pick back when No. 1 overall draft picks received gigantic rookie contracts. Williams' first deal with the Texans was for six years and $54 million.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

14. Michael Vick, QB — $121.2 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $27.5 million (2005)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Vick missed two seasons in the prime of his career following his dog-fighting conviction.

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

13. Aaron Rodgers, QB — $123.8 million

Seasons: 12

Highest single-season earnings: $38.3 million (2013; includes $33.3 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 5

First-team All-Pro: 2

One thing to know: The Packers have Rodgers under contract through the 2019 season and his cap hit never exceeds $21.1 million.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

12. Tony Romo, QB — $127.4 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $26.5 million (2013; includes $25 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Romo still has three years left on his contract with the Cowboys, but with the emergence of Dak Prescott, Romo will almost certainly not be back with Dallas in 2017. With the contract, Romo can effectively pick who he wants to play for in 2017, and he reportedly prefers the Broncos. However, retirement is also an option.

(Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

11. Matt Ryan, QB — $133.7 million

Seasons: 9

Highest single-season earnings: $36.5 million (2014; includes $15 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 3

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Including salaries and bonuses, Ryan has made $78.8 million in the first four years of his five-year, $103.8 million extension.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

10. Brett Favre, QB — $137.8 million

Seasons: 20 (retired in 2010)

Highest single-season earnings: $16 million (2010; includes $4.4 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 11

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: Favre only made more than $12 million once while with the Packers, but made more than that in each of his three seasons with the Jets and Vikings.

(Photo by Jay Drowns/Sporting News via Getty Images)

9. Larry Fitzgerald, WR — $140.3 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $26.3 million (2012; includes $15 million option bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: Fitzgerald is signed through the 2017 season, however a report stated that Fitzgerald has been telling those close to him that he will retire after this season. Fitzgerald denied making a decision on his future.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

8. Julius Peppers, LB — $156.0 million

Seasons: 15

Highest single-season earnings: $20.2 million (2010; includes $6.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: Peppers will be an unrestricted contract after the season. He will be 37 next year.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

7. Carson Palmer, QB — $156.6 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $19.0 million (2014; includes $10 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 3

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Palmer still has two years and $28.0 million left on his contract with the Cardinals. His cap hit jumps from $18.4 million this year to $24.1 million next year and the two sides will almost certainly need to restructure his deal.

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

6. Ben Roethlisberger, QB — $158.3 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $35.3 million (2015; includes $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed prior to the 2015 season by Big Ben didn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. But it was better than most, as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

5. Philip Rivers, QB — $173.9 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $32 million (2015; includes $17 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 5

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Rivers got one of the surprise monster contracts in recent memory, which will likely push his career earnings close to $220 million when all's said and done.

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

4. Drew Brees, QB — $181.7 million

Seasons: 16

Highest single-season earnings: $40 million (2012; includes $37 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: Brees had the highest cap hit in the NFL last season at $23.8 million. An extension signed prior to this season lowered his 2016 cap figure from $30.0 million to $17.3 million.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

3. Tom Brady, QB — $196.2 million

Seasons: 17

Highest single-season earnings: $28.8 million (2016; includes $28.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 4

Pro Bowls: 11

First-team All-Pro: 2

One thing to know: Brady has consistently sacrificed money during his career for the sake of the team. However, he is starting to cash in now, signing a $41 million extension prior to the season that included a $28 million signing bonus.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

2. Eli Manning, QB — $205.8 million

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $37 million (2015; includes $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Manning made $37 million last season alone as part of his new $84 million contract, which included a $31 million signing bonus. This season he has the highest cap hit in the NFL at $24.2 million. If he plays out the final three years of his current contract, his career earnings will grow to $252.3 million.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

1. Peyton Manning, QB — $248.7 million

Seasons: 18

Highest single-season earnings: $35 million (2004; includes $34.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 14

First-team All-Pro: 7

One thing to know: Manning's final paycheck in the NFL was a $4 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl last season. He had one year and $19 million remaining on his Broncos contract when he retired.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Eight Falcons caught passes from Ryan, with Julio Jones grabbing six for 67 yards and a touchdown before sitting out most of the fourth quarter after tweaking the foot that has bothered him most of the season.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 17 of 30 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

The Seahawks failed to establish a running game, with Thomas Rawls gaining just 34 yards after going for 161 against Detroit last week.

Atlanta, after seizing momentum in the second quarter for a 19-10 lead at intermission, went 75 yards in 13 plays to start the second half, with Devonta Freeman scoring from a yard out to make it 26-10.

SEE ALSO: Raiders to apply for move from Oakland to Las Vegas, per NFL report

Seattle's Steven Hauschka kicked a 26-yard field goal later in the third quarter, but kicker Matt Bryant pushed the lead back to 16 points when he connected from 31 yards to start the fourth quarter.

Ryan's 3-yard TD pass to Mohamed Sanu following an interception by Ricardo Allen clinched the victory with less than four minutes remaining.

Wilson threw a 31-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin, but then was picked off by Deion Jones and the Falcons took a knee at the 1-yard line to end the game.

The Falcons built their halftime lead when Ryan connected with Tevin Coleman for a 14-yard touchdown with 56 seconds remaining to cap a 99-yard drive.

The game shifted Atlanta's way when a holding penalty wiped out an 80-yard second quarter punt return by Devin Hester and left Seattle, who led 10-7, deep in their own territory.

Wilson stumbled pulling away from center on second down from the 4-yard line and was covered in the end zone by the Falcons' Ben Garland for a safety that made it 10-9.

RELATED: Best photos from NFL Wild Card Weekend

16 PHOTOS
Best photos from NFL Wild Card Weekend
See Gallery
Best photos from NFL Wild Card Weekend
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Wide receiver Paul Richardson #10 of the Seattle Seahawks brings in a one-handed catch for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Andre Holmes #18 of the Oakland Raiders makes a reception against the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs down field for a touchdown after catching a pass from Ben Roethlisberger #7 during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Micah Hyde #33 of the Green Bay Packers breaks up a pass intended for Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants in the first quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore collides with Jay Ajayi in the third quarter as they play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 at Heinz Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 08: Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers sacks Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jan 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans strong safety Corey Moore (43) knocks the ball out of the hands of Oakland Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton (16) during the fourth quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) is tackled by Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) during the first half in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 08: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers scores a touchdown in the third quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Paul Richardson #10 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a one-handed reception against Nevin Lawson #24 of the Detroit Lions during the second half of the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers walks off the field after beating the New York Giants 38-13 in the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08: Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins receives attention on the sideline after taking a hit during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Eli Apple #24 of the New York Giants tackles Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Houston Texans Quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) throws downfield from his own endzone during the NFL AFC Wild Card game between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans on January 7, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Bryant kicked a 35-yard field goal after the ensuing free kick back to Atlanta to put the Falcons ahead 12-9. Ryan then led Atlanta the length of the field in less than three minutes to pad the lead going into halftime.

The first 16 minutes of the game featured matching touchdown drives. Seattle went 89 yards on 14 plays to start the game and Atlanta matched them by going 75 yards in 13 plays.

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