Falcons can finally exhale

Dramatic playoff victory validates Smith-Ryan regime; focus now shifts to Niners

Originally Published: January 13, 2013
By Ashley Fox | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- When Mary didn't answer Seattle's call, when the Atlanta Falcons held on to finally win their first playoff game of the Mike Smith-Thomas Dimitroff-Matt Ryan era, Smith raised both fists in the air, turned back toward his team -- and blankly stared.

For just a moment, Smith looked emotionally spent, stunned even. It hadn't been pretty, but it had been in typical Falcons, come-from-behind form.

Atlanta 30, Seattle 28.

It was an unbelievably compelling weekend of ...

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