An Atlanta Falcons assistant coach walked past. You could feel the juice on our defense.
"You, too", the coach replied, embracing him in a hug.
"Thanks", Ryan replied. "I'm happy for me, too".
Green Bay has Eddie Lacy and James Starks on the shelf with injuries, so it will turn to Ty Montgomery, who did not play when these two teams met in late-October. He smashed it to pieces and steamrolled those pieces into powder. The Falcons just blew up the Packers and soon will blow up this dome and move next door to a riveting, sparkling, artistic stadium. He orchestrated one of the finest offenses the National Football League has ever seen. He scorched the earth.
They might not have won against Boston College with the kind of showing they made this time. The Packers came into the game banged up, and they finished the regular season with the NFL's second-worst pass defense.
"He's a beast", Ryan said. You win, you get acceptance, you get respect.
They will take on the New England Patriots, who claimed victory on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"He was able to make a lot of big plays, and that's why they put up points like that", Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews said. Last year he came within one game of a Super Bowl return, and this year he's played in 15 games for Atlanta and recorded three sacks. They outgained Green Bay 493 yards to 367 and scored 31 points before the Packers responded with their first points early in the third quarter.
Ryan (392 passing yards and 4 TDs) did his part. He threw 38 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions.
Already the presumptive MVP, Ryan entered the showdown with Rodgers, in the eyes of most observers, a tier below the elite quarterbacks. He has forced his way into the conversation for Best Quarterback Alive. Two weeks in a row, Ryan and the Falcons have dispatched Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Rodgers.
The NFC champions are making me root for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, and I loathe the Patriots. "That's why we're here", Brady said at the trophy presentation as he gestured toward his teammates. "We'll take care of it".
Super Bowl LI half set following NFC Championship
Atlanta's defense, which has had its moments but never developed into a consistent unit, dominated from start to end on Sunday. In 1999, they lost in the big game, 34-19, to the Denver Broncos.
"It's not over", Jones said. The timing or the score, or whatever it was.
Just not now, not this week, not in this doomed Dome, not against the Falcons, the season's Unlikely Juggernaut. "What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us".
History lessons: Atlanta beat Green Bay, 33-32, in Week 8 when receiver Mohamed Sanu caught a touchdown with 11 seconds left.
"That's the first thing going through my mind there after I hurt my foot again, just hoping it wasn't the last time I put on a (Packers) helmet", Lang said. "It was one-on-one. No question in my mind Matt is coming to me".
"He's a beast", Ryan said. The play ensured this year would be different. Star wide receiver Julio Jones is dealing with a sprained toe. It's Matt finding the right guy and who's open. It might be the checkdown. "He's 'Matty Ice, ' man".
Munn didn't specifically mention her boyfriend's issues with his family - whom he's not now on speaking terms with - but Rodgers' off-the-field situation has garnered just as much attention recently as his torrid play on it.
The Falcons in recent years have won enough games to get a shrug and wink, like a gentle pat on a pet's head. But it also has to be depressing for Green Bay fans.
One for the road: Green Bay is a respectable 5-4 in road playoff games under Mike McCarthy. "It's really a credit to the Falcons".
At the end, Ryan stood on a podium, pumped his fist and answered questions from Terry Bradshaw. "We're not afraid to back away from our expectations, and that's ultimately getting back to the Super Bowl and winning one, and we were so close, but so far".
Stoke City versus Manchester United predicted line-ups: visitors unchanged?
Wayne Rooney, on the verge of making club history for Manchester United , could be forced to settle for a place on the bench. Defender Eric Bailly remains unavailable as he is on global duty with the Ivory Coast.
- Miguel Ferrer, star of NCIS: Los Angeles, dies at 61
- DOJ: Trump hiring Kushner doesn't violate anti-nepotism law
- Fleetwood holds off big guns to end European Tour drought
- Women's March Protesters Stopped at U.S. Border, Denied Entry
- Falcons WR Julio Jones misses practice Wednesday
- Iraqi Forces Recapture Jonah's Tomb
- IEA sees significant gains in United States shale oil as prices climb
- At least three dead after tornado rips through Mississippi
- Xiaomi launches Redmi Note 4 starting at Rs 9999
- Chuck Todd to Kellyanne Conway: "Alternative Facts Are Not Facts"