ATLANTA – The Falcons knew going into Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers their chance at clinching a playoff spot was on the line. And they took care of their business to make that happen by defeating the Panthers 22-10 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Falcons are the only team in the NFC that made the playoffs last season to return to the dance a year later.
Atlanta will take on the Los Angeles Rams, who clinched the No. 3 seed on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Here's what several Falcons players had to say about making the playoffs in the locker room full of excitement following the victory:
Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu:
"It's awesome. Every [year] I've been in the NFL I've been to the playoffs."
"You have stay focused on this game and this game only. You can't look too far ahead. You have to worry about each day, each meeting, each walk-through, each rep at practice. Do your best and keep stacking."
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett:
"It felt good to take matters into our hands and clinch a playoff spot. Everything we want is still ahead of us. As far as myself, I feel like I played pretty well today. I'm excited I had a good performance, the defense had a good performance – [we] stepped up and made some stops."
Cornerback Desmond Trufant:
"It feels good. A lot of hard work to get to this point. We put ourselves in a position to where we controlled our own destiny and we took advantage [of it]. We just have to keep pushing now, take it one game at a time."
Cornerback Robert Alford:
"It feels good. Our playoffs started early – it was either win or go home."
Defensive end Takk McKinley:
"We're not satisfied with making the playoffs, we want more. We know we have to take one game at a time."
The overarching theme?
Yes, the Falcons are excited about making the playoffs, but this team isn't satisfied with just getting in.