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Time Machine: Falcons Help Spoil Seahawks' Playoff Chances in 1997


The Falcons and Seahawks have never met in postseason play and have lined up against each other only 13 times since Seattle was granted an NFL franchise in 1976. Their NFC counterparts from the Pacific Northwest will only be making their sixth trip to Atlanta when they roll into the Georgia Dome on Sunday. But the clubs have some recent history between them after playing in consecutive seasons in 2010 and 2011.

More than half of the games played in this series have come over the past 12 seasons, with seven games being played since 2000.

In 1997, Seattle was in the midst of a playoff push when Atlanta came to town in Week 13 looking for an upset at the old Kingdome.

The Birds shocked the home team by jumping out to a quick 17-0 lead. RB Jamal Anderson pounded his way for two touchdowns — one on the ground (from 1-yard away) and one through the air (13-yard reception) to lead the early assault.

But Seahawks QB and Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon (and current Seattle radio color commentator) mounted a comeback on a pair of touchdown passes to close within 17-14.

Rookie returner Byron Hanspard then provided a spark and a cushion for the Falcons on the ensuing kickoff. Hanspard raced 93 yards for a score, the first by the team in four years, to widen the gap. The return was the eighth longest in team history at the time.

Seattle got close on a field goal in the fourth quarter to get to 24-17, but CB Lenny McGill picked off a Moon pass at the Atlanta 29-yard line with 1:27 remaining to slam the door on the Seahawks chances and postseason aspirations.

Two mighty birds clash down South in the divisional playoffs this weekend hoping to keep their "second seasons" alive. Falcons fans are expected to show up early to get ready to blow the roof off the Georgia Dome with their passion at exactly 1 p.m. ET. See you there.

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