The Latest: Falcons topple Rams 26-13, face Eagles next - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

The Latest: Falcons topple Rams 26-13, face Eagles next

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the NFL playoffs on wild-card weekend (all times EST):

11:45 p.m.

Matt Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play, and the defending NFC champion Falcons advanced from the wild-card round with a methodical 26-13 victory over the Rams.

Devonta Freeman rushed for an early score and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Falcons (11-6), who spoiled the Rams' first playoff game in 13 years while showing off the postseason poise they earned from last season's journey to the Super Bowl.

Atlanta never trailed at the Coliseum while winning playoff games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

The Falcons advanced to face the top-seeded Eagles on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia.

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10:50 p.m.

The Atlanta Falcons got two more field goals from Matt Bryant to take a 19-10 lead against the Los Angeles Rams in their wild-card game.

Bryant had kicks of 25 and 54 yards as the Falcons controlled the clock in the third quarter.

He kicked field goals of 29 and 51 yards in the first quarter.

The Falcons got the kickoff to open the second half and, behind Matt Ryan, used half of the third quarter on a 16-play, 76-yard drive capped by Bryant's 25-yarder.

Ryan kept the drive alive on a sneak on fourth-and-1 from the Rams 21.

Earlier, he hit Tevin Coleman for 14 yards on a screen pass on third-and-9.

Jared Goff had a nice 25-yard pass to Robert Woods but the Rams' drive fizzled on an incompletion by Goff and a drop by Todd Gurley.

The Falcons then drove for Bryant's 54-yarder.

- Bernie Wilson reporting in Los Angeles.

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10 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams scored 10 points in the final 2:34 of the first half to pull to 13-10 against the Atlanta Falcons in their wild-card playoff game.

After rookie Cooper Kupp made a nice over-the-shoulder catch of a 14-yard scoring toss from Jared Goff, the Rams got the ball back with 1:15 left and no timeouts.

Goff led them 67 yards in six plays, with the drive capped by Sam Ficken's 35-yard field goal with 3 seconds left.

The drive was kept alive by a pass interference call against Blidi Wreh-Wilson followed by Goff's 38-yard pass to Robert Woods.

The Rams benefited from a replay that added 8 seconds to the clock, but they still had to settle for the field goal.

After a halftime concert by Snoop Dogg, the Falcons were to receive the second-half kickoff.

- Bernie Wilson reporting in Los Angeles.

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9:45 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams finally showed some life in their first playoff game in 13 years and closed to 13-7 late in the second quarter of their wild-card game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Rookie Cooper Kupp made a nice over-the-shoulder catch of a 14-yard scoring pass from Jared Goff with 2:34 to go before halftime.

The big play on the drive was a 26-yard run by Todd Gurley, with 15 yards tacked on after Ricardo Allen shoved Gurley after he'd gone out of bounds.

The crowd chanted "M-V-P! M-V-P!" after the play.

Gurley led the NFL with 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 total TDs in the regular season.

He likely would have won the rushing title but sat out the finale, along with other stars, to rest for the playoffs.

- Bernie Wilson reporting in Los Angeles.

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9:10 p.m.

The Atlanta Falcons have taken a 13-0 lead over the Los Angeles Rams early in the second quarter of their wild-card playoff game, thanks in large part to sloppy special teams play by Pro Bowl returner Pharoh Cooper.

Cooper fumbled on a kickoff return late in the first quarter when he was hit by Damontae Kazee, with Kemal Ishmael recovering at the Rams 32.

Devonta Freeman capped the short drive with a 3-yard scoring run.

Matt Bryant kicked field goals of 29 and 51 yards in the first quarter.

The Falcons' first score was set up by a special teams blunder by the Rams that allowed Atlanta to almost completely flip the field.

With the Falcons forced to punt from their 14, Cooper was indecisive and let the ball bounce at about the L.A. 40.

It hit off Blake Countess' foot during a wild scramble that ended with LaRoy Reynolds recovering at the Rams 17.

The Falcons had to settle for Bryant's 29-yard field goal. He kicked a 51-yarder on Atlanta's next possession.

- Bernie Wilson reporting in Los Angeles.

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8:15 p.m.

The NFL playoffs returned to Los Angeles for the first time in a long time when the Rams hosted the Atlanta Falcons in a wild-card game.

The Rams are hosting their first playoff game in the Coliseum since Jan. 7, 1979, when they lost 28-0 to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game.

They're hosting their first playoff game in Southern California since Jan. 4, 1986, when they beat the Cowboys 20-0 at Anaheim Stadium.

First-year coach Sean McVay, who has presided over the Rams' stunning turnaround from 4-12 to 11-5, was born 20 days after that game.

The Rams moved to St. Louis after the 1994 season and won their only Super Bowl on Jan. 30, 2000, by beating Tennessee 23-16 in Atlanta.

They moved back prior to the 2016 season.

Until Sunday, the previous NFL playoff game at the Coliseum was on Jan. 9, 1994, when the L.A. Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 42-24.

The previous NFL playoff game in Southern California was Jan. 17, 2010, when the San Diego Chargers lost 17-14 to the New York Jets.

The Chargers moved to a Los Angeles suburb for this past season and missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.

- Bernie Wilson reporting in Los Angeles.

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7:55 p.m.

Marcus Mariota led Tennessee to three second-half touchdowns, incredibly throwing one of his TD passes to himself, and the Titans rallied from a 21-3 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 for their first playoff win in 14 years.

Mariota threw for 205 yards and two scores, including the 22-yard go-ahead strike to Eric Decker with just over six minutes left that ushered the Titans into the divisional round of the playoffs.

Derrick Henry had a career-high 156 yards rushing and another score for Tennessee (10-7), while a defense that was fileted by Alex Smith and the Chiefs (10-7) during the first half pitched a shutout in the second half - dooming the Kansas City franchise to another humiliating postseason defeat.

The Chiefs haven't won a home playoff game since January 1994.

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7:25 p.m.

The Titans have pulled ahead of the Chiefs 22-21 on Marcus Mariota's touchdown pass to Eric Decker, and the ensuing 2-point conversion could become a point of controversy.

Tennessee went for two in an attempt to make it a field-goal advantage, and Mariota was wrapped up for a sack by Daniel Sorenson.

The ball came loose and Frank Zombo picked it up, and the linebacker began returning it for two points that would have swung the lead back to Kansas City.

But the officials had blown their whistles, ruling that Mariota's progress had been stopped.

So, the Titans lead 22-21 with 6:06 left in the game.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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7:05 p.m.

The Titans have pulled within 21-16 of the Chiefs after Derrick Henry ran nearly untouched 35 yards for a touchdown with 14:08 left in their playoff game.

The Chiefs have led the whole way, but their offense has grown stagnant since tight end Travis Kelce was knocked out with a concussion. And the Titans, for all their mistakes, have managed to keep plugging away behind Henry's hard running.

The former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama has 17 carries for 106 yards and his score.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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7 p.m.

The Chiefs are one quarter away from their first home playoff win in nearly a quarter century.

They lead the Titans 21-10 after three quarters at Arrowhead Stadium, though they just missed a chance to add to the lead. They recovered a fumbled punt deep in Tennessee territory but couldn't pick up a first down, and Harrison Butker missed a 48-yard field goal off the left upright.

Now, the Titans are driving in hopes of making it a one-score game.

Kansas City has not won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium since January 1994, when Joe Montana was the quarterback. The Chiefs beat the Steelers that day.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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6:55 p.m.

There is a sizeable fire blazing in a wooded area across the street from Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs are leading the Titans 21-10 late in the third quarter.

It's unknown what set the blaze about a half-mile southwest of the stadium, and a short walk from the Chiefs' practice facility. Fans inside the stadium are unaware of it, but it is clearly evident out the south-facing windows of the press box.

Several fire trucks are already on the scene, trying to put it out before the end of the game.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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6:40 p.m.

Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself in the Titans' playoff game against Kansas City.

The Tennessee quarterback took the snap with third-and-goal at the 6, and he was under pressure as he scrambled to his left.

His pass to the end zone was deflected by Darrelle Revis right back to Mariota, who not only caught it but dived into the end zone for the score.

Mariota's touchdown pass - and reception, for that matter - capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive that took 8:29 and ultimately trimmed the Titans' deficit to 21-10.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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6:25 p.m.

All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce is out for the rest of the Chiefs' playoff game against the Titans after sustaining a concussion late in the first half.

The injury also puts his status in question for next week should the Chiefs advance.

Kelce was being tackled when the Titans' Johnathan Cyprien delivered a blow with his shoulder. Their helmets also collided and Kelce appeared to be dazed when he got to his feet.

The Chiefs lead 21-3 early in the third quarter.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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6:10 p.m.

The Chiefs are taking a 21-3 lead into halftime of their wild-card playoff game against Tennessee after driving 79 yards in 1:52 and scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson.

Kansas City converted on third-and-6 early in the drive, when the Titans called timeout in hopes of getting the ball back, then moved effortlessly downfield the rest of the way.

Robinson crossed the goal line with 3 seconds left in the first half.

Alex Smith was 19 of 23 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the half.

His counterpart, Marcus Mariota, was 7 of 13 for 82 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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6 p.m.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is being evaluated for a concussion after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from the Titans' Johnathan Cyprien late in the first half of their playoff game.

The second-team All-Pro caught a pass over the middle and was going to the ground when Cyprien tried to lay a shoulder into him. Their helmets collided and Kelce lay on the turf stunned.

When he got up, he was wobbling toward the end zone and officials called for the training staff.

Kelce was taken immediately to the locker room.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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5:55 p.m.

The Titans are on the scoreboard after Ryan Succop's 49-yard field goal, and they got some help from the officiating crew just to trim their deficit to 14-3 late in the first half.

Marcus Mariota took a vicious hit from Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson on a delayed blitz, and he clearly dropped the ball before he hit the ground. But the play was blown dead by the officials, so even though Justin Houston picked up the fumble, the Titans got a chance to kick a field goal.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid spent an entire timeout arguing the call to no avail.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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5:20 p.m.

The Chiefs lead the Titans 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, which is precisely the same score after 15 minutes when these teams met in the regular season in 2016.

The Titans wound up rallying for a 19-17 victory.

In fact, the Chiefs carried a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter of that game. But the Titans mounted a comeback, and former Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop hit a 52-yard field goal on the final play of the game - after a timeout by Andy Reid gave him another shot - to give Tennessee the win.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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5:15 p.m.

The Chiefs that won five straight to start the regular season and four straight to finish it have apparently showed up in the playoffs, racing to a 14-0 lead over the Titans.

Alex Smith connected with tight end Travis Kelce for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 2:15 left in the first quarter. It was the second straight TD drive for Kansas City, both covering 75-plus yards.

Smith is 8 of 11 for 154 yards and the score. Kareem Hunt has 25 yards rushing and the other TD.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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4:55 p.m.

The Chiefs are on the board first in their playoff game against Tennessee with Kareem Hunt, this season's NFL rushing champion, plunging in from 1 yard out for a touchdown.

The teams swapped scoreless drives before Kansas City went 81 yards in just under three minutes.

Two big plays set up the short TD run: Tyreek Hill caught a pass underneath the coverage and raced 45 yards, then tight end Travis Kelce caught a 27-yard pass to the 2-yard line.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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4:35 p.m.

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters hid out in the locker room during the national anthem before their playoff game against Tennessee, just as he has done all season.

Peters has never fully addressed the reason he protests during the anthem.

Fans unfurled a field-length flag during the rendition, and a B-2 bomber flew overhead, while the Titans and the rest of the Chiefs stood on their respective sidelines at attention.

Tennessee won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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4:30 p.m.

Jon Gruden may be getting an up-close look at his future rival.

Gruden is providing the color analysis for ESPN's broadcast of the Chiefs-Titans playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Associated Press and several other outlets have reported that Gruden will be introduced as the coach of their AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders on Tuesday.

Play-by-play man Sean McDonough congratulated Gruden on his transition back to coaching, and the former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach replied: "Nothing is official yet but these Chiefs fans have been on my case since I got here."

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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4 p.m.

The Chiefs have only won two home playoff games in franchise history, the last in January 1994, so perhaps there was some trepidation among fans about investing in a ticket this season.

Chiefs president Mark Donovan vowed that their game against the Titans would sell out, but there were still plenty of seats available late in the week.

And with an hour left before kickoff, the usual snarl of traffic getting into the parking lots was relatively light.

Several ticket brokers listed seats Saturday for less than $30 apiece, including the fees.

- Dave Skretta reporting in Kansas City

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The NFL playoffs get started Saturday with a doubleheader starting in Kansas City, where the Chiefs will try to beat Tennessee for their first home postseason win in nearly a quarter century.

The fourth-seeded Chiefs won four straight games to cap the regular season and capture their second straight AFC West title. The Titans needed a win in their regular-season finale and some help to earn a wild-card spot as the AFC's fifth seed.

The nightcap features the Falcons visiting the Rams at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

The Bills visit the Jaguars and the Panthers visit the Saints on Sunday, and the outcome of those games will determine whom the winners on Saturday will face next week.

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