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Final game in dome bodes well for Falcons
People mill around outside the Georgia Dome Sunday before the NFC Championship game. - photo by Photo by Daniel Waugh

In the final home football game in the Georgia Dome, the Atlanta Falcons were able to punch their ticket to Super Bowl 51 with a dominating 44-21 victory Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

The Falcons were not going to have history repeat itself from 2012, when they lost in the championship game at home to the San Francisco 49ers.

The first half was all Atlanta, as the Falcons started with a 13-play, 80-yard opening drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Mohamed Sanu.

Ryan also ran for a 14 yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, and capped off the half with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with five seconds to play. With an addition of a Matt Bryant field goal, the Falcons shut out Green Bay 24-0 going into halftime.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried to do what he could for the Packers, throwing 119 yards off 12-17 passing, with 1 interception. The running game for the Packers was also nonexistent, with only 19 rushing yards on three carries, and a fumble.

Atlanta picked up in the third quarter where they left off with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Jones, extending the lead to 31-0.

Aaron Rodgers was able to retaliate and put points on the board with a two-yard pass to Davante Adams.

Though Green Bay was able to score 21 points in the second half, the Falcons were too much for the Packers, and Atlanta finished strong, winning their first NFC Championship since 1998.

Ryan finished, throwing 27-38 with 392 passing yards and five touchdowns (4 passing, 1 rushing). Ryan also finished with a quarterback rating of 98.4, a passer rating of 139.4, and was not sacked by Packer defense. Jones had nine catches, 180 yards, and two touchdowns.

Rodgers finished with three touchdowns and one interception, completing 27 out of 45 passes for 287 yards.

Atlanta now shifts focus to Super Bowl 51, as they will take on the New England Patriots Feb. 5 in Houston, Texas.

A total of 71,127 fans attended the final game in the Georgia Dome’s 25-year history. Starting in the 2017 season, the Falcons will move to the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

The stadium will also be home to Atlanta United, who make their MLS debut this year. Atlanta United will play their first eight home games at Bobby Dodd Stadium, then play their first game in the Mercedes Benz Stadium on July 30, when the stadium is scheduled to open.

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