ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons' high-scoring offense naturally gets most of the attention, but Atlanta's aggressive young defense has also played a part in getting the team one victory away from a Super Bowl appearance.
"We're out there trying to show that we're good, too," said safety Ricardo Allen, who had one of the Falcons' interceptions. "We were hitting out there. That's our game. The fans were rocking and so were we."
Rookie linebacker Deion Jones had the other interception off Wilson, his on a tip, and the Falcons put plenty of pressure on the mobile quarterback despite Vic Beasley Jr., the NFL sack leader, being relatively quiet in part because of some issues with his left arm.
Reserve tackle Ben Garland penetrated and got a sack of Wilson in the end zone for a safety when the quarterback stumbled after taking the snap. The other sacks were by tackle Jonathan Babineaux and defensive end Brooks Reed.
Hard-hitting rookie safety Keanu Neal led the Falcons with nine tackles, eight of them solo.
"It always feels good to get in big lick," Neal said. "We were fired up and ready to go."
Actually, the Falcons' defense wasn't at the start as Seattle drove 89 yards in 14 plays while eating up nearly the game's first nine minutes.
"We came back after that and did much better," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "The guys settled in and made more plays and tackled better."
Seattle had 49 yards rushing on the opening drive, but just 52 more the rest of the game. Thomas Rawls, who had 161 yards in the Seahawks' playoff opener against Detroit, was held to 34 by Atlanta.
Give the Falcons' defense nearly equal billing with the offense at least for a day and that will likely need to continue next week in the NFC Championship Game against either Dallas or Green Bay.
"When we do our job and take care of the ball, the defense can to their job," said Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who caught one of Matt Ryan's three touchdown passes. "That's what they did today."
--It was painful game for the Seahawks and not just because they suffered a season-ending loss. The team's medical roll was a long one.
Shead was taken to the locker room on a cart and ruled out for the rest of the game with a knee injury, allowing Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to pick on fill-ins.
"It's difficult to come in cold turkey like that in a game," said veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. "But guys came in and played as well as they could. Sometimes it works out like that."
Seattle also had injuries on the offensive line and at tight end.
Starting right guard Germain Ifedi limped off with an ankle injury on Seattle's opening drive and was replaced by Rees Odhiambo, also a rookie.
Luke Willson was evaluated for a head injury in the third quarter and fellow tight end Brandon Williams was ruled out after suffering a concussion in the first half.
The Falcons weren't injury free. Veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn was declared out after suffering a biceps injury in the first quarter.
--Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, who had one of three sacks against Ryan, didn't appreciate some of the questioning in the locker room after the loss and lashed out at a reporter with profanity and some apparent threats.
Sherman, calmly cutting off his own interview, went over to quiet Bennett and stop the confrontation.