Falcons, Patriots advance to Super Bowl LI

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ATLANTA, GA — The Atlanta Falcons spent 25 years playing in the Georgia Dome, and they saved their best for last.

Led by a four-touchdown passing performance by Matt Ryan, the Falcons ended their tenure in this stadium with their biggest home win in franchise history, routing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl LI.

“For the fans, for this city and for the teams that rocked this place for 25 years, we felt your energy from the very beginning,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. “So it’s only fitting, at the NFC Championship Game, the last game played here, we felt that too.”

It will be the Falcons’ second Super Bowl appearance. The last time came in the 1998 season, when Atlanta lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.

Their opponent is one very familiar with winning championships. The New England Patriots return to the Super Bowl stage for an NFL-record ninth time after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Tom Brady threw for 384 yards — a Patriots postseason game record — and three touchdowns. Chris Hogan caught two of those scores and set a franchise playoff record with 180 receiving yards.

“There are only two teams left standing, and I’m happy we’re one of them,” Brady said.

Super Bowl LI is February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.