KEY PLAYER INJURED--123012 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons John Abraham is helped off the field after being injured in the second half of the season's final game against Tampa Bay in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, December 30, 2012. JOHNNY CRAWFORD / JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM
Falcons defensive end John Abraham aggravated his left ankle sprain in the second quarter and did not return against Seattle on Sunday.
“After awhile, I just couldn’t push off of it anymore,” Abraham said.
Abraham was injured in the fourth quarter of the Tampa Bay game in the regular season finale when head coach Mike Smith elected to play his starters despite having the No. 1 seed wrapped up.
Abraham plans to be ready for the 49ers.
“Oh yeah, you know me, you can’t keep me out of that game,” Abraham said. “We’re going to treat the (heck) out of it.”
Offense stalled: After a touchdown drive on their first possession of the second half, the offense stalled until the game-winning drive.
“We couldn’t get a first down,” right tackle Tyson Clabo said. “We couldn’t get them off the field. They were taking advantage of us. Obviously, they weren’t ready to be done. They fought. They fought so hard. Unfortunately, when you have two teams that battle like that, somebody has got to go home.”
The Seahawks had won the eight of their last nine games and were generally considered the hottest team in the playoffs.
“I have a lot of respect for that team,” Clabo said. “They played hard. They are young and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
Big stop: Safety William Moore, who was playing his first game since returning from a hamstring injury he suffered against New Orleans on Nov. 29, had a key stop of Seattle fullback Michael Robinson on a fourth-and-1 from the 11 in the second quarter.
Seattle coach Peter Carroll, down 13-0, elected not to try a field goal attempt.
“That was just a good read because I was in man-to-man coverage, but from watching film, the formation, I just shot my gun and knew what they were going to run,” Moore said.
Film study paid off for Moore.
“It was just one of those plays that stuck in my mind and when I lined up on my man, I just knew it even before the snap count,” Moore said. “I jumped it and it ended up being the right play.”
Coffman’s grab: Backup tight end Chase Coffman had a nice caught along the sidelines for a 16-yard grab to set up Gonzalez’ 1-yard touchdown caught in the first quarter.
Coffman caught just one pass for 11 yards during the regular season.
“That was a pretty nice catch,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We’ve seen it in practice from Chase. That was huge for us too.”
Looking ahead: Some of the Falcons stayed up late to see San Francisco defeat Green Bay, 45-31, on Saturday night.
“I think we have a tougher task coming up,” linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. We’ll be ready to play.”
Ryan said he went asleep on the game, but the 49ers had Gonzalez’ attention.
“We still have some unfinished business,” Gonzalez said. “We have a very tough opponent coming in here. Hopefully, we can get the victory next week.”
Etc.: Tickets for the NFC championship game go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. There is a four ticket limit and they can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, any Tickermaster location or by calling 800-745-3000. … Bryant has now kicked six game-winning field goals since joining the Falcons in 2009, including three this season … Ryan has more fourth quarter or overtime comebacks – 22 — than any other quarterback in his first five seasons since 1966.
In one corner of the Falcons’ locker room, tight end Tony Gonzalez was holding court with reporters, telling them how he’s cherishing the last few weeks of his NFL career before heading into retirement.
Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora has quietly gone about his business this season. As things have imploded around him during a disastrous 3-10 season, Umenyiora has remained professional, a steady force on the field and in the locker room for his younger teammates to lean on.