ATLANTA — Tony Gonzalez said he has cried after losses but never after a victory.
He could not stop the tears Sunday afternoon, though, as the tight end in his 16th — and what he says will be final — season helped engineer an improbable comeback.
Gonzalez's 19-yard reception with 13 seconds left set up Matt Bryant's 49-yard field goal as Atlanta defeated Seattle 30-28 to make the conference title game.
"I still can't get over it because at the end of the game, I promise you, I thought, 'Well, here we go again. I guess it wasn't meant for us to get a playoff victory,' " Gonzalez said. "Especially for me individually. I guess it was never going to happen. What a roller coaster of emotions. I'm spent right now."
Gonzalez's first playoff victory — after three tries in 12 seasons with the Chiefs and in his third postseason game with the Falcons — came in dramatic fashion after it looked like this venture would end with another heartache for him.
The top-seeded Falcons led 20-0 at halftime and 27-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, only to watch electric Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson stun them. The Seahawks took a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds remaining on Marshawn Lynch's 2-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing Atlanta drive, Gonzalez ran right at Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner before pivoting back to the ball and shielding off Wagner with his body to make the catch.
"Tony is 'Mr. Reliable,' " QB Matt Ryan said. "He's so consistent. He did a great job with the route and created separation to give me a good window to throw it."
"Probably the best catch I've ever had and probably one of the easiest," Gonzalez said. "(Ryan) put it right in my chest. It's the most important catch I've had in my life. I will never forget it. It was wonderful."
KAEPERNICKING: Move over, Tim Tebow. Kaepernicking is all the craze now.
In the wake of San Francisco's 45-31 victory over Green Bay in Saturday night's division playoff game, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick's touchdown celebration of flexing his right arm and kissing his bicep has taken off.
Several 49ers fans have posted pictures on social media of themselves in the act at home, in bars, on the street. Others have made online videos.
Kaepernicking started doing it weeks ago, and now the quarterback often reposts on Twitter other fans' pictures of the act. Last season "Tebowing" became popular as people mimicked Tebow, a dedicated Christian, kneeling in prayer after scores when he was with Denver.
ABRAHAM DINGED AGAIN: Falcons DE John Abraham, who sprained his left ankle Dec. 30 in a meaningless regular-season finale against the Bucs, appeared to aggravate the injury early in Sunday's game and did not return.