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“We fought hard to get back to this point and we’re definitely proud of being here.” Flacco said. “We feel like it’s going to take a lot for somebody to come and kick us off that field come the AFC championship game.”

Lewis announced before they beat Indianapolis in the wild-card round that this was the last of his 17 pro seasons. It’s still going.

“When you look back at it and let the emotions calm down, it will probably be one of the greatest victories in Ravens history,” Lewis said. “It’s partly because of the way everything was stacked against us coming in.”

Peyton Manning lost in his first postseason appearance with the AFC West-winning Broncos (13-4), who had won their last 11 games to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs. They wasted it by giving up long plays, negating a record-setting performance by kick returner Trindon Holliday.

Holliday ran back the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a TD. He went 90 yards with a first-quarter punt return to become the first player to score on one of each in a playoff game.

“He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and for us to come in here and confuse him the way we did, and make the plays we did?” Lewis said. “We gave up two big special teams touchdowns, but the bottom line is, but we kept fighting.”

Seahawks (12-5) at Falcons (13-3)

Oddly, there might be more doubts floating around the home team with the spiffy record than the visitors.

While Seattle has won six in a row, erased its reputation as a road flop with three straight away victories _ including last week at Washington _ and has the league’s stingiest defense.

It’s NFC South champ Atlanta, 0-3 in the postseason under coach Mike Smith and with Matt Ryan at quarterback, that probably faces more pressure.

“We’ve been disappointed a few times,” said center Todd McClure, a Falcon for 13 years. “I think we’ve got guys in this locker room who are hungry and ready to get over that hump.”

One of them is Tony Gonzalez, the career leader in nearly all receiving categories among tight ends. In 16 pro seasons, Gonzalez never has won a playoff game. And he’s said this very likely is his final year in the NFL.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “I really, really, really want to win this game.”

To get it, Gonzalez, Ryan and star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White must contend with the league’s most physical defense, a unit that completely shut down the Redskins for three quarters in the 24-14 wild-card win.

“I expect our guys to try to play like they always play,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “They don’t need to change anything because we’re not doing anything different, we’re going to try and hang with them, and we’ll find out what happens.”

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