Cumberland Times-News

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January 16, 2013

Bryant keeps coming through in clutch for Falcons

(Continued)

Bryant has really been a godsend for the top-seeded Falcons (14-3) this season. When Atlanta was on the verge of an upset loss to Carolina, Bryant connected on a 40-yard field goal with 5 seconds left for a 30-28 victory. When the team struggled against lowly Oakland, he knocked through a mammoth 55-yarder with 1 second remaining for a 23-20 victory.

But no kick was bigger than the one he made last Sunday. Shaking off the shock of blowing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Falcons completed two long passes in the final half-minute to set up Bryant’s winning kick.

The Seahawks called a timeout trying to freeze Bryant, who actually missed wide-right on what was really a practice kick.

But when it counted, there was never any doubt.

“For whatever reason, I feel like I’m hitting the ball a lot better now than I have in a long time,” the 37-year-old Bryant said. “Even that 49-yarder, I mean, it would’ve been good from 60 yards plus. I smoked that one. To be honest with you, I think that’s the best ball I’ve ever hit.”

No kicker this season other than Bryant and Suisham has more than one winning field goal in the last minute of regulation, according to STATS.

But this is nothing new for Bryant, who’s always had a burning desire to win at everything he does, who’s always been a guy who wanted the ball in his hands — or on his foot — at the end of the game.

He still remembers losing a Little League game when he was 7 or 8 years old, then demanding that his mother get him moved to a better team. He shows no mercy on his 6-year-old son, even when they’re playing a game of checkers just for fun.

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