FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. —
Finally, after the Falcons squandered a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and seemed on the verge of handing Gonzalez another playoff loss, he hauled in a 19-yard pass, picking up a few extra yards with a nifty move after the catch, to set up Matt Bryant's winning 49-yard field goal with just 8 seconds remaining.
When it was done, Gonzalez broke down in tears — the first time he can ever remember crying after a win.
Of course, he had never won in the playoffs, losing his first five tries.
"I was thinking, 'I guess it's not meant to be,'" he recalled. "Then to go out there and get it done, to get that victory the way we did, the floodgates opened in me."
After waiting 16 years to get that first postseason victory, the idea of winning two more in the next three weeks doesn't seem so farfetched.
If that happens, Gonzalez sounds like any uncertainty over his planned retirement will surely be wiped away.
"That's the goal: win a championship and get out of here," he said. "We're right at the door. The door is opening for us. We've just got to push it open a little bit more."