Panthers Defeat Falcons in NFC South Divisional Tilt

ATLANTA – The Carolina Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 19-13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Carolina offense started on the field and was immediately taken off by a fumbled recovered by the Falcons. Atlanta offense would have the ball deep in Carolina territory. The Falcons would capitalize off the turnover with a 46-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo. Atlanta’s offense went 4 plays for negative two yards, Matt Ryan sacked in the series.

The Carolina offense refused to let the early fumble affect them in the next possession they imposed their will on the Falcons defense and moved the chains. Atlanta defense would hold up strong against the Panthers offense in the red zone. Carolina would answer with a 29-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez to tie the game three all. The Panthers offense would go 15 plays and 64 yards on the series. The first quarter would with both teams tied at 3. The Falcons offense appeared to wake up as Matt Ryan seemed to begin to get comfortable in the pocket.

Atlanta started that second quarter in Carolina territory continuing a solid offensive drive from the first quarter. They would complete the eight plays 61-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Cordarrelle Patterson to take the lead. The Panthers offense could not get over the hill, they settled for a 51-yard field goal by Gonzalez to cut into the lead. Atlanta’s offensive drive was put to a stop by the Carolina defense, when Matt Ryan’s pass was picked off by Shaq Thompson.

The Panthers offense could not capitalize on the turnover. Defense on both sides began to pick up the pace in the second quarter. Gonzalez once again would come through for the Carolina offense connecting on a 57-yard field goal at the end of the half, making score Atlanta 10 and Carolina 9.

The Falcons offense struggled in the first possession in the second half. Carolina’s defense applied pressure and sacked Ryan ending Atlanta’s first offensive drive. The Panthers office move the ball down field with a 20-yard rush by Sam Darnold that would catapult them into Falcon territory. The offense controlled the clock for 8 minutes in the 3rd quarter.

Yet the offense again had to rest on the shoulders of Gonzalez who once again connected with a 23-yard field goal to salvage the drive. Carolina took the lead for the first time in the game. The Falcons offense would attempt to respond however they would fall
short with a missed 45- yard field goal by Koo.

The Carolina offense once again controlled the clock and moved the chains deep into Falcons territory. After a hard collision Sam Darnold would be taken out of the game and replaced by PJ Walker. It was confirmed that quarterback Sam Darnold suffered a concussion and would not return to the game. The Panthers would eventually move in for a touchdown with a 6-yard rush by running back Chuba Hubbard. Carolina had advanced their lead by 9 making it a two-possession game with 6:30 left in the
fourth quarter.

The Falcons offense continued to feel the pressure from the Carolina offense suffering another 4 and out with a Matt Ryan sack. Atlanta’s offense would move the ball down field and end the drive with Ryans pass intercepted by Gilmore for Carolina. Which would seal the victory for the Panthers. Atlanta would drive the ball down field to set Koo up for a 53-yard field goal to end the game.

In the post-game press conference, Coach Arthur Smith stated, “we didn’t do enough on offense” he further congratulated the Panthers for their execution. Matt Ryan, stated, “I thought we had chances, we didn’t make the plays when we needed to.”

The Falcons fall to three and four on the season and move on to face division rival New Orleans Saints. The Panthers move to four and four as they go to New England next week to face the Patriots.

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