CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 11: William Moore #25 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after making an interception against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
We continue our series with a game that features moments of defensive brilliance and a whole lot of mistakes. Perfect for a list like this, no?
Forget the preamble. We're jumping right in, and you'll see a few familiar names on this list.
Ray Edwards Drops Cam Newton
Newton is mobile. He's strong. Any team would struggle to bring him down.
Ray Edwards didn't care about any of that. On the Panthers' first drive, he had a critical 11 yard sack on second down, flashing the kind of superior athleticism Falcons fans have wanted to see on every play. That loss gave the Panthers a 3rd and 17 and they promptly dithered away their next play. The result was a punt, and you can thank Ray for that.
Sean Weatherspoon Crushes Cam Newton
Sensing a pattern here?
After Newton found Steve Smith for a 20 yard pass, the Falcons needed a stop. Weatherspoon tried his damndest to get them one, planting Newton for a six yard loss. His aptitude for getting into the backfield is growing by the game.
Unfortunately, the Panthers did score just a couple of plays later. 'Spoon still gave it his best shot.
Sean Weatherspoon's Magic Moment
AnOldBird rightly credited this play as a turning point for the defense.
On Carolina's first drive of the second half, they inched toward a first down. On a critical 3rd and 3, Newton tried to find Jeremy Shockey across the middle. The hated tight end already had a touchdown in the game, and a first down could have kept the good times rolling for the Panthers.
Instead, 'Spoon sold out, lunging across the field and swatting the pass down. It was a superlative effort that stalled the drive, and the Falcons never looked back.
Mike Peterson Picks Another Pass
Fresh off an incredible play a week ago, Peterson just keeps dipping into the fountain of youth. He's a regular Ponce de Leon, this one.
With 9:34 left in the third quarter, Newton looked for Jonathan Stewart and found Mo Pete instead. Peterson took it four yards. The Falcons followed it up with a two-playing scoring drive, so I'd say this was a pretty successful play.
William Moore Also Picks A Pass
Once C4 got back into the game, he immediately started making an impact.
That said, it wasn't until late in the third quarter that he came up with this gem of an interception on another errant Newton pass. Newton was looking for Brandon LaFell deep across the middle, but Moore diagnosed the play and came up with the ball.
Displaying superior athleticism, Moore got 29 yards on the post-interception return, as well. It was good to see him back in the game.
What's your defensive play of the game?
Who had the defensive play of the game against the Panthers?
Ray Edwards (14 votes)
Sean Weatherspoon (for the sack) (31 votes)
Sean Weatherspoon (pass deflection) (77 votes)
Mike Peterson (88 votes)
William Moore (49 votes)
Other (3 votes)
262 total votes