The Atlanta Falcons were overmatched on paper against the undefeated Carolina Panthers, and they were apparently overmatched on the field as well.
The Falcons were pummeled from the start as the Panthers dropped them to 6-7 on the season with a 38-0 shutout loss at Bank of America Stadium.
It's Atlanta's sixth consecutive loss.
The positives were — well, there were no positives.
The Panthers got things rolling right off the bat.
Jonathan Stewart ripped off a 44-yard run on the third play of the game to set Carolina's offense is great position to score. Seven plays later, they did just that with Stewart leaping over the middle for the one-yard touchdown.
A roughing the passer penalty by O'Brien Schofield two plays prior kept the Panthers' drive alive.
That's how the rest of the game would go: a lot of Panthers scoring and a lot of the Falcons not scoring.
Atlanta's offense picked up a measly 29 yards before punting the ball away.
Stewart added 16 more yards on the ground. Two plays later, Cam Newton hit Ted Ginn on a 74-yard touchdown. Robert Alford gave up on the play after Ginn clearly pushed off, but the referees instead flagged the Falcons cornerback for illegal contact.
The Falcons failed to move the ball against on their second offensive possession, punting the ball away after seven plays.
And again, it was time for Ginn to score. This time, Newton connected with him for a 46-yard score to put the Falcons in a 21-0 hole with :20 seconds left in the quarter.
The Panthers set a franchise record with 260 yards in the first quarter.
Atlanta's offense started to move in the ball as the second quarter got underway. Matt Ryan found Roddy White for a 12-yard gain on fourth down and an extra 15 yards was tacked on with an unsportsmanlike penalty on Roman Harper.
However, things would go south on the next play. Ryan was sacked by Kawann Short and lost the football. Julio Jones recovered it, but the Falcons lost 26 yards on the play after being at Carolina's 20-yard line. The Falcons picked up just six yards the next two plays and came away with no points.
Atlanta's defense forced Carolina to punt for the first time on the next drive, but it didn't matter as the offense still couldn't get anything going.
The Panthers put together another scoring drive before the half — a 10-play, 81-yard drive — and took a 28-0 commanding lead over the reeling Falcons.
Trust me when I say the third quarter lasted forever.
The Falcons were on offense to start the second half, but with an opportunity to put the first half behind them, they instead picked up just eight yards.
Atlanta's defense forced a three and out — and Vic Beasley picked up his third sack on the season — but the first of three Falcons turnovers popped up on the following drive.
Devonta Freeman caught a two-yard pass from Ryan, but fumbled after taking a hit from A.J. Klein. Kony Ealy recovered the ball, and the Panthers put more points on the board.
It was time for another Atlanta fumble. This time, Short sacked Ryan and recovered the fumble himself.
Four plays later, Fozzy Whittaker scored on a 16-yard touchdown run to make it a 38-0 game.
The Falcons responded with another turnover. Ryan was intercepted by Luke Kuechly on a pass intended for Justin Hardy. Thankfully, the Panthers didn't score.
Derek Anderson took over for Newton in the final quarter.
After Carolina's possession ended in a punt, Atlanta threatened to score for just the second time all day.
Julio Jones started the drive off with a 46-yard catch-and-run. Then Nick Williams caught a deflected pass and turned in a 29-yard gain. Atlanta was in great position at the Carolina 6, but again things went downhill.
The Falcons picked up no yards on the next three plays, and Roddy White was stopped two yards short of the end zone on fourth down.
Jake Long did see his first game action after Ryan Schraeder was pulled from the game for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
It was an immensely depressing afternoon, to say the least. Believe it or not, the Falcons were once 5-0. That seems so long ago.