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3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down in Week 2 win over Panthers

Ah, that’s more like it.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons entered the win column Sunday with a 31-24 divisional victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Who’s up and who’s down in the win?


Matt Ryan

After struggling last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan returned to form versus the Panthers. He was absolutely surgical, completing 23 of 28 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns while also accounting for two (!) rushing touchdowns, including a leaping eight-yard score.

Tevin Coleman

The Panthers hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 21 games — until Coleman happened. With Devonta Freeman sidelined with a knee contusion, Coleman carried the load and racked up 106 yards on 16 carries. He also hauled in four passes for 18 yards. Rookie Ito Smith also had success on the ground with 46 yards on nine attempts. With Freeman slated to be out for at least a couple more weeks, it appears as though the Falcons’ run game will be fine.

Steve Sarkisian

Atlanta’s offensive coordinator caught a lot of heat for the Falcons’ red zone failures on Week 1, so let’s give him credit the perfect showing yesterday. The Falcons scored touchdowns on each of its four red zone trips, and the offense more like it did in 2016. Sarkisian still has a lot to prove, but at least it appears he is on the right track.


Duke Riley

Deion Jones was sorely missed. It may be time to come to terms with the fact that Riley may not be the player the Falcons thought he would be when they drafted him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He accidentally broke up what would’ve been a beautiful one-handed interception by Ricardo Allen after he ran into the safety. He also missed a routine tackle on D.J. Moore, allowing the rookie to scamper away for a 51-yard score. Riley needs to quickly improve or the Falcons’ linebacking corps is in trouble.

Vic Beasley

With the Panthers missing three of its five starting offensive linemen, it seemed like it would be a great chance for Beasley to feast. Instead, the former first-round draft pick was pretty nonexistent. At this rate, it shouldn’t be surprising if the Falcons don’t re-sign him.

Damontae Kazee

In his first start, Kazee was booted for a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Cam Newton early in the second quarter after the quarterback had already given himself up on a first-down run. The second-year player should expect a hefty fine, too. Kazee isn’t a dirty player, but he has to be smarter in those situations.

Who’s up and who’s down for you?