The last time the Falcons and Panthers faced off, Carolina helped end Dan Quinn’s tenure in Atlanta. Matt Ryan’s end zone interception ultimately sealed the deal, but the entire game was an example of how to not win in the NFL. Can the Falcons do better the second go round? Let’s see how they fared.
The Falcons elected to receive the ball and it paid off. Relying heavily on Julio Jones, the team sliced right through the Panthers defense. After being stopped short and considering going for it on 4th down, the Falcons take the easy 3 with Younghoe Koo punching it in.
Falcons 3, Panthers 0
Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers start from their 25 with an incomplete pass, a short pass to Robby Anderson for 5 and on 3rd and 5, and an incomplete pass, but a defensive pass interference call on Isaiah Oliver keeps the drive alive. Unnecessary roughness by Deion Jones gives 15 and Mike Davis follows it up with a 7 yard run. He picks up the first on a reception, then runs for another first. Curtis Samuel takes the next carry in from 12 for the touchdown.
Falcons 3, Panthers 7
From the 25, Todd Gurley runs for 4 and Matt Ryan connects with Jones for 13 to convert. Gurley runs for 3 and Ryan finds Julio for 20. Rinse. Repeat. Gurley runs for no gain, Ryan is forced to throw it away and a false start sets up 3rd and 15. On that down, Ryan connects with Ridley for 16 who gets the first. Brian Hill bounces a run outside for 12, and after 2 missed passes to Julio (with some no-call penalties) and Ryan is sacked on 3rd down. Koo punches in the short field goal.
Falcons 6, Panthers 7
After 30 kickoff penalties are called on Atlanta, Carolina starts from their 34 with a pass to Anderson for 20 yards. Davis is stuffed by Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones for a 4 yard loss and gets it back on 2nd down. On 3rd and 9, Isaiah Oliver blitzes and gets the sack of Bridgewater. Before the punt, the quarter mercifully comes to an end.
Falcons 6, Panthers 7
After the punt, Atlanta starts with a Matt Ryan interception to Donte Jackson.
Carolina takes over on the Falcons 40 and Mike Davis picks up 6 on the ground. He picks up 2 more and on 3rd and 2 Curtis Samuel gets the pass to pick up 4 and the first down. On the flea flicker, Bridgewater hits Curtis Samuel downfield for the touchdown.
Falcons 6, Panthers 14
From the 25, the Falcons start with a pitch to Hill for 8. After he runs for 4 and the first down, Ryan hits Hayden Hurst for 14. After Hill drops a pass, Ryan hits Hurst for 8 and on 3rd and 2 Qadree Ollison carries it for 3 and the first. The toss to Hill gets 1 and Ryan connects with Ridley for 19 yards. From the Panthers 14, Hill runs for no gain and on 2nd down, Matt Ryan scrambles and takes it in for the TD himself.
Falcons 13, Panthers 14
Bridgewater is drilled but completes the 21 yard pass to Ian Thomas. Curtis Samuel runs for 9 and Davis picks up 1 after him. After a short pass to Anderson and a Davis run for 3, on 3rd and 3 Samuel runs but is stopped a yard short of the first. The offense stays on the field and on 4th down Foye Oluokun stops Teddy Bridgewater from converting.
Ryan starts the drive with a screen to Russell Gage that picks up 19. Christian Blake gets 7 on the reception and Hill runs it up the middle for 8 and the first. Hill is tackled for a 1 yard loss, Blake gets the 6 yard completion and on 3rd and 4 Ryan scrambles for it, but a defensive holding penalty grants 5 more yards. After Julio can’t pull in a TD catch and Matt Ryan is sacked, on 3rd and 16 Ryan scrambles for 4 yards and Atlanta settles for the field goal, which Koo punches in.
Falcons 16, Panthers 14
The Panthers offense starts with a Bridgewater scramble for 8 and a pass to Ian Thomas for 2. Teddy scrambles again for 14, Davis picks up 5 and a short pass to Davis is blown up by Keanu Neal in what looked like a fumble but is ruled an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 5, Anderson gets the catch but A.J. Terrell stops him short. The offense ultimately stays on for 4th and 2 and the Falcons stop Mike Davis yet again. Grady Jarrett and Foye Oluokun on the stop.
The Falcons offense takes over on downs and Gurley is taken down for a 4 yard loss. Ryan finds Julio downfield for 23 and the first. Gurley takes the draw for 11 and the first, gets 2 on the ground twice and on 3rd and 6 Ryan is pressured and forced to throw it away. Defensive holding grants the first down though. A Hurst drop and a Gurley run for 1 sets up 3rd and 9 and the Falcons can’t convert on the short pass to Gage. Koo punches it in again.
Falcons 19, Panthers 14
From their 31, Teddy throws short on a blitz by Deion Jones and Chris Manhertz picks up 6 on the reception. On 3rd and 4, Bridgewater throw it too far for Samuel forcing the 4th down. The Panthers fake the punt, get 28 on the carry and get the first down. Davis runs for 3, and after a tipped pass Dante Fowler gets called for his awful hit on Bridgewater, sticking his leg out. P.J. Walker comes in at QB and takes a shot but can’t connect. Anderson picks up 3 on the reverse and on 3rd and 7 the Panthers can’t convert. Joey Sly punches in the 39 yard field goal.
Falcons 19, Panthers 17
Gurley picks up 3 to start the drive, Hill catches a pass for 1 and on 3rd and 6 Matt Ryan scrambles again for 10 and the first. Hill runs for 13 and after a few fluky plays, we head to the final quarter.
Falcons 19, Panthers 17
On 1st and 5, Gurley picks up 4 and Ryan connects with Hurst for 8 and the first. After a toss to Gurley gains 1, Julio takes the reception for 9 and the first. Gurley runs it for 7 and again for 5 to setup first and goal. Gurley finally runs it in for the TD. Koo misses the extra point.
Falcons 25, Panthers 17
The Panthers start with a run by Mike Davis for 8 and another for 12. An incomplete pass by Walker is followed by Bridgewater coming back in and completing a pass to Anderson for a gain of 5. On 3rd and 5, Blidi Wreh-Wilson stops Curtis Samuel immediately on the pass to force the punt.
From their 5, the Falcons offense starts with a 2 yard run by Brian Hill followed by a pass to Hill for 8 yards and the first. Hill gains 1 and defensive holding grants the first. Hill gains 3 and Hurst takes a reception for 5 and on 3rd and 2 Ryan is sacked by Brian Burns but a defensive penalty keeps the drive alive. Ryan then finds Julio for 20 yards and another first. Gurley is blown up for 4 on the run and Gage can’t pull in the pass on 2nd down. On 3rd and 14, Gurley takes the toss and goes out after 5 yards, stopping the clock. Atlanta punts.
From their 5, the Panthers offense starts with a 13 yard gain by D.J. Moore. On 1st and 5, Bridgewater runs for 3 and Ian Thomas catches the short pass for a first as we hit the 2 minute warning. After Bridgewater throws it away, Deion Jones comes in on 2nd down and gets the sack. On 3rd and 17, Bridgewater completes the pass to D.J. Moore for 32 and the first. An incomplete pass and scramble by Teddy sets up 3rd and 6, and Bridgewater is picked off by Blidi-Wreh Wilson.
The Falcons go into the victory formation to close out the game.
Final: Falcons 25, Panthers 17