We’re back! After skipping the Dolphins due to the ho-hum history between the two teams, we have an honest-to-goodness divisional rival lined up to talk about this week. As is custom, our question concerns the defining moment in the history of this particular rivalry, which is between the Falcons and the lightly disliked Carolina Panthers.
This has actually been a lopsided rivalry, as Atlanta-Carolina represents our favorite team’s second-best win percentage against an opponent ever. They’re 33-19 overall, which is also their second-highest win total, and have won nine of their last 11 games versus the Panthers. Especially in the history of the Falcons, a team well under .500 as a franchise, this rivalry stands out as a lopsided one.
So what is the defining moment of this one-sided, dominated-over-the-last-decade by the Falcons history? I know there’s going to be eye rolling and sighing over the name I’m about to type, but it absolutely has to be one of the defining and most fun moments of the past decade-plus for Atlanta: Julio Jones’ 300 yard annihilation of the Panthers, which featured in Matt Ryan’s record-setting 503 yard effort.
On October 2, 2016 Ryan and Jones just played pitch-and-catch all afternoon. The effort saw Julio, who was coming off one of the quieter stretches of his career, put up 170 yards by halftime and repeatedly torch any and all Panthers trying to cover him. Ryan connected with nine receivers in total in this one, tossing touchdowns to four players, and thoughtfully added 14 yards on 4 scrambles as the Falcons beat Carolina 48-33. The absolute highlight and singular moment that’s worth calling out was Julio’s 75 grab for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, which poured a barge full of salt in the wound for the Panthers.
Few things sum up a one-sided rivalry like one of the most one-sided and comically great efforts in Falcons history, so for once, we get to leave this article series feeling happy. What would be your pick for the defining moment?