The Falcons offense unexpectedly lost a key starter with Calvin Ridley out due to a personal matter. This critical division matchup is for the race to the bottom. If Atlanta loses, they can’t get above .500 and they retake the crown as the bottom of the NFC South. Win - and they’re in the thick of the playoff conversation. How did it play out? Read on to find out.
After Atlanta wins the toss and defers, the Carolina offense takes the field at the 25 after the touchback. On the first play, Chuba Hubbard fumbles on the run and Atlanta recovers.
The Falcons offense starts with a run by Mike Davis for 2 yards. Ryan is sacked on 2nd down by Haason Reddick and on 3rd and 12 , Ryan throws incomplete targeting Kyle Pitts. Younghoe Koo comes on and punches in the 46 yard field goal.
Falcons 3, Panthers 0
The Panthers offense starts from their 25 with a run by Hubbard for 2 and another for 4. Sam Darnold hits Tommy Tremble for 4 to convert. Ameer Abdullah runs for 9 and Darnold sneaks it to move the sticks. Hubbard runs for 10 and Darnold sneaks again for the first. Darnold then hits Abdullah for the screen that picks up 17. Abdullah runs for 2 and Shi Smith loses 2 on the receiver screen as A.J. Terrell blows it up. On 3rd and 10, Darnold hits Tremble for 13 yards and puts the Panthers in the red zone. Hubbard runs for 1, Darnold hits D.J. Moore who can’t secure it in the end zone. On 3rd and 9, Ade Ogundeji bats down the pass. Panthers nail the short field goal and tie it up.
Falcons 3, Panthers 3
After Patterson returns the ball to the 20, the Atlanta offense starts with a pass from Matt Ryan to Mike Davis for 4 yards. Davis picks up 4 on the ground and Ryan’s throw is tipped and falls incomplete on 3rd down. Falcons punt.
From their 12 after the punt and a false start, Carolina starts with a run by Hubbard that loses 2 yards. After Darnold is pressured and throws incomplete, on 3rd and 17 the short pass to Ian Thomas gains 10 and the Panthers have to punt.
With the ball on their 39, the Atlanta offense starts with a pass to Olamide Zaccheaus for 12 and the first. Davis runs for 1 and the pass to Pitts falls incomplete, but he draws the pass interference and the first. After a false start on Hennessy, Ryan hits Davis for a short 3 yard pass. Ryan connects with Hayden Hurst for 7 and on 3rd and 5 Ryan hits Tajae Sharpe for 7 and the first as the quarter comes to an end.
Falcons 3, Panthers 3
On the Carolina 23 with 1st and 10, the quarter starts with a 1 yard loss on the run by Patterson. Davis then breaks out a nice run for 9 and on 3rd and 2 Matt Ryan hits Cordarelle Patterson on the short pass and he turns it into a 15 yard touchdown.
Falcons 10, Panthers 3
After the touchback, Royce Freeman starts the Carolina drive with runs of 6, 2 and 5 for the first down. Darnold then hits D.J. Moore deep for 23 and they’re in Falcons territory. Darnold hits Abdullah for 7 who then runs again for 2. Offensive holding sets up 3rd and 11 and Darnold scrambles for 7 but is short of the first. Carolina punches in the 51 yard field goal.
Falcons 10, Panthers 6
The Falcons offense starts from their 25 with a pass to Kyle Pitts for 11 and the first. Davis runs for no gain and takes a short pass for 2. On 3rd and 8, Ryan can’t connect with Pitts but another obvious DPI call gives them the first. Patterson runs for 5 and 2 and on 3rd and 3, Ryan hits Pitts for 2 yards but he’s a foot short of the first. The offense stays on and the pass to Patterson picks up 1 and the first. Davis then breaks off a huge run for 18 yards. Davis runs for 2 and Ryan is picked off by Shaq Thompson on the next pass. A good drive ends without points.
Chuba Hubbard starts their drive with 2 on the ground and Royce Freeman drops the 2nd down pass. Defensive holding is added to a Darnold run for the first. Hubbard runs for 6 and after the 2 minute warning Darnold’s passes to Tremble and Abdullah both fall incomplete. Panthers opt to punt it and Atlanta gets the ball back with just under 2 minutes starting from their 13.
The 2 minute drive for Atlanta starts with a run by Patterson for 8 and another that loses 2 yards. On 3rd and 4, Ryan scrambles for 3 yards but is short of the first. Falcons punt.
With 1 timeout and 24 seconds left, Carolina takes over on their 27 with a pass for 9 yards to Hubbard. Darnold then hits Moore for a big 21 yard gain putting them on the Falcons 43 with 12 seconds left. The short pass to Moore gains 4 more with 8 seconds left on the clock. After an incomplete pass, their kicker comes on for the 57 yard field goal and punches it in.
Falcons 10, Panthers 9
After the touchback, the Falcons offense kicks off the second half with a pass to Cordarelle Patterson for 18 yards. He then runs for 3 and takes a quick pass for 1. On 3rd and 6, Ryan is sacked and the promising start is squandered. Atlanta punts.
From their 17, the Carolina offense drive starts with a Freeman run for 6 and another run for 3 and Hubbard runs for 3 to move the sticks. Hubbard then runs for 6 and Darnold scrambles for 20 and puts them in Atlanta territory. Robby Anderson is destroyed on the pass and it falls incomplete. Hubbard runs it for 9 and on 3rd and 1 Darnold sneaks for the first. Abdullah runs for 2 and Darnold is attacked by Grady Jarrett to throw incomplete. On 3rd and 9, Darnold hits Moore for the first. After an Atlanta offsides, Hubbard runs for 6 and sets up first and goal from the Atlanta 10. Hubbard runs for 4 and the pass to Tremble gains 1. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Darnold can’t connect with Moore for the TD. Carolina takes the easy field goal for the lead.
Falcons 10, Panthers 12
Ryan and the Falcons start from the 25 with a run by Patterson for 14 yards. Ryan’s pass to Hurst loses 3 yards and the pass to Patterson gains a few, but a roughing the passer penalty gifts Atlanta 15 and the first. Davis runs for 5 and Ryan fumbles the snap on 2nd down for a loss of 2. On 3rd and 5, Ryan connects with Sharpe for 9 yards and the first. Patterson runs for 5 as the quarter comes to an end.
Falcons 10, Panthers 12
Davis runs for 3 to setup 3rd and 2 from the Carolina 27. On the key down, Ryan looks for Pitts deep but he can’t hold onto it. Younghoe Koo comes on and can’t punch it in from 45.
Falcons 10, Panthers 12
Ameer Abdullah starts the Carolina drive with three straight 6 yard runs. Hubbard then comes in for 3 on the ground and on 3rd and 1 he runs it again for 6 and the first. He runs again for 6 more before Abdullah is stopped for a 2 yard loss. On 3rd and 6, Darnold connects with Abdullah for 11 yards and another first. Abdullah runs for 1 and Darnold’s pass to D.J. Moore goes incomplete. On 3rd and 9, Darnold scrambles for 11 and the first from the Atlanta 11. Darnold runs for 9 and is leveled by Foye Oluokun and has to come off the field. P.J. Walker comes on at QB. Defensive offsides sets up 1st and goal from the 1. The first pass falls incomplete and a delay of game penalty makes it 2nd and goal from the 6. Hubbard finishes the drive with a 6 yard run for the touchdown.
Falcons 10, Panthers 19
From their 25, the Falcons start with a deep shot to Pitts that falls incomplete. Paterson runs for 1 and on 3rd and 9, Matt Ryan is sacked yet again for a 9 yard loss. Atlanta goes 3 and out and is forced to punt.
From their 36, Carolina starts with a run by Hubbard that loses 1. Hubbard runs for 1 and on 3rd and 10, Hubbard runs for 5 and Carolina punts and Avery Williams adds a nice return to put it on the Atlanta 25.
The offense starts with a 16 yard pass to Sharpe and a 5 yarder to Mike Davis. Davis takes the next reception for 8 and the first. Ryan misses deep to Sharpe and finds him left on the next pass for 15. Ryan is then picked off for the 2nd time after trying to force it to Pitts.
Carolina starts with a false start and a run by Freeman for 3. Hubbard runs for 2 and 1 and Carolina punts.
Ryan finds Sharpe for 10 yards starting from their 40. Roughing the passer gifts 15 and the first. Younghoe Koo comes on and punches in the 53 yard field goal with 16 seconds left.
Falcons 13, Panthers 19
Atlanta goes for the onside kick and Carolina recovers. Victory formation for the win.
Final: Falcons 13, Panthers 19