Sunday was ultimately a game that the Atlanta faithful would like to forget.
Falling 30-20 to their heated rival, the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons looked poised to make a late game comeback, but too many failed attempts in the first half definitely came back to haunt them later. Although the Panthers had just three wins to their name before Sunday’s win, they were able to dominate the first two quarters completely and almost have the Falcons in a hole that seemed too deep to recover from even before the half.
Going into the half, the Falcons trailed 16-0 and only had 35 total yards and two first downs. In the third quarter, the Falcons finally found momentum after Matt Ryan converted a sneaky fourth and four, with a four yard shovel pass to Jason Snelling. On the next play, Ryan was able to hit Roddy White in the end zone for their first touchdown of the day.
On their ensuing drive, Ryan found target Julio Jones on an 11-yard pass, to close the gap, 24-13. But, Atlanta’s attempt at a two-point conversion faltered, when White’s catch was ruled incomplete as he bobbled the ball out of bounds. Atlanta had several missed attempts at a potential run on following drives and Carolina put the game away when DeAngelo Williams ran 53-yards to put the Panthers up 30-13.
Atlanta’s Michael Turner scored their final touchdown with under a minute left, but it was just too late for Atlanta to play catch up at that point.
After the game, Ryan stated that they know they are in a position where everything is laid down in front of them as far as gaining post season momentum, but they have got to start concentrating on getting back on that winning streak and put this loss behind them. Snapping their three game winning streak, Carolina outplayed the Falcons in all aspects of Sunday’s game.
As far as Carolina is concerned, they definitely lived up to defensive end Greg Hardy’s promise for “payback” and “punishment”, after suffering that week four loss to the Falcons earlier this season. Plagued with injuries and playing without four of their starters, a struggling Cam Newton still threw for 287-yards, two touchdowns and scored on a 72-yard run. Atlanta’s defense was unable to do what we have seen them do in the last few weeks and that is control the game. Newton added a career high 116-yards on the ground and the Panthers as a whole had 475 total yards.
For Atlanta, Ryan tallied 302 of his 342 yards in the second half and finished 34- of-49 with two scores and an interception. White caught nine passes for 117-yards and a touchdown to end his day.
The Falcons still have three more weeks, and possibly a fourth if they get a first round bye, to prepare for a run in the playoffs. Atlanta has an offense capable of putting up high numbers, but must continue to focus on conversions and not missing key attempts if they plan to stay alive post season.
Next week, the Falcons return home to the Georgia Dome where they will take on the New York Giants.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.