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Falcons Soar As Panthers Lack Bite – Week 4 Recap

Atlanta Falcons crowd at Georgia Dome Yk Yk Yk via



The Atlanta Falcons rolled past the Carolina Panthers to take the lead in the NFC South race.

In what has to be considered a statement game, the Atlanta Falcons dominated on both sides of the ball against a toothless Carolina Panthers in a 48-33 victory at the Georgia Dome.


Having beaten up on some bad defenses in the opening three weeks of the season, the Falcons proved that they have to be taken seriously as they put the NFC Champions to the sword time and time again. Matt Ryan passed for a franchise record 503 yards , while Julio Jones also broke a franchise record as he became only the 6th player in history to register 300 receiving yards in a game.

The running game, spearheaded by tough-running Devonta Freeman did just enough to force the Panthers to respect it, while Matt Ryan found 9 different receivers in the passing game, getting big days and clutch catches from the likes of Taylor Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson and Austin Hooper as the inexperienced Panthers secondary struggled to deal with the Falcons passing game.

Despite regularly being pinned down near their own goal line by the punting of an extremely impressive Andy Lee, the Falcons were able to move the ball at will, showing their intent by driving the length of the field on multiple occasions against an inexperienced Panthers secondary that badly missed All-Pro Josh Norman following his move to Washington.


The stats aren’t going to impress anybody. The Falcons only registered one sack on Sunday courtesy of Dwight Freeney. With that said, it would be difficult to argue that they were by far the more impressive of the two defenses in the game. While they don’t have the star power that the Panthers do with Kawann Short, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Charles Johnson, Cam Newton didn’t look comfortable all day. He struggled to set his feet amid a barrage of pressure, with Freeney and Vic Beasley making the Panthers’ reorganised offensive line look like a college unit. Mike Remmer, who was standing in for the injured Michael Oher at left tackle, seemed to alternate between getting beat and committing penalties and Cam Newton looked like he did in the years prior to his 2015 MVP season as he frequently threw over the heads of his receivers.

The Falcons swarmed the ball carrier in run defense, breaking through blocks and showing the toughness and intensity that has so often been missing. Rookie Deion Jones showed why he was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, flying to the ball throughout the day and putting a violent hit on Cam Newton on a 2-point conversion that led to the Panthers QB leaving the game.

While the team still gave up 33 points, it’s worth noting that 7 of those came on an interception returned for a touchdown and a further 23 came in the 4th quarter, when the team was heavily focused on running the clock out and preventing the big play having built up a big lead.


After losing to the Buccaneers in week 1, the Falcons showed great character to win their next two games prior to their brutal run of games in October against the Panthers, Broncos and Seahawks. With Sunday’s dominant victory over Carolina, they find themselves two games clear at the top of the NFC South ahead of a tough trip to Denver. While the loss will hurt the Panthers and convince other teams of their vulnerability, its significance to Atlanta can’t be underestimated and they will now believe that they can compete with anybody.