By: Colton Wood
The Carolina Panthers run at a perfect season ended today at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones were just too much for the Panthers’ defense. Ryan threw for 306 yards and one touchdown while connecting with Jones for 178 of those yards. Jones averaged 19.8 yards per reception today and had one touchdown in the Falcons victory.
Cam Newton struggled in the Panthers’ loss. He went 17 for 30 for only 142 yards.
Carolina’s defense just could not get the Falcons off the field throughout the game. On several drives, it seemed that the Panthers’ defense were going to force Atlanta to punt, but penalties helped keep the drives alive.
Matt Ryan’s connection to Jones for 70 yards near the end of the third quarter was the biggest play of the game as it was the momentum that paved the way for Atlanta to complete the upset.
Newton had the chance to lead a game-tying drive, but he turned the ball over on downs on the Carolina 36 yard line. In an effort to run the clock out with 1:48 left in the game, the Falcons failed to pick up a first down after a series of flags against them and a big defensive stop by Carolina. This resulted in a Shayne Graham field goal to extend Atlanta’s lead to 20-13.
Cam Newton was in position for another chance to tie the game, but after a 19 yard reception to Corey Brown, Falcons’ defensive end Vic Beasley forced Cam Newton to fumble the ball. Atlanta recovered the loose ball and ended the Panthers chance at a comeback.
It’s time for the Panthers to learn from their mistakes and move on. They already clinched the NFC South for the third straight year and also a first round bye.
Carolina (14-1) will play at home against Tampa Bay next week. With a win, Carolina will earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Atlanta (8-7) will take on the Saints at the Georgia Dome.
(Photo Credit: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)