For the first time this season, the Falcons actually showed some killer instinct against the Panthers. Closing the game out with a great 4th quarter showing outscoring Carolina 17-0.
The first half was back and forth, end to end football, where every drive seemed to end in a score. On Defense, the Falcons seemingly couldn’t too stop Cam Newton and the Panthers offense. Carolina had three drives in the first half one went for a TD and one for a FG. The only reason there was not a third score was a nice bit of team defense, a tipped ball by William Moore allowed Brent Grimes to pick the ball off in the end zone, at the end of the second quarter.
The main reason for Atlanta’s ineptness in the first half was their performance on third down. At half time the Panthers were converting a ridiculous 6 out of 7 third down attempts.
After another ugly drive after half time, the light suddenly came on for the Defense and they became pretty much unstoppable. The momentum swing was dealt by a big third down sack by free agent acquisition Ray Edwards. Following the huge sack, the Falcons forced a couple of big stops in Panthers territory, which slowed Cam Newton and forced him into too more mistakes. The Falcons picked off Newton twice (Corey Peters & Thomas Decoud) to end the ball game.
On offense, a heavy dose of Michael Turner was the formula for success today, as the O-Line did a very good job in run blocking for most of the game. Ryan was used when needed and made good throws to receivers in positions where they were able get some yards after the catch. With no Julio Jones in the lineup Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglass picked up the slack, with nice outings making catches in key situations throughout the ball game.
A huge win for the Falcons, has kept the season well and truly alive. The Falcons now head to take on the high flying Detroit Lions next Sunday.