Atlanta Falcons trail Carolina Panthers 28-0 at halftime


The Atlanta Falcons trail the Carolina Panthers 28-0 at halftime.

It’s been a rough first half for the Atlanta Falcons, as they trail the Carolina Panthers 28-0 at halftime.

It started terribly, as Jonathan Stewart broke out a 44-yard yard run. Cam Newton then found Greg Olsen for a 25-yard strike. Olsen fumbled the football, but was ruled down. Stewart ran in a 1-yard touchdown to open the scoring.

Devonta Freeman made a nice 22-yard run, but the Falcons’ drive stalled with a punt. It took the Panthers just three plays to find the end zone again, despite starting on their own 7-yard line. Newton found Ted Ginn Jr. for a 74-yard touchdown, giving Carolina an early 14-0 lead. 

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The Panthers defense was able to assert its dominance early in the game, shutting down the run and slowing down the passing game. With 3:13 remaining in the first quarter, the Falcons were forced to punt the ball back down a couple of scores.

Robert Alford had an opportunity to pick off Newton but couldn’t make the play. A play later, Newton found Ginn again for a 46-yard touchdown. At 21-0, the game could well be over right there. Half chances have to be converted against teams like Carolina, and Alford’s near-pick could prove to be costly.

Poor protection led to a Matt Ryan fumble, but Julio Jones recovered. The play resulted in a second-and-36, and the Falcons punted. Dan Quinn grouped together the entire offense on the sideline and gave them a pep talk. They need more than that, as the offense has struggled badly.

The Falcons need a miracle in the second half.