Atlanta Falcons get the last dab in win over Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have flirted with defeat several times in 2015 and finally went down on the road to the rival Atlanta Falcons 20-13 which snaps their 18-game win streak.
Cam Newton started the game off with a 8-yard touchdown run and capped it off with a celebratory dab but it was the Falcons who got the last dab after stripping him to seal the deal late in the fourth quarter.
Down 7-0, the Falcons marched 80 yards on 16 plays and tied the game up on a Devonta Freeman 4-yard run early into the second quarter.
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Each team made their way into enemy territory on their following drives but both ended with punts. The Falcons nearly intercepted a Newton pass late in the second quarter but managed to go into the break still tied at 7-7.
The Falcons received the second half kickoff and drove into Carolina territory once again, but a Shayne Graham shanked field goal attempt gave the ball back to Newton with a chance to take the lead.
And on cue, the Panthers did just that after an 8-play, 52-yard drive ended in a Graham Gano 33-yard field goal to give them a 10-7 lead with 5:26 remaining in the third quarter.
80 yards from the end zone, the Falcons converted a first down just two plays into their ensuing possession, but two bad plays set up a third-and-13 from their own 30-yard line.
Ryan took the snap, rolled to his left, pointed his finger at Julio Jones and fired a 53-yard pass through the air and the rest is history. Jones leaped over linebacker Luke Kuechly, hauled in the pass and sprinted into the end zone to give the Falcons a 14-10 lead with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
He finished off his celebration with the last and final dab of the game.
After forcing a quick punt on the Panthers ensuing possession, the Falcons faced a third-and-10 from the Carolina 37-yard line, but a bad snap blew by Ryan and was recovered by Josh Norman.
With the air out of the dome and the crowd silenced, the Falcons defense held the Panthers to a field goal and held a 14-13 lead with 7:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After driving into Carolina territory, Ryan converted a crucial third-and-9 from the Panther 39-yard lien to Roddy White to keep the drive alive. Graham redeemed himself with a 37-yard field goal with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter to give the Falcons a 17-13 lead.
Newton quickly threw for a first down to Mike Tolbert but three consecutive good plays by the Atlanta defense set up a fourth-and-5 from their own 37-yard line. Newton dropped back, threw a high pass intended for Greg Olson but the pass fell incomplete which appeared to have ended the game.
However, after two penalties by the Falcons, the Panthers managed to get the ball back after a career-long 54-yard field goal by Graham with 1:30 remaining in the game.
With the deficit now at seven points, Newton was stripped by rookie Vic Beasley and was removed by Adrian Clayborn to officially end the game.
Jones finished with nine catches for 178 yards and a touchdown while Ryan finished with 306 yards on 23 of 30 passing.
Jones now sits at 1,722 yards on the year which puts him in a tie for fifth all-time with Marvin Harrison for yards in a single season. Ryan threw career touchdown pass no. 200 and 201 in the win as well.
Atlanta beat the Panthers in nearly every statistic including third down conversions, time of possession total yards. Newton averaged just 3.5 yards per pass in the loss.
While the Falcons’ chances of making the payoffs are slim-to-none, the win is more than gratifying. Atlanta snaps the Panthers’ 14-0 record and gives Atlanta some much-needed momentum headed into the offseason.
Hats off to Ryan, Jones and Beasley. They won the game for the Falcons.