Atlanta Falcons: Game balls for victory vs. Panthers
Was it pretty? Absolutely not. Yet, the victory over the Carolina Panthers was more than a simple win. It ended an undefeated season, gave rookie head coach Dan Quinn a ‘signature’ victory and gave the city of Atlanta a lot to cheer for.
With that win, comes some much deserve recognition. Let’s hand out some game balls to some Falcons who showed up in a big way.
Vic Beasley Jr.
The stat sheet will only show four tackles and a sack but Beasley showed his worth in many ways. Beasley revealed recently that he played the entire season just about with a torn labrum. However, against Carolina, he looked about as healthy as he has all season.
He played the zone read very well, owned a drive in the third quarter where he made a key stop on second down then got pressure on third down despite being blatantly held and forced a fourth down which led to a Panthers field goal. As you can tell, it had a major hand in the outcome.
Then, the former All-American out of Clemson, made the strip sack on Panthers final drive to close out the game. Have a day rookie.
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Regardless how your perception is about Matty Ice, he can be one tough quarterback. Ryan was completely beat up as hit after hit after hit from the Panthers took its toll. However, he kept getting back up and made clutch throw after clutch throw.
Including the huge 70-yard TD to Julio Jones that blew the roof off the Georgia Dome. Passing for 306 yards and a TD, you couldn’t help but notice that despite the beating he took, Ryan looked really comfortable at times.
Some may disagree, but Julio is the best receiver in the league. His talent was on full display against what some call the best defense in the league and the best corner. Jones established dominance with nine catches, 178 yards, a TD, and one of the best catches you’ll see all season.
If you think Panthers CB Josh Norman is the best corner in the league, that’s a different story. However, Norman and the Panthers defense had trouble defending Mr. Jones.