Falcons lose a key divisional game to the Panthers 20-17

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 05: Devonta Freeman
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 05: Devonta Freeman /

Atlanta Falcons lose their first divisional game, their fourth total loss on the season.

Question, if I would have told you that the Atlanta Falcons would hold the Carolina Panthers to twenty points and force three turnovers, would you have thought it was a recipe for a Falcons victory?

Unfortunately, it was not.

Missed opportunities and big penalties cost the Falcons as they fell to the Panthers 20-17 in Atlanta’s first divisional matchup.

In a key divisional game, this loss may end up coming back to haunt the Falcons. Atlanta could not have started the game any better.

The Falcons forced two turnovers and jumped out to quick 10-0  lead after one quarter of play.

Then it went all down here from there.

The Falcons failed to convert on a 4th-and-1 midway into the 2nd quarter and the Panthers were able to capitalize on a touchdown pass from Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to running back Christian McCaffery.

Later, with the Falcons trying to get a score before the half, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw an interception to set Carolina up with great field position.

Newton and company were able to capitalize off the interception and the Panthers went in with a 14-10 lead at the half. The defense did their job in the 2nd half to holding the Panthers to only six points in the game’s final two quarters.

However, the story of the game will once again be the missed opportunities the Falcons failed to capitalize on.

In what may have been the biggest play of the game and, quite frankly, a microcosm of the Falcons season so far, Atlanta receiver Julio Jones dropped a wide open touchdown pass from Ryan that would have pulled the Falcons within three points of the Panthers.

Had Jones hauled in that touchdown pass, we might be talking about a big Falcons road win instead.

The Falcons were eventually able to pull within three points, but once again, they weren’t able to drive down the ball down the field for the win, or at the every least, to send the game into overtime.

So, where do the Falcons go from here?

The good news is, five of Atlanta’s next eight games are against divisional opponents. So a win against a divisional opponent could go a long way.

The bad news is that they have the toughest remaining schedule out of any team in the NFC. If they want to make a run towards the playoffs, they need to get it together and get it together fast.

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Time is slowly starting to run out.