The Falcons had their streak of scoring on their first possession in each game this season snapped. Carolina’s defense forced a three and out on Atlanta’s first possession.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan hasn’t looked quite as sharp as he did in the first three games. Ryan has thrown two touchdowns to Roddy White, including a gorgeous 49-yard score. But Ryan also had a throw picked off at the goal line and Carolina’s done a good job of putting pressure on him.
I’m tempted to say Atlanta running back Michael Turner looks like he’s back to the form he showed a couple years ago. But I don’t think that’s really the case. I think Turner’s first-half success has more to do with Carolina’s poor run defense than anything he’s done.
Carolina has run the ball well with Cam Newton executing a lot of read options. Newton’s only kept the ball once -- on a 32-yard run -- but DeAngelo Williams has had a couple nice runs. Newton also had two runs late in the first half, but that came on a scramble to get away from pressure and not on a read option.
The Panthers benched rookie return man Joe Adams after he had a rough game in his last outing. They’ve been letting Kealoha Pilares handle kickoff returns and Captain Munnerlyn has been taking care of punt returns.
Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, who was quiet in the first three games, had a productive first half. Johnson has produced 1.5 sacks and also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.