Rapid Reaction: Falcons 30, Panthers 28
September, 30, 2012
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome on Sunday:
What it means: After a major scare, the Falcons are 4-0 and high atop the NFC South. They showed they can win on a day when they're not playing their best. Carolina played as well as it could have. But the Panthers fell to 1-3. They're in a hole, but they can take some positives from this game.
Never panic: The Falcons were up against the wall. Trailing 28-27, they took over at their own 1-yard line after a punt with 59 seconds left. Matt Ryan connected on a bomb to Roddy White and the Falcons got help from a pass interference penalty on Captain Munnerlyn. Ryan then worked the sidelines to move the ball to Carolina's 22-yard line with 10 seconds left. That's when the Falcons brought in the trusty Matt Bryant to kick the game-winning 40-yard field goal.
Cam Newton’s almost-spectacular homecoming: Newton, who grew up in the Atlanta area, bounced back in a big way after a disastrous performance 10 days ago in a loss to the New York Giants. Newton was pretty close to flawless, completing 15 of 24 passes for 215 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Newton also ran for a career-high 86 yards and had a touchdown on nine carries.
Michael Turner’s big day: After barely averaging 50 yards rushing in the first three games, there was a lot of talk that the Atlanta running back might be washed up. It turns out that was premature. Turner ran for 103 yards on 13 carries and also had a receiving touchdown. But I’m not completely convinced Turner is at the level he was a few years ago. I think Carolina’s defense played a pretty significant role in Turner’s success.
Stat of the day: The 60-yard scoring pass Turner caught in the third quarter was the first receiving touchdown of his career. He’s been in the league since 2004.
Stat of the day II: The pass Carolina receiver Armanti Edwards caught in the third quarter was the first reception of his NFL career. He’s been in the league since 2004.
Charles Johnson shows up: The highly paid Carolina defensive end didn’t have a sack and was mostly quiet in the first three games. But he exploded against Atlanta, producing 3.5 sacks and batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
What’s next: The Falcons travel to Washington to play the Redskins next Sunday. The Panthers are at home next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Final Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14 Final Detroit 23 Buffalo 0 Final Indianapolis 7 Cincinnati 35 Final New York 7 Philadelphia 37 Final St. Louis 13 Miami 14 Final Kansas City 14 Green Bay 34 Final Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0 Final New England 13 New York 16 Final Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10 Final Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13 Final Chicago 13 Cleveland 33 Final San Francisco 40 Houston 13 Final Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3 Final Denver 27 Dallas 3 Final Arizona 9 San Diego 12 Final Seattle 31 Oakland 41