Final

Falcons 19

(5-4, 1-4 away)

Panthers 28

(4-5, 2-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 15, 2009

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 3 7 3 619
CAR 7 14 0 728

Top Performers

Passing: M. Ryan (ATL) - 224 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: M. Turner (ATL) - 9 CAR, 111 YDS

Receiving: R. White (ATL) - 7 REC, 98 YDS

Delhomme throws 2 TDs, 0 INTs as Panthers hang on

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers might have finally found a way to solve Jake Delhomme's woes: controlled chaos.

Yasinskas: Total Meltdown

Did you see Matt Ryan at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, looking nervous every time a pass-rusher got near him? Yes, at least on Sunday and -- too many times in recent weeks -- Matty Ice seems to have thawed out and turned into a puddle, writes Pat Yasinskas. Blog

• NFC South Blog

A heavy dose of miscues from Matt Ryan and banged-up Atlanta didn't hurt, either.

The Panthers unleashed a no-huddle offense on Sunday with Delhomme calling the plays, and it produced two touchdown passes to Steve Smith, no turnovers and a 28-19 victory over the Falcons.

"No huddle is controlled chaos," said Smith, who tripled Carolina's touchdown total by wide receivers coming into the game. "You've got defense running around and they don't know what they're doing. The no huddle is really easy and simple."

Fast Facts

• The Falcons have now lost three of four after starting 3-1.

• Steve Smith recorded his sixth career multitouchdown game. He entered the game with just three career TD receptions against the Falcons.

• Jake Delhomme extended his streak without an interception to three straight games.

• Matt Ryan threw for 224 yards with a TD and two interceptions. He now has at least one pick in his last six games.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

While Delhomme went turnover-free for the third straight game following 13 interceptions in his first six, it was a difficult day for Ryan and the Falcons (5-4). First, they lost running back Michael Turner to a second-quarter sprained ankle after he already rushed for 111 yards. Then kicker Jason Elam and Ryan stymied their late comeback hopes with key fourth-quarter mistakes.

Ryan, throwing too high much of the day, had two more interceptions He's at 12, one more than all of his stellar rookie season.

"I'm young," Ryan said. "I've got a long way to go, a lot of improving to do and a lot of things to learn."

With Ryan completing only 7 of 19 passes in the first half, the Panthers (4-5) built a 21-10 halftime lead. Delhomme looked poised and the Falcons struggled to get the right defensive personnel on the field.

Delhomme, no longer the NFL leader in interceptions after Jay Cutler's struggles with Chicago, found Smith on a pair of 4-yard TDs and was in his comfort zone. Much of Delhomme's best work over the years has come in the 2-minute offense.

"That is something that we practice a good bit," Delhomme said of the no-huddle. "I'm extremely comfortable in that situation."

The Panthers' offense wasn't as successful after halftime, and the game wasn't sealed until Richard Marshall picked off Ryan, setting up Jonathan Stewart's 45-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left.

Earlier, Elam missed a 34-yard field goal that would have given Atlanta the lead. It allowed the Panthers to hold on despite losing the cog of their offensive line, left tackle Jordan Gross, to a broken right ankle.

"I think we were at a major crossroad in the season being 3-5," said receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who had six catches for 91 yards in his return from a knee injury. "If you look at the playoff picture, we have as good a chance as anybody else with seven games left in the season."

The Panthers earned a season split on the Falcons, who fell to 1-4 on the road and will await tests Monday on Turner's right ankle. He went over 100 yards early in the second quarter, but rolled his ankle at the end of a 10-yard run, halting a streak where he had rushed for 428 yards on less than 10 quarters.

Jason Snelling replaced him, finishing with 61 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

"We don't have the explosiveness we had with Michael," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "But I thought Jason, for his first time back in a couple of weeks, ran the ball hard."

Ryan got the Falcons to 21-19 when he found tight end Justin Peelle for a 3-yard TD on fourth-and-1. The 2-point conversion attempt with 13:44 left failed when Chris Gamble tackled Snelling on a swing pass.

Ryan later converted a third-and-11 from his own 3 with a 13-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez. But the drive stalled and Elam, hesitated twice before pulling the short field-goal attempt with 6:35 left.

"My timing was kind of a mess from the start," Elam said. "It's me. I need to take the blame."

The Panthers went three-and-out and Eric Weems returned the ensuing punt to the Carolina 49. But Ryan threw into double coverage, ending Atlanta's hopes.

Ryan was 22 of 41 for 224 yards and one touchdown, as the Falcons were unable to take advantage of Carolina's revamped defense after linebacker Thomas Davis' season-ending knee injury last week.

"I don't think there's anything technically wrong with him," receiver Michael Jenkins said of Ryan. "We've just got to limit turnovers and execute better."

DeAngelo Williams (92 yards) and Stewart (82) gave Carolina a solid running game, but it was the passing game that keyed Carolina, even after the Panthers had to shuffle their offensive line.

Gross, the cog of the line, could be lost for the season. Travelle Wharton moved to left tackle and inexperienced Mackenzy Bernadeau played in Wharton's old spot at left guard.

Game notes


The Falcons were without LT Sam Baker (ankle) and WR Brian Finneran (knee). ... Williams played despite being questionable with a sore left knee. ... The Falcons failed to sweep Carolina for the first time since 2004.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ATL
CAR
1st Downs2219
Passing 1st downs
129
Rushing 1st downs
79
1st downs from penalties
31
3rd down efficiency
6-147-13
4th down efficiency
1-20-1
Total Plays7058
Total Yards400380
Yards per play5.76.6
Total Drives1011
Passing224195
Comp-Att
22-4115-24
Yards per pass
5.58.1
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-00-0
Rushing176185
Rushing Attempts
2934
Yards per rush
6.15.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-53-3
Penalties4-265-48
Turnovers20
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession31:5128:09

Passing Leaders

ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan22/412245.5120-0
CARC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Delhomme15/241958.1200-0

Rushing Leaders

ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Turner911112.3040
Snelling18613.4111
CARCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams19924.8028
Stewart11827.5245

Receiving Leaders

ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
White79814.0034
Gonzalez66711.2014
CARRECYDSAVGTDLG
Muhammad69115.2022
Smith Sr.4348.5219

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERATLCAR
atlFG11:20Jason Elam 35 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 52 yds, 2:19
30
carTD6:19Jonathan Stewart 1 Yard Run (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 5:01
37
SECOND QUARTERATLCAR
carTD12:32Steve Smith 4 Yard Pass From Jake Delhomme (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 4:46
314
atlTD6:00Jason Snelling 1 Yard Run (Jason Elam Kick is Good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yds, 6:30
1014
carTD1:12Steve Smith 4 Yard Pass From Jake Delhomme (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 33 yds, 2:24
1021
THIRD QUARTERATLCAR
atlFG9:25Jason Elam 24 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 74 yds, 5:39
1321
FOURTH QUARTERATLCAR
atlTD13:50Justin Peelle 3 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Ryan Pass to Jason Snelling For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 59 yds, 7:11
1921
carTD2:15Jonathan Stewart 45 Yard Run (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 51 yds, 1:38
1928