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Week Ten Morning Aftermath: Panthers 28, Falcons 19

It was the kind of game that a truly good team should find a way to win.  The failure of the Falcons to win it, then, makes us wonder whether they are a truly good team, or whether the rest of the league has caught up with the franchise that took the conference by storm in 2008.

Indeed, the Falcons were in position to take a one-point lead with less than seven minutes to play, but kicker Jason Elam missed a 34-yard field goal.  After the play, Elam wasn’t happy, and it’s unclear whether the culprit was holder Michael Koenen or snapper Bryan Pittman.  (Or, you know, Elam.)

That moment, if the kick had been true, could have been the moment the Falcons clinched a move to 6-3, given that the Panthers’ passing attack still isn’t anything close to what it once was. 

But then the Falcons had another shot.  After forcing a punt, a solid return from Eric Weems gave Atlanta the ball 51 yards from the end zone with 3:59 to play.  After a couple of first downs, the law firm of Elam, Koenen & Pittman would have gotten a shot at redemption, and the Falcons would have still emerged at 6-3.

On the first play, however, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan badly overthrew receiver Michael Jenkins in the middle of the field.  Panthers cornerback Richard Marshall made the easy catch, ran the ball out to the exact spot from which the play had begun, and three plays later tailback Jonathan Stewart went 45 yards to ice the win.

Ryan has now thrown ten interceptions in five games, quietly casting doubt on whether he’ll be 50 percent of the next decade’s Manning-Brady debate. 

Casting further doubt on the Falcons’ season is the loss of running back Michael Turner to an ankle injury, which reportedly could be serious.

At 5-4, the margin for error in Atlanta is shrinking.  Though several winnable games remain (Tampa twice, Buffalo), they need to beat the Giants, Eagles, or Saints in order to have a realistic shot at the postseason.

The Panthers, at 4-5, still have room for optimism.  But with a final four games against the Patriots, Vikings, Giants, and Saints, it’s still a steep uphill climb to save John Fox’s job.

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9 Responses to “Week Ten Morning Aftermath: Panthers 28, Falcons 19”
  1. SmackMyVickUp says: Nov 16, 2009 1:23 PM

    Turner racked up a lot of yards before his injury, Falcons would have likely won if he stayed in.
    Having a feature back trash your defense so easily isn’t a good sign with Viqueers, Giants and Saints coming to town. Pats don’t have a solid running game but should easily beat the Pussycats.

  2. mmille30 says: Nov 16, 2009 1:24 PM

    Florio….how can you even consider the Giants a good team. I agree they aren’t the Bucs or Bills….but when is everyone gonna get over the fact that the Giants aren’t good.
    actually nvm youre right they looked so good against Oakland that game
    W’s – Washington, Dallas, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Washington
    L’s – New Orleans, Arizona, San Diego, Philly

  3. atlantafalCANS says: Nov 16, 2009 1:29 PM

    Matt Ryan is playing HORRIBLE. Do you see how much he panics as soon as he drops back (like 15 yards I might add)? Those passes for interceptions yesterday were PITIFUL. I am really tired of the “He’s still young” crap! I thought I was watching Joey Harrington with no confidence yesterday! Ryan doesn’t look off the secondary at all and doesn’t take the time to find the 2nd or 3rd receiver! Matt had BETTER be on a short leash next week because the way I see it, we could have won that game with Chris Redman at QB!!!

  4. Guy Incognito says: Nov 16, 2009 1:41 PM

    Maybe a good team did find a way to win it.
    How about just a little-teeny bit of respect for the Panthers.

  5. PhillyHouse says: Nov 16, 2009 1:45 PM

    Chris Redman? Are you crazy? Matt Ryan isn’t the problem. The Falcons aren’t good…PERIOD!

  6. leatherneck says: Nov 16, 2009 1:48 PM

    Matty Ryan – sophomore slump
    Atlanta Falcons – terrible road recor
    Bottom line: not going to the playoffs

  7. triplets2.0 says: Nov 16, 2009 2:05 PM

    Watch what you say about Ryan, sure he’s playing horribly but don’t throw him to the hounds just yet… We all know what he’s got, I think he just needs to relax and get back to “having fun”. Last time I checked, Matt Ryan was 24 years old so saying “He’s still young” isn’t crap, it’s the reality of things. He can still make throws and put the ball in places where only the best of the best can but, it’s him trying too hard at this point, and I’m sure he will pull out of it in the next few games, returning back to form. Redman, is NOT the answer. GO FALCONS!

  8. DoomsDayD75 says: Nov 16, 2009 2:16 PM

    Just say it Florio. Say that Matt Ryan doesn’t care enough about football to be an elite QB. You know you want too. The evidence is all there. Chokes in December. Throws too many picks. Makes poor decisions. Sounds like a failure to me.

  9. Leto_II says: Nov 16, 2009 5:54 PM

    How many young QBs would love to be in a situation to have Turner, White and Gonzalez to play with? It’s clear he’s in a sophomore slump. It’s up to the coach to see that he doesn’t remain there for a long time.

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