Falcons steal one late, stay undefeated

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The Carolina Panthers didn’t trust themselves to gain a yard.

So Matt Ryan made them pay for their lack of faith.

The Falcons stayed undefeated with a 30-28 win over the Panthers, who chose to punt the ball back to Ryan with 59 seconds left, pinning him at his own 1-yard line rather than trying for a fourth-and-1 inside Falcons territory with the lead.

The game-winning drive started with a 59-yard bomb to Roddy White, who found himself ridiculously open despite being double-covered. Matt Bryant’s 40-yard touchdown a few snaps later was almost anticlimactic.

That decision came after quarterback Cam Newton fumbled on the previous play, stopping him short of the game-clinching first down.

The late defensive collapse ruined an otherwise solid day for the 1-3 Panthers, who ran well, and finally found a pass rush.

Charles Johnson had a franchise-record 3.5 of the Panthers seven sacks, showing why the Panthers were so desperate to back an armored car up at his doorstep to keep him from signing with his home-state Falcons in 2011.

The Panthers have major issues on defense, aside from the late furball they coughed up. Middle linebacker Jon Beason, predictably, isn’t all the way back from last year’s Achilles tear, and the drop-off in the middle is evident. They’re also not a great-tackling defense across the board, and allowed Michael Turner to run the way he had not all year.

29 responses to “Falcons steal one late, stay undefeated

  1. Admittedly our D collasped again, but that PI call that put the Falcons into Automatic Byrants range was HORRIBLE. One of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. These are the “good” refs? To all thos Anti-Goodell people who begged for the replacements to leave, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Carolina got robbed.

  2. Omitted from this write-up is the fact that Mike Smith called for and received a fourth timeout with :05 to play.

  3. More like, Rivera hands game to Falcons late. It will be interesting to see if this game is the beginning of the end for Rivera because the head coach is paid to have the feeling of a game like that.

    The Panthers defense, despite the 8 sacks, didn’t stop the Falcon pass offense all day, and this game had the feel of a last person with the ball wins.

    Rivera, instead of going for a pretty good chance of picking up a first down on 4th and inches, challenges and pushesh his team back even further, but still didn’t do the only thing a good HC who saw what was happening all day would have done, go on fourth and 1 to end the game there.

    I said it aloud when the refs called it 4th and short after the fumble recovery, punt and you’ll lose. The point was just more absurd that they went from their 1 to the Panther 23 in less than a minute.

    It’s the kind of decision that makes players tune you out, especially when the thing that held this team back most last year, the defense, which is supposedly his expertise, is still pretty lousy.

  4. dldove77 says:Sep 30, 2012 4:37 PM

    Omitted from this write-up is the fact that Mike Smith called for and received a fourth timeout with :05 to play.
    ———-

    Did you notice the announcers simply said Smith had called timeout without mentioning it was the fourth one? If that would have been the replacment refs, this would have been a national scandal.

  5. Punting was the right call. How many of you kitty cat fans would have howled if they’d failed to convert that 4th down and given the birds a short field? After all, Cam “fig” Newton had already fumbled away a first down on the previous play.

    The last play of the game was a long shot, but Newton couldn’t even get off a pass against a three-man rush.

  6. chowtime888 says:
    Sep 30, 2012 4:56 PM
    Cam Newton lost the game, Atlanta did not win it. Not debatable.
    —————————–

    No, I just checked the Falcon’s record… they won it.

  7. Omg! I turned the channel when Cam got that running first down just past the 2 minute warning. Figured Carolina couldn’t blow it. Lmao now!!!!

  8. Cam didn’t lose the game. His defense did. How do you leave Roddy White open way downfield at a time like that?

  9. manchestermiracle,

    I’m hardly a fan of the Panthers or any team for that matter. I just know dumb football calls when I see them.

    If that were Bellichick, he would have went for it, especially having such a wild card like Newton to put the defense on its heels. I’d even bet that Mike Smith would have went for it since he did exactly that in the playoffs last January facing a worse down and distance.

    Say you don’t get it. I’d think you would rather have 30 seconds instead of 5 to try to make something happen at the end of the game after your defense collapses yet again, don’t you think?

    Furthermore, my point was that going on 4th was a higher percentage play than your defense stopping them from getting into field goal range (based on what had gone on in the game to that point) with a kicker who’s not exactly shaky in pressure situations.

    It’s those kinds of tough decisions that HC’s get paid the big bucks for, and Rivera blew it.

  10. Great game. Nice change of pace to the crap I have to watch weekly. Plus, the red/orange helmet is the best. I may be a free agent fan at the end of the season, wonder if the Falcons would be interested.

  11. realfootballfan says:
    Sep 30, 2012 4:42 PM
    More like, Rivera hands game to Falcons late. It will be interesting to see if this game is the beginning of the end for Rivera because the head coach is paid to have the feeling of a game like that.

    The Panthers defense, despite the 8 sacks, didn’t stop the Falcon pass offense all day….
    ————————————-

    No team has been able to stop the falcons pass offense all YEAR. Great breakdown though, enjoy your 1-3 team.

  12. Wow…sure seemed like a lot of deep passes by Matt Ryan, who supposedly can’t throw them. As well as showed why he’s not Matty Melt like some like to post.

  13. @wallio
    that pass interference was absolutely the correct call. Take your panthers glasses off and look at the damn play

  14. Hmm…I wonder if any of the people on here saying that the Panthers should have gone for it on fourth and inches also thought Mike Smith was dumb for the fourth down decisions last year?

    Ironic.

  15. calling BS on the poster who claims it was actually the Panthers calling timeout with 5 seconds remaining. In reality, they used their last time out to ice the kicker just minutes before. Atlanta certainly did receive a 4th timeout because Smith was on the field trying to prevent the play from happening because the Falcons didn’t have enough personnel on the field. It didnt change the outcome of the game, but it should certainly shouldnt be ignored either.

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