Falcons start strong, even with Julio Jones on sidelines

Getty Images

The Falcons are fighting for their playoff lives, and they got off to a good start without their best player.

They drove for a game-opening touchdown and a 7-0 lead over the Panthers, a 10-play march that happened mostly without wide receiver Julio Jones.

Jones walked to the sidelines after getting drilled in the chest by Panthers safety Mike Adams, a clean shot but one that clearly left Jones shaken.

But the Falcons kept going, and Tevin Coleman scored on a 19-yard catch-and-run, though he may have been helped along by a bit of a pick on tight end Austin Hooper. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was upset by the non-call, but got no satisfaction.