Panthers blast Falcons to earn NFC South title at 7-8-1

AP

Sure, the Panthers went eight weeks without winning a game earlier this season.

But they went the last four without losing one, and now they’re headed to the playoffs.

With no apologies for their 7-8-1 record, the Panthers are headed to the postseason after a dominating 34-3 win over the Falcons.

They outgained the Falcons 306-288, with Cam Newton only throwing 16 passes all day. They outrushed the Falcons 194-63, and played dominant defense all afternoon.

The Panthers closed the season by sweeping through the division (with an ugly win over the Browns mixed in). But like their 41-10 win over the Saints which started this run, the beating they put on the Falcons was thorough.

The Panthers sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan six times, and goaded him into a pair of pick-sixes (by safeties Roman Harper and Tre Boston). They did it with a simple game plan, getting the pressure with their front four and not having to rely on blitzing. It should also be noted they did it without franchise-tagged defensive end Greg Hardy, who made $13.1 million this year for one sack before going on the commissioner’s exempt list because of a domestic violence arrest.

The Falcons had played well down the stretch themselves, but had no answer for the Panthers pressure all day.

While people are going to mock them for the next week and say they have no chance in the postseason (and maybe they don’t), it’s hard to argue with the job Panthers coach Ron Rivera has done with this mishmash of a roster.

His teams are 15-3 in December during his stint as head coach. Even though the first two years of his career those were meaningless December games, he’s now gotten the Panthers to the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history.

47 responses to “Panthers blast Falcons to earn NFC South title at 7-8-1

  1. Welcome to sucksville Falcon fans. At least we have the #1 draft choice.

    Y’all get to hunt for offensive and defensive linemen with a new coach. If you have any brains, you’ll hire Sexy Rex Ryan.

  2. It is criminal to have a losing record and win a division or get into the tournament. The NFL needs a rider to avoid this scenario in the future.

  3. As a falcon fan, Im glad we weren’t ” that team” that makes it in with a losing record. I’m excited for the future. Thank you Mike Smith for making our organization consistent winners and good luck in the future with the Niners or Raiders

  4. I have to think Mike Smith threw this game as payback to Falcons management for leaving him hanging out to dry. Which he should have been because he sucks as a coach.

  5. Mike Smith and Dimitroff need to get axed immediately. Dimitroff hasn’t given this team one good defensive player since he’s been there, forget about “Great.”

    With that said, what a meltdown. Must win game, get blown out by 30 at home.

  6. The Panthers will not be an easy out. 4 straight to get into the playoffs and a D that found its form from last year. I am not saying they are superbowl bound but I can see them getting a win against the Cards next week.

  7. All the haters are funny. They’re probably fans of teams who aren’t playing until next fall.

    Everybody has a 0-0 record now, and the Panthers are playing as well the last few weeks as anyone in the league.

  8. armchairqb says:
    Dec 28, 2014 7:27 PM
    So the Panthers just saved Ron Rivera’s job … and they’re celebrating?

    ———————————————————————

    Rivera got a 3 year extension earlier this week. his job was never in doubt.

  9. They really are the best team in that division, which is strange to say, because the Saint and Falcon rosters are so poor past the QB position. With the Cardinal issues at QB, we might get another bad team in the playoff win story like with the Seahawks a couple of years back.

  10. Matt “Coach Killa” 2 pick 6s, 58 qb rating, blown out at home……must have been a playoff atmosphere.

    Is there anyone with an unbias opinion can continue to make excuses for this clown who has arguably the best set of receivers in the NFL?

    It’s going to be a L-O-N-G time for the Falcons to recover from all of the lost draft picks they have given away to surround this loser with.

  11. That Falcons Oline was made of glass.
    All season long it was a falcons lineman hurt.
    I know we the colts have our problems but at least we improvised in a good way.

    CONGRATS CAROLINA

  12. I’m telling you right now, this is NOT the same Panthers team. After adding some pieces to their O-line (Remmers and Norwell) this offense actually can run the ball and dominate. J-Stew should have been starting from the beginning. Ever since D. Williams got hurt, J-Stew has been running out of his mind. Not to mention they turned to their young secondary (Bene, Norman, and Boston) which is a huge reason why their defense has turned around. Not to mention Cam is looking healthier than he has all season. Watch out now, it’s about a team getting hot at the right time and this Panther team could be a hassle to handle in the playoffs..

  13. Congrats to the Panthers with back to back NFC South Championship title wins!!! Haters will hate and thats ok but no apologies for a 7-8-1 record from a team everyone wrote off b/c of all the changes and newbies and the whiners b/c Steve Smith was cut! Cam did his thing today! CONGRATS FELLAS!!!!

  14. thisguy124thisguy124,

    I actually agree with you. If they beat the Cardinals who don’t have a QB, they are strangely a tough matchup for the Seahawks. Both of their last two games have been 1-point affairs, with the Panthers controlling both games until late. Stranger things have happened.

  15. Gopblowsgwt a clue- we’ve had no o line for two seasons- you blame a qb who lost a hall of fame TE and two hurt wr’s. Get a clue- comments like that must make you a buca fan… Hey go biz fan- welcome to suxville???? You Aeolus- how’d all those fa signings work out for you??? How’s lovie???? Typical buca loser- bring on Rex and a revamped defense

  16. All this talk about them winning 4 games in a row but nobody mentions the fact that it was against all below .500 teams. They had the easy road to the playoffs with their schedule. Nobody should be pounding their chest for losing 6 straight games end in a tie in one and beat 4 terrible teams to win the Division. Cards might beat them with a Back up Qb.

  17. Can’t stand Falcons or Panthers for obvious reasons, but I’m thrilled Carolina spanked Atlanta today. Atlanta won their Super Bowl already this year when they swept the Saints. They are horrible 1-9 outside the South is pathetic and y’all don’t deserve to be in playoffs. Karma is a “B” and that’s what happens when guys like Roddy White talk smack about eliminating N.O. and it’s gonna be a good Christmas and all that smack talk. Ya y’all swept the Saints and we still ended up with a better record than y’all. That just goes to show how terrible your team really is. And one last thing, Falcons are the softest team in the league to let Cam do a 5 minute long celebration in your own endzone. At least when Cam did that in the Super Dome we started a fight and showed a little heart. Falcons = SOFT……..

  18. Hahaha and if the Panthers make it to the Super Bowl it will be a slap in the face of every on air “NFL expert” … clowns and has been running at the lip about Cam.. Wooooo goo Panthers just to shut um all up.

  19. Hilarious – a 7 win playoff team

    Gotta love all those fans arguing against “watering down” the NFL playoffs by expanding and letting a 10 win team in

    Yeah – last thing we want is a playoff system that rewards things like “wins”

    The current system can’t keep out bad teams but an expanded system can at least allow GOOD teams in

    Why fans are so opposed to this I just can’t figure out

    Some seasons 11 win teams stay home – while a 7 win team potentially moves on to the playoffs.

  20. I just always kind of had a problem with the 2nd seed getting a bye. Only one team should get a Bye week. Then have 3 Wild Card games. Reward a division winner with an automatic playoff berth but not a home game if any wild card team has a better record. I really don’t understand why the NFL makes it out to be so complicated. Eagles are 10-6 but not in the playoffs. I’m surprised there aren’t riots in Philadelphia.

  21. Nice to see the panthers fans come out of their caves with the “keep pounding” sayings.
    Nothing like a below .500 team bragging.

    The Falcons fans did rise up, and head towards the exits, well before this one was done.

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