The Panthers were able to shake off a poor performance against the Bengals on Sunday to defeat the division-rival Falcons 25-15 on Thursday night.
While Atlanta narrowed Carolina’s lead to three at one point in the third quarter, the Panthers were in control throughout the contest. On a rainy night in Charlotte, the Panthers held a 13-0 lead late in the second quarter before a Falcons field goal made the score 13-3 going into halftime.
Rookie receiver Drake London caught a 7-yard touchdown midway through the third period to make the score 13-10. But from there, running back D’Onta Foreman scored a 12-yard touchdown on Carolina’s ensuing drive to keep his team in the game.
Foreman led the way for the Panthers offensively, netting 130 yards on 31 carries.
Eddy Pineiro hit a 40-yard field goal with 9:22 left in the game. And while Falcons receiver KhaDarel Hodge caught a 25-yard touchdown from Marcus Mariota, another Pinerio 37-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the contest produced the final margin.
Generally, the Panthers ran all over the Falcons. They finished with 232 yards rushing on 47 attempts. That includes a 41-yard touchdown by receiver Levishka Shenault on a backward pass in the second quarter.
On the other side, Mariota finished 19-of-30 for 186 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. But he looked particularly poor, firing errant passes throughout the night. While he was intercepted once, there were at least two other instances where the ball could’ve been picked off.
Rookie receiver Drake London caught five passes for 38 yards with a touchdown. Tight end Kyle Pitts was held to just two catches on eight targets for 28 yards.
Defensively, the Panthers racked up five sacks — including a pair by defensive end Marquis Haynes on Atlanta’s final drive.
But there could be a significant injury concern within Carolina’s secondary, as cornerback Donte Jackson had to exit the game with an Achilles injury.
With Carolina’s win, the NFC South remains wide open. The Buccaneers lead the division at 4-5, as Atlanta is now 4-6. The Saints, who play the Steelers this weekend, are 3-6.
The Panthers are now 3-7, with a 3-1 record in the division.