Carolina lost a grueling game today in Atlanta. This team played their hearts out to keep this one close, but blew a 1 point lead in the final minute after Matt Bryant nailed a 40 yard field goal to seal the victory and remain undefeated. It was a great effort from a team that was dismantled the previous week, but coming so close hurts that much more. Cam Newton and the offense did nearly all they could do to win this game, but the defense had absolutely no answer Matt Ryan and Roddy White.
This game came down to the final 2 minutes, where simply put, Atlanta performed better. On a 3rd and 1, Carolina had a chance to clinch the victory with a first down and zere Atlanta timeouts. Newton took the ball to the left, but fumbled before passing the first down line. The Panthers recovered, but this brought up a 4th and less than a yard. Rivera took the conservative route, and decided to punt. The decision seemed like a smart one when the punt was pinned a the 1 yard line with less than a minute left. Unfortunately, Matt Ryan made them pay. He bombed a jump ball out for Roddy White who went up and got it for 59 yards. This one was in the air for a while, and could have been defended. You have to give all the credit to White though, as he just simply out jumped the defense. A few first downs later, Matt Bryant nailed a 40 yard FG to seal the victory.
The offense for Carolina played a great game, but the defense was pretty sad. Matt Ryan has been unstoppable this year, but he put on a clinic. Added to that, Michael Turner had his biggest game of the year with over 170 total yards. Turner had previously been essentially a non factor all season, but he was ignored by the Panthers defense.
Going forward, the Panthers need to get the defensive side of the ball figured out. Newton played a tremendous game, but just couldn’t keep up with Ryan and the Falcons. Carolina faces off against the 2-2 Seahawks next Sunday. They were upset by the Rams in their game, so they will also be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Their defense has been fierce so far this year, but Russell WIlson and offense have struggled to remain consistent. This will be a battle of strengths as well as a battle of weaknesses. It should be an interesting game, and one that Carolina badly needs to win.