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ATLANTA FALCONS 30, CAROLINA PANTHERS 28

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Atlanta Falcons 30, Carolina Panthers 28

By Jonathan Jones
jjones@charlotteobserver.com

Final score: Falcons 30, Panthers 28

Panthers 28, Falcons 27

Scoring play: A 33-yard field goal by Matt Bryant.

Drive: 9 plays, 65 yards, 2:58

Key play: Facing a 3-and-10, Matt Ryan found Julio Jones for the first time all game. The second-year wideout had been targeted four times before but they could not connect. The 30-yard pass brought the Falcons to midfield.

Time of game: 4:57 in the fourth quarter.

Worth mentioning: The Panthers have six sacks on the day, which is one away from tying the franchise high, which was last set in 2006.

Panthers 28, Falcons 24

Scoring play: A 36-yard touchdown screen pass from Cam Newton to Kealoha Pilares.

Drive: 6 plays, 88 yards, 3:23.

Key play: With their backs to the end zone at their own 12-yard line, Newton passed down the near sideline to Greg Olsen for a 34-yard pickup.

Time of game: 7:55 in the fourth quarter.

Worth mentioning: That's Pilares' second career reception and his first receiving touchdown of his career. He took a kickoff back 101 yards for a touchdown last season against the Lions.

Falcons 24, Panthers 21

Scoring play: A 4-yard touchdown rush by Cam Newton.

Drive: 12plays, 77 yards, 7:01

Key play: On 3-and-8 from the Atlanta 19, Newton dropped back and found a huge hole in the middle of the line. He scampered for 15 yards before being upended at the 4-yard line.

Time of game: 3:16 in the third quarter.

Worth mentioning: After two seasons and three games, Armanti Edwards has recorded his first career catch. The App State product caught a 12-yard ball from Newton that extended the drive on third down. The next play he passed deep downfield for Steve Smith, but the pass fell incomplete.

Falcons 24, Panthers 14

Scoring play: A 60-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Michael Turner.

Drive: 3 plays, 72 yards, 1:37.

Key play: With such a short drive, the key play was obviously the 60-yard catch and run. Haruki Nakamura missed an arm tackle, and Captain Munnerlyn gave chase before he was blocked just as he closed in on Turner. It was Turner's first receiving TD of his career.

Time of game: 10:17 in the third quarter.

Worth mentioning: Atlanta has all of the momentum right now. The Falcons scored with less than two minutes left in first half, then held Carolina on its drive heading into halftime.

Falcons 17, Panthers 14

Scoring play: A 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White.

Drive: 10 plays, 51 yards, 3:40.

Key play: On 3-and-5 and just in field-goal range, the Falcons and Ryan found White in the middle of the field for a nine-yard gain to continue to drive.

Time of game: 1:49 in the second quarter.

Worth mentioning: Both of the Falcons' touchdowns have come via passes from Ryan to White. And on both of the scores, free safety Haruki Nakamura has not been able to defend the passes.

Panthers 14, Falcons 10

Scoring play: A 13-yard touchdown rush by DeAngelo Williams.

Drive: 7 plays, 79 yards, 4:27

Key play: Catching his first pass of the game on 2-and-4 was Steve Smith. Jonathan Stewart picked up the Atlanta blitz well and gave Cam Newton enough time in the pocket to find Smith in the seam. The 27-yard gain set up Williams' 13-yard touchdown rush.

Time of game: 8:44 in the second quarter.

Worth mentioning: The Panthers' game plan, like most teams playing the Falcons, is to keep Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan off the field. With a stout defense in the red zone and a 79-yard offensive drive, the Panthers are sticking to that plan well.

Falcons 10, Panthers 7

Scoring play: A 41-yard field goal by Matt Bryant.

Drive: 6 plays, 7 yards, 2:05.

Key play: Defensive end Charles Johnson is having himself a game in his home state of Georgia. He's already been credited with two .5 sacks, and he sacked Matt Ryan on 2-and-1 for a loss of 13. He also pulled Ryan's facemask, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty, but it kept the Falcons at bay in the red zone.

Time of game: 13:11 in the second quarter.

Worth mentioning: The Falcons are 1-for-2 in the red zone for 3 points. Their first trip resulted in a Caorlina interception, and their second trip a field goal after getting to the 19-yard line.

Panthers 7, Falcons 7

Scoring play: A 49-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White.

Drive: 3 plays, 77 yards, 1:30.

Key play: After two strong rushes by Michael Turner that resulted in 28 yards, Ryan used play action to fool FS Haruki Nakamura. White, the NFL's leader in receptions since 2010, beat Nakamura down the middle of the field for the grab.

Time of game: 0:26 in the first quarter.

Worth mentioning: Atlanta's previous possession was a 17-play drive that saw the Falcons on the half-yard line before a penalty backed them up. Nakamura intercepted a Ryan pass, Ryan's second of the year, to end the threat and give the Panthers momentum.

Panthers 7, Falcons 0

Scoring play: A 17-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen.

Drive: 5 plays, 53 yards, 2:29.

Key play: On 2-and-7 from midfield, Cam Newton opted to run down the near sideline to pick up 32 yards and put the Panthers in the red zone. The run was similar to his option for 40 yards against the Saints that set up a score in Carolina's lone win this year.

Time of game: 11:45 in the first quarter.

Worth mentioning: It's the first time all season the Panthers have not allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on their opening drive. Likewise, it's the first time Carolina has scored on its opening drive all year.

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