The Carolina Panthers finished with only 49 rushing yards Sunday on 15 carries, a 3.3-yard average. That broke a streak of 30 consecutive regular-season games in which the Panthers reached 100 yards rushing.
That streak, dating to an Oct. 12, 2014 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, was the longest in team history. It was also the longest active streak in the NFL.
It didn’t help that featured back Jonathan Stewart missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Coach Ron Rivera has said Stewart could miss four weeks to heal. Stewart did travel to Atlanta Sunday and did some warmup drills pre-game.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn liked how his team tackled Sunday, but he thought the Panthers’ limited rushing success was as much about game-circumstance.
“I thought the tackling was better and then, as the game shifted (with the Falcons taking a big lead) it became more of a passing game in the second half,” Quinn said. “I think the guys knew their fits, they made their hits and tackling in the run game was certainly on point.”
The Panthers also held the Falcons below 100 rushing yards (90 yards on 25 carries). Quinn said he’s impressed with Carolina’s interior defense.
“The way they are inside, with the linebackers and defensive tackles all up through the middle,” Quinn said. “I don’t know how Thomas Davis is (he injured a hamstring) but we certainly have a lot of respect for him.
“I think inside is kind of where the strength of their team is: Their tackles and the linebackers and the speed they play with.”