CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Eleven days in the past, the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers performed one of many NFL’s most thrilling video games of the 12 months. The back-and-forth, extra time affair in Atlanta included a Hail Mary, a pricey extreme celebration penalty, missed kicks and a 37-34 Falcons victory.
This one did not essentially have as a lot motion or pleasure.
The Panthers raced out to a 13-0 lead and saved the Falcons at arm’s distance on their strategy to a 25-15 victory on Thursday at Financial institution of America Stadium. Operating again D’Onta Foreman rushed 31 occasions for 130 yards and a landing, whereas receiver Laviska Shenault took a backward cross 41 yards to the home for the primary Carolina landing of the sport.
The Falcons, in the meantime, squandered a chance to safe sole possession of first place within the NFC South.
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Foreman ran all around the Falcons as soon as once more. Two Sundays in the past, he went for 118 yards on 26 rushes and scored thrice. Carolina relied on him much more within the staff’s second matchup of the season, and Foreman ran powerful all evening to energy the Falcons to victory.
Panthers cross rush
Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota had black jerseys surrounding him all evening and the power of the Panthers’ front-seven to generate strain was a main purpose behind the Carolina victory.
Frankie Luvu and Marquis Haynes had two sacks every, and Carolina completed with 5. The Panthers had a further 9 hits on Mariota.
The interim head coach had his staff ready for the brief week and the teaching workers executed a sport plan — particularly on the defensive facet of the ball — that saved Atlanta off-balance all evening. The ex-Arizona Cardinals head coach is now 2-4 since Matt Rhule was fired on Oct. 10.
Panthers particular groups
The punters carried extra weight in a sport that did not characteristic a ton of offense. Atlanta’s Bradley Pinion was inconsistent at finest, however the Panthers’ Johnny Hekker rose to the event. Hekker averaged 43.2 yards on his 5 punts. Two of these boots have been downed throughout the five-yard line. The sector place battle considerably hindered the Falcons offense.
Eddie Pineiro, who missed a possible game-winning additional level in regulation and a game-ending area aim in extra time over the last matchup in opposition to Atlanta, was 4-for-4 on area targets. He did miss an additional level, however Pineiro’s kicks from 46, 49, 40 and 37 yards have been a part of a bounceback efficiency.
They have been simply doing their jobs, however flags hit the turf on what felt like each different play. Carolina was penalized 10 occasions for 89 yards, whereas Atlanta was referred to as for 4 fouls (37 yards).
The situations have been removed from ultimate, as a drizzle hovered over town all afternoon; the rain picked up earlier than the sport and within the second half.
That made throwing the ball much more troublesome for the Panthers’ P.J. Walker and Mariota. For offenses that ranked thirtieth and twenty fifth within the league, respectively, getting into this sport, a slippery ball and taking part in area was an unwelcome improvement.
Mariota completed 19 of 30 for 186 yards, with practically half approaching the final Atlanta landing drive within the fourth quarter that made it a seven-point sport. The Panthers’ first-round choose from 2021, cornerback Jaycee Horn, picked him off within the first half.
Walker went 10-for-16 for 108 yards and did not should do a lot aside from put the pigskin in Foreman’s stomach.
The No. 4 total choose a 12 months in the past, it is changing into apparent that Pitts is not going to thrive within the present offense — or at the least with Mariota as quarterback. He had one catch earlier than the ultimate 3:30 of the sport and completed with two catches for 28 yards.
That is barely higher than final week — he had two catches for 27 yards in opposition to the Los Angeles Chargers in a 17-14 loss.
This sport regarded ugly on the schedule on the season’s outset and the primary half of the 12 months did little to boost that expectation.
Till then, someone please give Al Michaels a hug. The legendary broadcaster sounds agonized throughout these video games typically. At the least he is certainly one of us.
Observe Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.