Atlanta 0 Carolina 38
It would have taken the most positive Falcons fan on Earth to hold out hope for an upset versus the Panthers in Charlotte. Most of us are not that delusional and have accepted this version of the Dirty Birds will be at least a two season build up for Dan Quinn and company.
So the first quarter drubbing of Atlanta at the hands of Cam Newton and the Panthers should have been expected as a possibility. Carolina wasted no time getting ahead in the game as Jonathan Stewart eluded the Falcons defense for a 44 yard gain that set up a score to make it 7-0 Panthers on a short dive by Stewart.
Atlanta would go on to punt on their first three possessions. Each drive showing the shortfalls of the Atlanta offense. Julio could not shake Josh Norman, the excellent corner for Carolina. Ryan was seeing pressure often and Freeman struggled to find running lanes.
Carolina on the other hand looked like a well oiled drone, flying over and through the Falcons defense at will. Cam looked laser sharp finding Ted Ginn on two TD passes. One for 74 yards, then later for 46 yards. Stewart was also running at will, racking up 75 yards for the game on a mere ten carries.
Atlanta did muster a nice drive with about five minutes left in the half, only to have it stopped on third and three with a big sack on Matt Ryan. Another punt for the ATL anemic offense.
Carolina’s drive just before the half, bolstered by an inexplicable gift of a first down spot, resulted in another Cam TD throw. Newton looked banged up during this drive after getting bowed over backward on the QB sneak. Greg Olsen also went out with a hurt knee before the TD catch by his backup, Ed Dixon.
28-0 Panthers, having their way with my downtrodden Falcons.
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Injury updates out of halftime: Greg Olsen looked to be OK while Jonathan Stewart sprained his foot.
Atlanta just couldn’t get anything going even as the second half got going. Devonta Freeman lost a fumble and Carolina took back over.
The Panthers kicked a field goal to continue cruising at 31-0 in the third quarter.
Fozzy Whittaker added a score to make it 38-0 with the PAT and no more fight left in Atlanta in this one. Look for three more losses to end the year for Atlanta which will complete one of the worst collapses in NFL history after a nice 5-0 start.
The final ended up being 38-0, the bloodbath I expected.
Kyle Shanahan will have to adapt his offense to fit Matt Ryan. That won’t come so much this year as next though. Clearly Ryan’s strengths are not being played to in the current Falcons’ offensive set up. Cam Newton’s role in Carolina’s offense should provide a clear pattern of how to build your team around your quarterback’s positives.
This Carolina defense is the real deal. No hype needed for Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman and the rest. This is a Super Bowl defensive unit that can stop any offense on Super Sunday and give Cam Newton the opportunities to light up the opposing defense.
There’s just no positives from this game for Atlanta. No moral victories. Nothing to build upon. Just a bad bad loss to a divisional opponent doing everything right that just makes Atlanta’s woes look even worse.
The Julio watch is about over. No need to track what once looked to be a record-setting season for the franchise wide out. All we can hope for now is a healthy finish to the year for Julio.
Jones ended the Carolina game with 88 yards on seven catches but failed to score for the fifth game straight. He only has two scores in the past ten games.
Tweets of the game:
Panthers’ bandwagon vacancies?
Best not to build your Sundays around the Falcons I guess.
Quick firings not ideal in coaching, but Shanahan better have a clear plan for 2016 that fits Matt Ryan’s abilities.
Perfect pic for the Falcons’ demise.
As bad as it has gotten, this one is absurd from Pro Football Talk.
Lots of talk about Khalil Mac’s sacks versus the Birds as a team total.