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Overall Game Grade- C-
The defense surrendered 30 points and allowed the Falcons to get into field goal position with limited time and no timeouts.
Roddy White torched the Carolina secondary for eight receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. White was also the player who hauled down the deep pass that Matt Ryan threw from his own end zone to put the Falcons in position to kick the game winning field goal.
The Falcons compiled 426 yards of offense, with 121 yards of that coming on the ground.
Michael Turner had his best game of the season, as he ran for 103 yards and added another 69 yards receiving.
The Panthers made stops throughout the game, but their inability to stop the Falcons desperation drive makes it impossible to give them a decent grade.
Fourth Quarter- D
The Panthers have hard a very hard time taking down Michael Turner once he gets going, and that has killed them defensively.
Turner went over the 150-yard mark in all-purpose yards prior to the ten minute mark in the fourth quarter, as he and Roddy White have had their way with the Panthers defense.
Greg Hardy brought down Matt Ryan, which marked the Panthers fifth sack of the game. Carolina has done an excellent job getting to Ryan.
Carolina's defense came onto the field with less than eight minutes left with a four point lead and a stop would give them a great chance to upset the Falcons.
After being called for an offside penalty, Frank Alexander brought Ryan down for a nine yard loss to knock the Falcons out of the red zone.
On 3rd-and-19, Carolina's defensive line pressured Ryan and forced the Falcons to kick a field goal.
On third-and-three, Charles Johnson made a huge play pushing Ryan out of bounds for an eight yard loss. The play forced the Falcons to punt, giving the offense another chance to run out the clock.
Johnson has been excellent throughout the entire game, as has the entire defensive line.
Ryan started on his one-yard line and hit Roddy White to move the ball over mid-field. After a couple more short passes that the Panthers defense allowed, Matt Bryant kicked the game winning filed goal to finish off the game and crush the Panthers spirit.
Third Quarter- C+
Matt Ryan hit Michael Turner for a screen pass that Turner took all the way to the house, as the Panthers were unable to get a good angle for a tackle.
In fact, Carolina made Turner look as evasive in the open field as he used to back in 2009. Ryan has now accounted for three touchdown passes, as the Panthers pass rush has been rather disappointing.
The Panthers have held the Falcons to 24 points through three quarters, which isn't great but isn't awful either.
At this point, if Carolina can keep Roddy White from killing them through the air, then their defense should have the capabilities of keeping Ryan and the Falcons out of the end zone for the rest of the game.
Second Quarter- C
The Panthers defense made a big stand after the Steve Smith fumble, as the secondary has been solid outside of Roddy White's 49-yard touchdown reception.
Carolina's defense has been more than respectable thus far, but will need their offense to keep Matt Ryan off the field more if they want to continue playing this well.
At the midway point in the second quarter, the Panthers have already forced the Falcons to go three and out twice.
Ryan hit Roddy White in the middle of the end zone to give the Panthers a three-point lead, which marked their second scoring connection of the game.
The Panthers secondary needs to find a way to slow White down and could really use some help in the form of quicker pressure from the defensive front.
First Quarter- B-
Charles Johnson stood out on the Falcons first drive, as he knocked down a Matt Ryan pass on second down and was in on a sack of Ryan on third down to force a three-and-out.
On the Falcons second drive, the Panthers defense showed their resiliency as they bent but never broke. Michael Turner was able to gash the run defense as he paced the Falcons down the field and even had two carries inside the five yard line.
After a red zone penalty by both teams, Haruki Nakamura picked off Matt Ryan in the end zone to give the ball back to Cam Newton and the offense.
The defense is showing heart in the first quarter and have kept the explosive Falcons offense off the board through two drives.
Ryan hit Roddy White for a 49-yard touchdown as Haruki Nakamura looked lost in coverage. In one play, the Panthers good start of defense has gone up in smoke.