Panthers vs. Falcons: 4 Ways Carolina Gave the Game Away

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Panthers vs. Falcons: 4 Ways Carolina Gave the Game Away
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Cam Newton had his best game and his worst game of 2012

The Carolina Panthers started their Week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons with the heart of the Carolina region. By the end of the game, the Panthers saw that heart ripped away violently as they gave the game away to Atlanta.

The 1-2 Panthers traveled to Atlanta to face the undefeated Falcons in Week 4. Atlanta was coming off a convincing win against the San Diego Chargers, while Carolina was trying to forget Week 3 ever happened.

The Panthers were destroyed 36-7 by the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football.

Immediately, Atlanta was in for a fight as two things happened for the first time this season. For the first time, Carolina's defense stopped a team from scoring on the opening drive, and the Falcons offense was stopped for the first time on the opening drive.    

The Panthers fought hard, and it was a back-and-forth game.

With about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, Cam Newton hit WR Kealoha Pilares on a screen pass for a touchdown. The next drive, Atlanta kicked a field goal, but Carolina would have the ball with only five minutes remaining.

Little did anyone know, these would be the most uplifting, and then heartbreaking, minutes of the Panthers season.

After a three-and-out by Carolina, Atlanta followed with a three-and-out courtesy of yet another Charles Johnson sack (he had three-and-a-half on the day). The Panthers had the ball with a little over two minutes left.

Carolina could not sustain the drive, they punted and Matt Ryan hit WR Roddy White on a big pass. A few plays later, kicker Matt Bryant hit a 40-yard field goal to win 30-28.

So how did the Panthers, who were the better team, lose when the win was practically in their lap? 

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