Atlanta Falcons roll over Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football

Atlanta Falcons roll over Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (Source: Gerry Broome)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Sports) - Led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and a defense that allowed just three points in the second half, the visiting Falcons defeated the Panthers on Thursday night, 25-17. Ryan threw for 281 yards while rushing for a touchdown. Jones caught seven passes for 137 yards for the Falcons, who have won two out of their last three games after an 0-5 start.

Atlanta scored on four of their five first-half possessions. Younghoe Koo drilled three first-half field goals, while Ryan scored his 10th career touchdown run on a 13-yard scamper. Ryan’s score came shortly after the Falcons stonewalled Panthers quarterback Terry Bridgewater’s rushing attempt on a fourth and one play. Carolina received two first-half touchdowns from receiver Curtis Samuel. His 12-yard run gave the Panthers an early 7-3 lead, while his 29-yard score gave Carolina a 14-6 lead two minutes into the second quarter. The Falcons responded with consecutive scoring drives to take a 16-14 halftime lead.

At the start of the second half, Foyesade Oluokun and Grady Jarrett combined to stuff Panthers running back Mike Davis on fourth and a yard. The stop led to Koo’s fourth field goal, a 30-yard attempt that stretched Atlanta’s lead to five points. Atlanta was preparing the get the ball back again when the Panthers ran a fake punt featuring rookie Jeremy Chinn, who took the direct snap and rumbled 28 yards to the Falcons' 40-yard-line. The Panthers parlayed the gamble into a 39-yard field goal by Joey Slye.

Atlanta responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by Todd Gurley’s three-yard touchdown four minutes into the fourth quarter. Atlanta’s lead stayed at eight points after Koo missed the point-after attempt. The two teams traded punts before the Panthers took over at their own five-yard-line with 2:58 left. Facing a third and 18, Bridgewater connected with D.J. Moore for a 42-yard gain, as the Panthers had the ball at the Falcons' 24-yard-line. But three plays after the big completion, Bridgewater, who missed three plays after sustaining an injury to his neck/head at the start of the fourth quarter, was intercepted by Blidi Wreh-Wilson, securing the Falcons' second win of the season.

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