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(Sunday, October 16th)
Final Score: Atlanta 31, Carolina 17
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Michael Turner's two-yard score with 1:56 to go in the game sealed the win for Atlanta, as the Falcons defeated the Carolina Panthers, 31-17, at Georgia Dome.
"I felt we got back on track today in terms of our preparation this week. It was a very solid week of preparation especially in the 2nd half of the ball game. We did what we felt like is our DNA that we want to do and that is control both sides of the line of scrimmage. I really liked the way we got our running game going," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said.
Turner ended with 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Falcons (3-3), who rebounded after a 25-14 home loss to Green Bay last Sunday night.
Harry Douglas, who started for an injured Julio Jones, caught two balls for 57 yards, while Tony Gonzalez caught three passes for 29 yards. Roddy White was limited to 21 yards on two receptions.
Matt Ryan was 14-of-22 for 163 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta topped Carolina for the third straight meeting and fifth in the last six matchups.
Cam Newton totaled 237 yards on 21-of-35 passing, but he threw three interceptions. He also tallied 50 yards and a score on the ground.
Steve Smith recorded 66 yards on five receptions for the Panthers (1-5), who have dropped three straight.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 48 yards and a score on seven carries, while DeAngelo Williams added 44 yards on 12 rushes in the setback.
"We are a young football team, but that's over," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "It's time for us to start going forward. I'd love to stand behind here and make that excuse but it's not an excuse anymore. We're six weeks into this. It's time for us to start and play like we've been around. Now if you look at it, we've gone through training camp, and we've gone through a period which is probably equal to a training camp and so having said that, we've had a full offseason and a full training camp so now it's time to play and not make these kind of mistakes."
Down 14-10, the Panthers engineered a 13-play, 80-yard march to start the second half. Carolina converted four third downs on the possession, which took 8:32 off the clock and concluded with Newton's 14-yard scamper to paydirt.
On a series which bled into the final quarter, Matt Bryant tied the game at 17-17 with a 24-yard field goal less than a minute into the fourth. Charles Johnson sacked Ryan on a 3rd-and-goal from the two to set up the boot.
After Carolina went three-and-out, Atlanta took over at its own 40-yard line. Ryan finished off the 10-play drive with a quarterback sneak from the one to put the Falcons back on top, 24-17, with exactly seven minutes to play.
On Carolina's second play, Corey Peters intercepted Newton on an attempted screen pass and the Falcons took over at the Panthers' 41-yard line. Eight plays and five minutes later, Turner's two-yard score put the game away.
The Panthers put together one last drive, but Thomas DeCoud picked off Newton in the end zone on the last play of the game.
Carolina got on the board first as Olindo Mare's 42-yard field goal split the uprights. Newton picked up two critical third downs on the possession. He scrambled for 12 yards on a 3rd-and-6 from his own 30, and then found Legedu Naanee on a 3rd-and-9 at the Falcons' 40 for a 14-yard gain. Smith also had a 17-yard reception on the 13-play, 64-yard drive.
Atlanta's next drive was helped by a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone on Charles Godfrey as his arms got tied up with White as he went up for the ball. The Falcons gained 37 yards on the infraction, and Turner rolled in from a yard out on the next play to make it 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Stewart concluded a nine-play, 81-yard march with a one-yard score on Carolina's ensuing possession. Jeremy Shockey's 31-yard reception into Atlanta territory and Naanee's 17-yard catch to the hosts' 14-yard line highlighted the drive.
Chris Gamble was then the guilty party as he was tangled up with White on the right sideline on the Falcons' next drive. Once again the ball was placed on the one, and Ryan found Ovie Mughelli to put the Falcons back on top, 14-10, with 3:49 to go until halftime.
Carolina moved the ball to Atlanta's 10-yard line on its next possession, but Newton was picked off by Brent Grimes to preserve the four-point margin at halftime.
Atlanta has won four in a row and 13 of 17 home games against Carolina since the Panthers came to the NFL in 1995...Turner recorded his 11th career rushing touchdown against Carolina...Shockey had 60 yards receiving, while Greg Olsen caught five balls for 42 yards.
10/16 18:28:45 ET
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