Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons vs. Panthers 2012: Atlanta suffers 30-20 upset in Carolina

The Atlanta Falcons will try to continue their winning ways on the road against the Carolina Panthers Sunday.

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Sean Weatherspoon: Falcons' D must 'bounce back'

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was disappointed in the effort of the defense against the Panthers, and knows the unit must bounce back going forward.


Mike Smith upset by lack of execution on 3rd downs

The Falcons struggled on third downs on both sides of the ball in the loss to the Panthers on Sunday, which upset coach Mike Smith.


Too little, too late as Falcons lose 30-20

Matt Ryan led the Falcons offense to 20 points in the second half, but it just wasn't enough for Atlanta to pull out another tough, gritty victory on the road.

Ryan finished the day 34-of-49 passing for 342 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Roddy White caught nine of those passes for 117 yards and a score.

The real issue, however, was Atlanta's inability to keep possession in the first half. This was, in large part, due to the continued ineffectiveness of Michael Turner when the team needs tough yards.

Turner managed a meager 14 yards on seven carries this afternoon, a pathetic total considering that the Panthers defense has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 128.8 yards per game this season.

The defense struggled as well, and showed that the absence of safety William Moore really does mean a lot for this team.

Cam Newton had a field day, throwing for 287 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing the ball nine times for 116 yards and a score. Steve Smith caught seven of Newton's passes for 109 yards and a TD.

And though coverage varied at times throughout the game, Atlanta managed to sack the elusive Newton only once (Vance Walker), and recorded just three QB hits.

With such a poor showing on both sides, the Falcons coaching staff and players will likely view today as a much-needed wake up call for a team that continually plays down to its competition.

The Falcons fall to 11-2 on the season, and 3-2 in NFC South matchups, but still remain on track to secure home-field advantage should they right the ship in the remaining weeks.


Ryan TD makes it 23-13, Falcons mounting comeback

The Falcons came into the second half playing like lambs, but after a lot of early miscues it seems that the Atlanta offense is finally finding its rhythm.

Since allowing Cam Newton to put the Panthers up 23-0 on a seemingly back-breaking, ridiculous 72-yard touchdown run, the Falcons have scored 13 unanswered points to make the score 23-13 Panthers.

A two-point conversion attempt, initially ruled good, was reversed by the officials and determined to be incomplete (a highly questionable call).

Matt Ryan, who began this game as sluggish as you could imagine, has now completed 22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns.

Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez have both gotten into the mix, making six receptions each for 79 yards and 49 yards respectively. White and Julio Jones both have touchdown catches in this game, now.

The Panthers offense, meanwhile, have gotten a dose of their own medicine, being kept off the field by a Falcons team that has finally managed to maintain possession of the ball in this game.

The Falcons will look to close the scoring gap in the remaining ten minutes of this ball game and complete what would be a very impressive comeback attempt.


Matt Ryan, ATL offense looking lost in Carolina

Through the entire first half, the Atlanta Falcons offense failed to cross midfield even once, as the Panthers held the group to just 35 total yards.

The big number, however, is time of possession: Carolina has held the ball for 23:48, compared to a meager 6:12 TOP attributed to the Falcons.

Atlanta has gotten the ball just three times on offense, all of which lasted seven plays or fewer. The team has managed only two first downs.

Michael Turner and the running game have been completely non-existent, with just three yards rushing on the day. And the Falcons leading receiver thus far, Jacquizz Rodgers, has two catches for 14 yards.

Any way you look at it, Matt Ryan's crew has been completely ineffective against a battered, sub-par Carolina defense.

Cam Newton, on the other hand, has completed 17 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. He also has 45 yards on five scrambles. Most importantly, his group has yet to turn the ball over once.

He's done well so far to take advantage of a Falcons secondary down one William Moore, finding top receiver Steve Smith five times for 86 yards already.

But it's not all gloom and doom just yet: the Falcons managed a 16-point road comeback against the Panthers as recently as last season.

Dirk Koetter will need to make some major adjustments, and the Falcons need to maintain possession as they try and mount yet another come-from-behind win this season.


Falcons starting slow against Cam Newton, Panthers

The Falcons have gotten off to a slow start on the road against the division rival Carolina Panthers, who lead 7-0 through one quarter of play.

Cam Newton has completed all eight of his passing attempts for 62 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown throw to Greg Olsen on the game's opening drive.

Atlanta's defense, which has had trouble against the run all season, has already allowed 56 rushing yards. DeAngelo Williams, who is filling in for injured starter Jonathan Stewart, has 36 yards of those yards on six carries.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense failed to get anything going on their first possession. Ryan completed two of his three passes, but a huge first-down sack by defensive tackle Frank Kearse put Atlanta in poor position to convert on second and third downs.

Meanwhile, the Panthers offense has continued moving the football, and converted on fourth-and-short in the waning minutes of the first quarter.

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