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Falcons vs. Panthers, Week 14: Second loss gives Falcons fans pause

A surprising loss to the Panthers sends a bit of a shock through the Falcons' faithful, but the loss to a good Panthers team is digested.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After running out to an 11-1 start to their season and a playoff spot locked up, fans of the Atlanta Falcons were certainly comfortable headed into their Sunday showdown with the Carolina Panthers. But after the Panthers upset the Falcons, there was a little head scratching.

At first over at The Falcoholic, the gut reaction was certainly a bit of pointing to the NFC South standings, where the Falcons have dominated the Panthers and the rest of the division all season.

The Panthers won the Super Bowl!

Oh wait. Nevermind. Their season ends in 3 weeks.

But after getting that out of the way, the digs instead turned to an examination of a Panthers team that might have underachieved this season. And a team that provided an interesting look at what the Falcons can sometimes lack.

Carolina is better than their record would indicate. ... Long story short, we didn't deserve to win. Our defense wasn't as good as they can be, though they were on the field a lot in the first half. Our offense wasn't even present until the second half. All in all, not a good day.

The bloggers keyed in on an imbalance between the running and passing games, which was inexplicable to the guys and might have had some residual effects on the impact of the Falcons' running game. Running back Michael Turner specifically was extremely limited in his production agains the Panthers.

I for one am dumbfounded by the inefficiency of our running game. Turner averaged two yards a carry today - not shocking given the lack of a balanced attack today. Throwing the ball forty-nine times and running the ball only eleven times isn't a recipe for success.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.