Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jacob Kupferman/AP/Shutterstock (13618781cg) Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman runs for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, in Charlotte, N.C Falcons Panthers Football, Charlotte, United States – 10 Nov 2022
Panthers 25, Falcons 15
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers played arguably the most entertaining game of the season just ten days ago in Atlanta. A 37-34 overtime win that moved the Falcons into first place in the division. Atlanta has managed to remain atop the NFC South heading into Week 10 but would need a win on the road in Charlotte to ensure that they stay there through the weekend. They were greeted by the remnants of Hurricane Nicole, a driving rainstorm that created a unique environment under the lights at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers’ defense picked up a quick stop to begin the game, and their offense quickly drove into Atlanta territory on their first possession. After a dropped interception gave PJ Walker and the Panthers new life, Eddy Pineiro banked in a 46-yard field goal to give Carolina the lead. The Falcons’ next drive stalled out following consecutive offensive penalties, and the teams exchanged punts heading into the second quarter. It was Carolina who eventually scored the game’s first touchdown, an end-around run by Laviska Shenault for 41 yards and a 10-0 lead with 4:34 to go in the half. The Panthers’ momentum continued to swell on the ensuing Falcons drive, as Jaycee Horn’s interception of Marcus Mariota with just over four minutes to play in the half gave Carolina the football in Atlanta territory. Eddy Pineiro’s second field goal after the two-minute warning extended the Panthers’ lead to 13-0, but Atlanta managed to add three points of their own before the halftime buzzer.
After the Falcons’ defense forced a quick punt by Carolina to begin the half, Atlanta drove into Panthers’ territory hoping to cut into the lead. After a terrible decision to run out of bounds and lose seven yards by Marcus Mariota, the Falcons would once again punt despite having crossed midfield. Atlanta’s next drive cashed in though with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Drake London – and after Younghoe Koo missed the extra point, Carolina led 13-9 with six minutes to play in the third. The Panthers, suddenly feeling pressure as the rain in Charlotte subsided slightly, pushed 84 yards downfield over just seven plays, capping off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown by D’Onta Foreman. Eddy Pineiro missed his extra point as well though, leaving the score 19-9 with 1:51 to go in the third quarter.
Carolina extended their lead on Eddy Pineiro’s third field goal of the night, a 40-yarder that made it 22-9 with just over nine minutes remaining in the final quarter. Atlanta attempted to convert a fourth down on the following possession from their own territory, but Brian Burns’ sack of Marcus Mariota gave the Panthers back the ball with an opportunity to extend their lead. Carolina punted moments later though, marking four times in the game that a team had punted despite being in the opposition’s territory.
Facing a two-touchdown deficit with less than six minutes to play, Atlanta drove the football downfield quickly through the air. Their eight-play, 97-yard position was capped off by a 25-yard touchdown throw from Marcus Mariota to KhaDarel Hodge, but Atlanta could only pull within seven points after another missed extra point by Younghoe Koo. Trailing 22-15, Atlanta picked up a much needed three-and-out stop to get the football back with more than two minutes still on the clock. The Falcons’ offensive line struggled immediately though, as two sacks of Marcus Mariota set up a turnover on downs that all but iced the game. Carolina kicked a fourth field goal in the closing seconds to extend the margin to ten and moved to 3-7 on the season with the win.
Carolina rushed for 232 yards in the win, controlling the line of scrimmage all night. D’Onta Foreman toted the ball 32 times himself, finishing with 130 yards of his own. With the loss, the Atlanta Falcons need a loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday morning in Munich if they hope to stay in a tie for first place.
Next Week: Atlanta: vs. Chicago, Carolina: at Baltimore