Falcons score against Panthers, takeaway: Carolina swallows Marcus Mariota, Atlanta in nasty NFC South contest

Falcons score against Panthers, takeaway: Carolina swallows Marcus Mariota, Atlanta in nasty NFC South contest

The Falcons arrived in Charlotte Thursday night aiming to reclaim the NFC South lead. Instead, they came away dampened and defeated, not only by the rainy remnants of Hurricane Nicole, but also by their rival Panthers. Neither team was particularly inspiring in such sloppy conditions, but as Arthur Smith’s attack failed until the dying minutes, Marcus Mariota practically begging Desmond Ridder to replace him on every other heave on the pitch , Carolina actually showed spurts of life under interim coach Steve Wilks, riding a 100-yard night from D’Onta Foreman, plus a ferocious performance from their defensive line, to seal a 25-15 win.

The Panthers improve to 3-7 with the win, and 2-3 since Wilks replaced Matt Rhule on the sidelines. PJ Walker returned to his starting role under center for the win, although he remained in the background as Carolina leaned into the run. Mariota, meanwhile, inexplicably broadcast more than usual for Atlanta, taking a number of ill-advised deep shots as the Falcons fell to 4-6, behind the Buccaneers in the South.

Here are some more takeaways from Thursday night’s divisional contest:

Why the Panthers won

They played exactly the kind of football you’re supposed to play when hurricane rains hit the action. D’Onta Foreman was the definition of a workaholic despite Chuba Hubbard’s return from injury, and he handled 31 carries like a pro, still advancing and finishing with 130 yards and a hard-earned score. His clockwork efforts relieved PJ Walker, who was spotty early on but settled in as the offense’s bottom shepherd. Steve Wilks’ defense was the real winner, however, after Marcus Mariota all night. On a relatively quiet night for Brian Burns, everyone enjoyed themselves, with Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown, Frankie Luv and Marquis Haynes combining for four sacks and nine tackles for loss. This whole unit played with confidence, using the weather to their advantage, and headlined the narrow victory in a short week.

Why the Falcons lost

Younghoe Koo missed two extra points in the rain – a first for him in his prestigious young career – but Atlanta’s problems went far beyond special teams. The main problem: Arthur Smith’s attack, which refused to use Cordarrelle Patterson early, inexplicably got weighed down on the pass in the rain and got one of Mariota’s worst performances in a season full of outings uncertain. The QB showed a late fight, pulling the game in a score, but only after throwing a bad interception (and at least three other potential picks) while forcing off-mark throws to perennially underused Kyle Pitts. Atlanta’s “D” eventually wore against the run, also allowing a big TD from Laviska Shenault on a swing pass, but it was mostly a case of Smith’s group failing at the most important moment. , finishing just 3 of 13 in third or fourth runs. rooms.


Leading 13-9 in the third quarter, the Panthers had just allowed the Falcons to close with a pass from Mariota TD to Drake London. But then, two plays into the next series, Carolina gained 43 yards on a short pass to Terrace Marshall Jr., who lost several tackles to push the Panthers inside Atlanta’s 40. From there, Wilks’ team beat it forward, sealing the drive with a 13-yard run from Foreman to cement their lead for good.

Game of the game

The Panthers showed early on that they could make Mariota uncomfortable, and that was never clearer than when the pressure forced the Falcons QB to roll a left, out of the pocket, and then roll him. throw deep – into the waiting arms of Jaycee Horn:

And after

The Panthers (3-7) will hit the road in Week 11 to face the Ravens (6-3), who are resting after beating the Saints in prime time. The Falcons (4-6), meanwhile, will return home to host the Bears (3-6), who face the Lions this weekend.

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