Falcons Still in Playoffs Hunt After Beating Panthers (29-21) on The Road

Falcons are now 6-7 and now have four games for a playoff push. Falcons are still finding ways to win games without WR Calvin Ridley. Others are stepping up and taking on the challenge and it's happening in road games. Falcons have not won a game at home this season unless you count the London win vs Jets which counted as a home game for the Falcons.

Falcons are currently 5-2 on the road after beating Panthers at home. Falcons now have road wins over the New York Giants, Dolphins, Saints, Jaguars and Panthers.The Falcons and the Saints are tied for second place in the division, but the Falcons have the head-to-head tie break because the Falcons won 27-25 on Nov. 7.

Falcons fell behind early as Cam Newton and the Panthers marched down the field on the opening drive. The Panthers targeted the right side of the Falcons defense as outside linebacker Steven Means and cornerback Fabian Moreau had difficulty setting the edge and containing the ball carriers.

Cordarrelle Patterson was asked on Thursday what were the keys to beating the Panthers and he said, “Run the ball,” Patterson said. “Run the ball. Run the ball.” Patterson had his fifth rushing touchdowns of the season on a 5-yard run in the first quarter. Koo’s point after tied the game 7-7. He finished with 16 carries for 58 yards.

Falcons defense looked stellar vs Cam Newton and Panthers offense for most of the game. The Falcons defense recorded three takeaways and returned one for a touchdown. Newton was under pressure throughout the game as he fumbled and threw an a pick 6 to Mykal Walker. He was later benched for PJ Walker who also threw a pick in the game. With the Falcons up 20-14, Grady Jarrett recovered a fumble by Newton in the third quarter at the Panthers 49. “I got stepped on,” Newton said. “I just should have ate it.” After that costly fumble, Falcons went on to score again after a 3-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan making the score 26-14. Carolina ran the ball affective in the first half. Panthers game plan was to run the ball as they had 203 yards in the first outing this year and only had 91 yards this game.

“We just took it personally,” Walker said. “Coach let us know. Kind of called us out last time. It was something that coach (Dean) Pees and them, they talked to us. It was personal. You let someone come in there and run all over you. You’ve got to fight back. The guys did a hell of job up front. I’m just proud of them doing that.”

Falcons not allowing a sack on Matt Ryan played a big part in getting the win. He was hit 7 times but not giving up a sack and yardage is key. Non sacks mean Matt Ryan had a clean enough pocket to throw the ball successful down the field. We all know Ryan under pressure is not the best especially when he starts scrambling around.

The Falcons head to San Francisco next week to take on the 7-6 49ers in San Francisco who currently sits in the seventh and final NFC playoff spot. For the Falcons to be able to win against San Francisco, they will need to stop a run heavy offense who use a lot of players for different situations. We all know how Kyle Shanahan call plays.

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