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Falcons vs Panthers: Who Won the Battle?

Falcons vs Panthers

The Falcons came to Charlotte on Thursday night to reclaim the NFC South lead. Instead, they were defeated not just by Hurricane Nicole’s remnants but also by their rival Panthers. Both teams were very inspired in such poor conditions. Even though Arthur Smith’s offence failed until the final minutes, with Desmond Ridder to replace every other downfield, Carolina showed signs of life under interim coach Steve Wilks, winning 25-15 thanks to D’Onta Foreman’s 100-yard performance and ferocious defensive line performance. Walker was back in the starting lineup at quarterback for the victory, but he remained in the background as Carolina relied on the run.

How did the Panthers triumph?

They played the exact type of football that should be played when it rains. Despite the return of Chuba Hubbard from injury, D’Onta Foreman handled 31 carries like a pro, continually pushing ahead and finishing with 130 yards and a hard-earned touchdown. P.J. Walker struggled initially but finally settled in as the offence’s background shepherd, eased by his time-consuming efforts. Steve Wilks’ defence tormented Marcus Mariota all night and was the real winner. Brian Burns, Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown, Frankie Luv, and Marquis Haynes combined for four sacks for loss on a relatively quiet night.

Why did the Falcons lose?

Atlanta’s woes extended far beyond special teams, as Younghoe Koo missed points in heavy rain, a first in his famous young career. The major problem: Arthur Smith’s offense, which initially refused to use Cordarrelle Patterson, suddenly went heavy on the pass in the rain, resulting in one of Mariota’s worst games in a season full of duds. Late in the game, the quarterback fought back, bringing the game within a touchdown, but only after a poor interception and forcing off-target throws to the chronically underutilized Kyle Pitts. Atlanta’s defense eventually gave up against the run, allowing a vast Laviska Shenault touchdown on a swing pass, but this was due primarily to Smith’s group failing.

Turning Point of the Game:

The Panthers led the Falcons 13-9 in the third quarter before Mariota’s touchdown pass to Drake London. On the other hand, Carolina gained 43 yards on easy access to Terrace Marshall Jr., who shed many tackles to put the Panthers inside Atlanta’s 40-yard line two plays later. Wilks’ team immediately pounced, scoring on a 13-yard run by Foreman to establish a dominating lead. The Panthers showed right away that they could make Mariota uncomfortable. Pressure drove the Falcons quarterback to slide left, out of the pocket, and then chuck it long — right into the arms of Jaycee Horn.

Marcus Mariota’s poor decision-making in Atlanta led to costly sacks and limited the offense at critical times. Mariota put together a terrific touchdown drive while his team was behind, but the Falcons could not replicate that success when they had a chance to tie the game minutes later. After the Falcons lost back-to-back games for the first time since the season began, there will undoubtedly be calls for rookie Desmond Ridder to be given a chance. The fact that Atlanta is still in the thick of the race could impact quarterback selection. Carolina is without a quarterback, but the team’s remaining schedule includes only two opponents with winning records.

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