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(Sunday, November 15th)
Final Score: Carolina 28, Atlanta 19
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Jonathan Stewart gained 82 yards on 11 carries and scored twice, including a 45-yard TD late in the fourth quarter, as Carolina downed Atlanta, 28-19, in an NFC South battle.
Jake Delhomme was 15-of-24 for 195 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers (4-5), who have won two of three.
DeAngelo Williams led the rushing attack with 92 yards on 19 carries, while Steve Smith added a pair of TD receptions and Muhsin Muhammad caught six balls for 91 yards.
"There's some frustration at not being able to pass the ball consistently, but I wouldn't call it a conservative offense," said Carolina head coach John Fox about the team's troubles early in the season. "Today was as good a start as any to get back on track."
Matt Ryan was an inconsistent 22-of-41 for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Falcons (5-4), who have dropped three of four.
Michael Turner rushed for 111 yards on nine carries before exiting the game late in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle. Jason Snelling took over and racked up 61 yards and a score on 18 carries and Roddy White hauled in seven balls for 98 yards.
Jason Elam's 24-yard make capped Atlanta's first drive of the second half but the visitors were still behind by eight. John Kasay's 51-yard try on the Panthers' next drive was blocked, and Ryan led his club 59 yards in 11 plays, hitting Justin Peelle for a score but the conversion pass failed.
Elam missed a 34-yard attempt on the Falcons' following possession after Ryan failed on a 3rd-and-1 sneak from the Panthers' 16. Carolina failed to move the ball on its following series, then Eric Weems returned the punt to midfield.
Ryan's first pass was snatched away by Richard Marshall, and Stewart broke free for a 45-yard touchdown three plays later for a 28-19 game with 2:07 remaining.
The Falcons turned the ball over on downs with 1:35 to go after White's eight-yard catch was short on a 4th-and-10. Carolina ran four plays without a victory formation to run out the remaining time.
"We obviously didn't play our best game today," said Falcons head coach Mike Smith. "We turned the ball over twice, in crucial situations, and it's really hard to get the outcome you want when that happens."
A 40-yard run by Turner into Carolina territory on Atlanta's first drive set up a 35-yard boot by Elam.
The Panthers countered on the following series, as a 19-yard strike from Delhomme to Smith to the one set the stage for a one-yard plunge from Stewart.
Williams' 28-yard dash to the Falcons' five early in the second previewed a four-yard TD pass to Smith for a 14-3 game, but Atlanta responded on a 14-play drive as Snelling rumbled in from the one.
Ryan was then picked off by Sherrod Martin, who returned the ball to the Falcons' 33 and six plays later Carolina went up 21-10 after Smith's four-yard reception in the end zone.
The Falcons had won three of the last four meetings...Atlanta wide receiver Brian Finneran, listed as questionable, did not suit up...Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross left the game at the half with an apparent leg injury and did not return. Following the game, the Panthers reported that Gross suffered a broken right ankle and will miss the remainder of the season..Atlanta edged Carolina in total yardage, 400-380.
11/15 18:45:52 ET
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