The legend of Matt Ryan continues to grow–as do the chances for the Atlanta Falcons to make a strong run at the NFC South title this season and possibly much more as they defeated the Carolina Panthers 30-28 in comeback fashion. The Panthers held a 28-24 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Ryan led the Falcons down field on two drives in the final seven minutes (including the second with under a minute remaining from their own one-yard line) that set Matt Bryant up to nail two field goals (33-yard and game winning 40-yard).
Ryan put together another stellar game, completing 25 of his 40 pass attempts for 369 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. His most important completion came on the Falcons final drive where he tossed a 59-yard bomb to Roddy White from inside the Atlanta endzone, which took them down to the Carolina 40-yard line. Had it not been for this completion, then Atlanta would have lost their first game this season. Michael Turner produced his first 100-yard rushing game of the season (13 carries for 103 yards) as he helped the Falcons running attack balance the offense, allowing Ryan to have a huge game.
Panthers second year quarterback Cam Newton had a bounce-back performance (15-24 for 215 yards and two touchdowns along with nine rushing attempts for 86 yards and a touchdown) following his horrendous outing in week three versus the New York Giants, but it wasn’t enough to notch a much needed victory for Carolina. The Panthers defense sacked Ryan seven times (3.5 from defensive end Charles Johnson) but on the final drive, they couldn’t stop him or the Falcons offense from making key plays during crunch time.
Atlanta made more mistakes in this one than Carolina did, but in the end, good teams always seem to find a way to win and currently the Falcons look as if they are the best team in the NFC. Next, week the 4-0 Falcons head to FedEx Field to take on the 2-2 Washington Redskins while the 1-3 Panthers look to rebound following consecutive losses as they host the 2-2 Seattle Seahawks.