The Carolina Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak to their longtime divisional rival, the Atlanta Falcons, on Sunday before a delighted home crowd in Charlotte. The Panthers got good games out of both quarterback Cam Newton and rookie running back Christian McCaffrey in the ground game.
After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, they have fallen apart and given up 20 unanswered points to Carolina.
Atlanta nearly made a game of it late, cutting the Carolina lead to 20-17 late in the fourth quarter.
Devin Funchess had five receptions for 86 yards in his first game as Carolina's No. 1 receiver after the team traded Kelvin Benjamin earlier in the week. It marked the third time this season the 4-4 Falcons blew a lead to lose a game.
Steph Curry is a huge Carolina Panthers fan, and he found himself envying Cam Newton's athleticism during Sunday's game against the Falcons. After the first recovery, Atlanta marched downfield and scored easily as Mohamed Sanu stutter-stepped on an out-route from the slot at the Carolina 6-yard line to get by Daryl Worley.
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The Falcons have won the last three games after Carolina won five of six before that.
Panthers: Adams left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. A deconstructed flea-flicker to Curtis Samuel went for 14 yards, while a reverse play was carried by Russell Shepard for 11 yards. That Newton led the team in rushing for a fourth straight game is concerning, though. Atlanta LB Vic Beasley Jr. had one sack, pushing his total to 19.5 since 2016 for the second most in the NFC.
The Panthers allowed 40 points or more in three games past year - Week 3 against Atlanta (48), Week 6 versus New Orleans (41) and Week 13 in Seattle against the Seahawks (40).
Carolina's defense then held Ryan and the offense to four consecutive stops to get the ball back on downs, and sealed the game.