Panthers 24-3 at the half
It seemed the one o'clock games crept by as we waited to see Carolina go into Atlanta and fight for a playoff spot. Anxious. Excited. What would the Panthers do? Well, the Panthers came out hot. Cam led the offense two long consecutive drives, the first ending in a field-goal and the second with a touchdown pass to Ed Dickson. As the Panthers offense worked efficiently, the Panthers defense knocked the Falcons on their heads.
Cam fired two consecutive strikes to Greg Olsen, and Jonathan Stewart fought to punish the Falcons rush defense. The Panthers ended the half with 125 yards on the ground, coming from Cam, Stewart, and Philly Brown, while the Falcons could only muster 17 yards rushing. Cam looked dialed in, and took off for some big runs when there wasn't anything open in the air. Interrupted more by two big drops from Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers offense looked impressive.
The defense, also aided by a dropped Falcons touchdown, played inspired. The pass-rush clearly flustered Matt Ryan, who gave up a Pick-6 to Roman Harper. Ryan went down to both Kony Ealy and Big Money Charles Johnson. Luke Kuechly set the tone during Atlanta's first drive when he bulldozed Jaquizz Rogers to send the Falcons offense back to he sidelines.
Things started to fall apart for the Falcons, when Roddy White fumbled the ball in the last two minutes. Cam Newton rubbed salt in the wound when he rushed for a 5 yard TD to end the half. Atlanta struggled in all phases of the game, as indicated by the score. It's a tough environment to play, but it looks like Carolina came to fight.
Standout players at the half:
- Cam Newton (87 yds, TD, 51 rushing yds and TD)
- Jonathan Stewart (10-39 yds)
- Offensive Line
- Josh Norman (2 PD, 1 tackle)
- Luke Kuechly (4 tackles)
- Kony Ealy (1 sack)
- Roman Harper (4 tackles, INT for TD)
- Adarius Glanton (FF)