The Carolina Panthers crossed state lines to circle around the Atlanta Falcons. Televised by Fox and narrated by John Lynch and Dick Stockton, the first quarter began with the Falcons on offense but the Panthers’ defense was able to prevent the birds of prey to execute a first possession visit to the end zone. When the Panthers got the ball, their quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olson eventually connected for a touchdown. Carolina 7 and Atlanta 0. The Falcons got down to the red zone and spent a number of plays down there but were unable to score. Safety Haruki Nakamura intercepted Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, promptly ending any more tries to get on the board. By the end of the first quarter, Matt Ryan’s forty-nine yard pass to wide receiver Roddy White livened up the atmosphere for Falcons fans. Carolina 7 and Atlanta 7.
The Panthers didn’t have the ball for very long when Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson stripped the ball from Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. The Falcons recovered the loose ball. Several plays later, they took a small lead with a field goal. The Panthers reclaimed the lead with a DeAngelo Williams TD in the second quarter and then saw that lead slip away as the Falcons jumped back on top with a Roddy White TD catch. Atlanta 17 and Carolina 14.
The top of the third quarter boosted the Falcons’ lead with a sixty-yard bolt into the end zone by running back Michael Turner. Tight end Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White provided some blocking so that Turner could make that run. Atlanta 24 and Carolina 14.
The Panthers were not about to let the Falcons push them down the score board, though. Cam Newton crossed the goal line with three minutes left in the quarter. Atlanta 24 and Carolina 21. The middle of the fourth quarter saw another Panthers TD, thanks to wide receiver Kealoha Pilares. With five minutes left to play, Falcons head coach Mike Smith decided to go for field goal and get the ball back, rather than risk not being able to get into the end zone and not having the opportunity to try again. The Falcons managed to get a field goal to trail by one point. A series of complete passes gave the Falcons a chance to win with a forty yard FG.
Atlanta 30 and Carolina 28. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Why did the field of the Dome look so chalky?
2. The Falcons wore black tops and white bottoms; the Panthers wore white tops and bottoms. Many of the players’ pants were tinged with red by halftime, which is not surprising given all the rolling, sliding, and sweating.
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