In dramatic fashion, the Atlanta Falcons rallied back to defeat the Carolina Panthers 30-28 at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 30.
In this traditional battle between NFC South rivals, the Panthers promptly opened the scoring with a 5-play, 53-yard, first-quarter drive, culminating with a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cam Newton to tight end Greg Olson for a 7-0 lead.
Soon after, Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan found All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White for a 49-yard touchdown reception.
It was one of two first-half touchdown receptions for White,helping the Falcons lead 17-14at halftime.
The Falcons lead increased to 24-14 early in the third quarter,when Ryan threw to a 60-yard touchdown pass that gave running back Michael Turnerhis first NFL touchdown reception.
The Panthers fought back, going up 28-24, but Matt Bryant’s 33-yard field goal brought the Falcons to within one with 2:58 to play.
After a Falcons defensive stop, the “Angry Birds” began the game winning drive on their own one-yard line.
On the drive’s first play, Ryan tossed a 59-yard pass to White, who out jumped Panthers safetyHaruki Nakamurafor the catch.
“Matt (Ryan) told me he was going to throw it up there, and make a play. I tried to hold on to it, and give our team an opportunity to win,” said White.
A pass interference call on the next play, followed two plays later by Bryant’s 40-yard field goal gave the Falcons their first four-game winning streak since 2006.
“Our goal today was to finish the first quarter of the season at 4-0 and we got that done,” voiced Falcons’head coach Mike Smith.
The Falcons join the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texansas the league’s remaining undefeated teams.