Atlanta Falcons upset Carolina Panthers, 20-13


The Atlanta Falcons pull off the biggest upset of the 2015 NFL season, by defeating the then undefeated Carolina Panthers at home in Week 16, 20-13.

The Atlanta Falcons shock the NFL by upsetting a major NFC South rival in the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 16, 20-13. Carolina entered Week 16 at an undefeated 14-0. Atlanta was barely breathing in the NFC Wild Card race at 7-7. Through stellar defense, a balanced offensive game plan, and limiting turnovers, the Atlanta Falcons pulled off the biggest upset of 2015 at home against the Carolina Panthers.

Matt Ryan led the way for the Atlanta Falcons offense, completing 23-30 passes for 306 yards and one touchdown. That touchdown was one of the best plays made by any team in the NFL this season: a 70-yard aerial strike to Pro Bowl wideout Julio Jones.

-= Related: Atlanta Falcons look to enact revenge on Carolina Panthers =-

Jones had his way with the Panthers’ defense, grabbing nine catches for 178 yards and that unbelievable touchdown. He is certainly living up to the deal he signed this past offseason, as Jones is undoubtedly one of the NFL’s top three receivers in 2015.

More from Atlanta Falcons

Ryan did spread the football around a good bit on Sunday, having five receivers have at least two receptions. The veteran wide receiver Roddy White had five catches for 67 yards. He is still a strong possession receiver in the middle of the field and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now finding ways to get him the football more in these last few weeks. Jacob Tamme had four catches, Devonta Freeman had three, and Justin Hardy had a pair.

Though Devonta Freeman did not eclipse the 1,000 rushing yard threshold in Week 16, he moves within easy striking distance of it against the awful New Orleans Saints defense next week. Freeman had 73 yards on 22 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run to tie the game up at seven points a piece early in the second quarter. He needs only 20 yards to get to 1,000 against the Saints at home next Sunday.

Outside of the skill positions on offense, we did see the best game of Vic Beasley‘s young NFL career. He had four tackles including a strip-sack fumble on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to seal the upset victory. His effort and play were outstanding in Week 16. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for him in 2016.

Though he missed a pitiful field goal attempt early, kicker Shayne Graham had the boot when the Atlanta Falcons needed him most. After forcing a turnover on downs against the Carolina Panthers inside of two minutes, the Atlanta Falcons could not get out of their own way, with three straight penalties on their three-and-out.

Live Feed

Falcons vs. Panthers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15
Falcons vs. Panthers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15 /

Blogging Dirty

  • Every NFL Team's Playoff Odds Following Week 14 (Two New Division Leaders in NFC)Betsided
  • NFC South Odds: Who Will Win the Worst Division in Football?Betsided
  • Atlanta Falcons have yet another chance to slip back into playoff picture Blogging Dirty
  • NFL Week 15 Survivor Pool Picks (Trust Rams, Fade Panthers in Top Predictions)Betsided
  • Road to 272 Bets - NFL Week 15 Picks for Every Game Betsided
  • Rather than punt outside of Graham’s range, head coach Dan Quinn put the Falcons kicker out there to sink a career-54 yard field goal. Graham isn’t a youngster anymore, but was able to put his frustrations of that previous miss into that kick, putting the Atlanta Falcons up 20-13. It tied the Panthers’ hands as only a touchdown and a PAT would tie the game and force overtime should Newton have led the Panthers to an improbable game-tying drive.

    While we hoped for the best in this game, many Atlanta Falcons fans would have come away pleased with a strong effort in what we assumed was a certain loss. Carolina was an undefeated team and Atlanta was only two weeks removed from a six-game losing streak.

    What we saw was a team not willing to let a division rival get the best of them. Maybe Carolina overlooked Atlanta in this game, but the Atlanta Falcons didn’t punish themselves with costly turnovers and played all-around good defense to keep the Dirty Birds in the game late.

    Next: Matt Ryan on pace for another 4,500 yard passing season

    This is one of the better victories the Atlanta Falcons have had in the last several seasons. Though the Atlanta Falcons need the Minnesota Vikings to stumble against a Odell Beckham, Jr.-less New York Giants to stay alive in the NFC Playoffs race, perhaps the NFL should take notice that the Atlanta Falcons are starting to figure some things out in the final weeks under first-year head coach Dan Quinn. Rise Up