The Atlanta Falcons blew out the Carolina Panthers at home today. If the Falcons could only play the Panthers every week, this team would be a lock for the playoffs.
It was less than a month ago when the Falcons went into Charlotte to blow the Panthers out. Fast forward to this Sunday, the Panthers have fired their head coach, Ron Rivera, and are in the middle of a four-game losing streak. With Cam Newton sidelined for the season after electing for foot surgery and Perry Fewell taking over, the Panthers are in no-mans land. After their blowout loss to the lowly Falcons today, the Panthers have even more questions going into the final games of the season.
The Atlanta Falcons are a different team when they play the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons were boosted by the returns of Julio Jones, Austin Hooper, and Chris Lindstrom on the offensive side of the ball. Add in a great day from Devonta Freeman and Brian Hill as a unit, and this Falcons offense has hummed against the Panthers. Matt Ryan orchestrated all of it, throwing for more than 300 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
It wasn’t just the offense that excelled against the Panthers. The defense, similar to the game from three weeks ago, balled out. Damontae Kazee picked off Kyle Allen twice today, and the Falcons could have picked off a couple more with better hands. The defensive line consistently got in the backfield today, getting five sacks today. Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley getting two each today. The defense held the Panthers to just 100 rushing yards as a team today. It was a complete performance from the team, the kind of game that makes you wonder what could have been if the defense could have done this every week.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 4-9, 7-9 for back-to-back seasons still in reach for Dan Quinn. The quest for back-to-back 7-9 seasons may come to end with a trip out to San Francisco next week. The 49ers continue to roll, beating the Saints in New Orleans today in a possible NFC Championship game.
The Falcons continue to baffle their fans week to week by being the on-field version of Jekyll and Hyde. It’s game’s like today that drives you crazy to watch this team with so much talent perform the way they do, but other weeks look like a bottom-five team in the NFL. Either way, the Falcons have three-games remaining to further bomb any hope of landing a top-five draft pick. With one more less almost guaranteed next week, look out for the definition of middle-of-the-road 6-10 season.