Oct 11, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal (22) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis (28) during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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Panthers defeat 0-5 Falcons for third straight win

Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes in a big first half and it was enough as the visiting Carolina Panthers defeated the winless Atlanta Falcons 23-16 on Sunday afternoon.

Bridgewater completed 27 of 37 passes for 313 yards and Mike Davis rushed for 89 yards and caught a touchdown pass as the Panthers (3-2) won their third game in a row.

The Falcons (0-5) gave up 437 yards of total offense, likely putting the future of coach Dan Quinn even more in question.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan went 21-for-37 for 226 yards with a costly fourth-quarter interception. Calvin Ridley caught eight passes for 136 yards. Todd Gurley rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

The Panthers took control with 14 points across the final 2:30 of the first half for a 20-7 advantage. An 89-yard drive for the last score at the 23-second mark was capped by Bridgewater’s 3-yard pass to Davis.

Atlanta began the second-half scoring on Younghoe Koo’s 46-yard field goal. The Falcons settled for Koo’s 31-yarder to conclude a 15-play possession to close within 20-13 on the third play of the fourth quarter.

Atlanta moved into possession for a potential tying touchdown, reaching the Carolina 5, before Ryan was picked off by Juston Burris in the end zone at the 8:49 mark.

At that point, the Falcons had taken 32 second-half snaps compared to Carolina’s 11.

But the Panthers then went on a 14-play drive that ate up more than 7 1/2 minutes as the Falcons used all their timeouts. Joey Slye’s 22-yard field goal with 1:10 to go clinched it on the team’s lone second-half scoring drive even though Koo was good on a 54-yard field goal with four seconds left.

The Falcons opened the scoring on Gurley’s 35-yard run in the first quarter, completing a 92-yard drive.

Slye connected on field goals from 38 and 39 yards on consecutive Carolina possessions. Then the Panthers finally reached the end zone on Bridgewater’s 57-yard connection with DJ Moore with 2:30 remaining in the first half.

The two field goal drives in the opening half consisted of 14 and eight plays. The first touchdown resulted from an 88-yard, five-play possession. Bridgewater threw for 261 yards — hitting on 20 of 27 throws — in the first half, marking the most in an opening half in the NFL this season.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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