Early Bird Report: Falcons hope win can be start of something

The top Falcons headlines from around the country

The Atlanta Falcons earned their second win of the season on Thursday night, defeating the Carolina Panthers 25-17. It is the second win in the three games since interim head coach Raheem Morris took over, and the Falcons, who are currently 2-6, hope it won't be the last.

"We've been in every game we've played this year," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said after the game. "We've had some crazy losses to be frank. I really believe that we have the caliber of team to go be in every game that we're going to play in for the rest of this season. Why can't we win them all? That's the mindset that I have."

The Falcons will look to continue their winning ways next week against the Denver Broncos to build momentum heading into their bye. Following the bye, things get much tougher, however. Atlanta's opponents have a combined record of 29-16, and the Falcons will play both the Saints and the Buccaneers twice in their final seven games.

ESPN's Michael DiRocco wrote more about the Falcons hoping to get things rolling after Thursday night's victory.

Friday's NFL injury news

Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley had to leave the action due to an ankle injury on Thursday, but things may not be as serious as initially thought. NFL insider Ian Rapoport tweeted Friday that the x-rays on Ridley's foot were negative, and Raheem Morris didn't indicate after the game that the injury was major.

Falcons' Harris won't face suspension

In addition to the news of Ridley's injury, Rapoport tweeted that Falcons defensive end Charles Harris will not be suspended after a late hit on Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Harris was ejected for the hit, and Bridgewater was forced to temporarily leave the game due to an injury. CBSSports.com writer Patrik Walker had more to say about Harris not facing any suspension.

What we learned in Falcons' win

Atlanta's win on Thursday night is certainly among the bright spots for the fans this season. It was a game in which the defense was effective, Julio Jones helped spark the offense and a late clutch play helped seal the win. Grant Gordon provided a summary of the action in his recap piece for NFL.com.

"Refusing to go gentle into the offseason, the Falcons battled into a goodnight on Thursday and it was a much-maligned defensive backfield that came up clutch and fended off another fourth-quarter collapse," Gordon writes. "The only takeaway of the evening for the Falcons was Blidi Wreh-Wilson's interception of Teddy Bridgewater on the Panthers' last gasp of a drive. The Wreh-Wilson pick expunged any hopes of a Carolina comeback and likewise did away with another Atlanta freefall. While finding new and unspeakable ways to lose in the fourth quarter has been the story of the Falcons season, so too has been poor play from the defensive backfield, one mired by injuries and a major reason the Atlanta defense was 31st against the pass entering Thursday. But the Panthers mustered just 179 yards passing, Carolina receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson combining for only seven catches for 103 yards after they teamed up for 12 catches for 205 yards in the teams' earlier meeting. Grady Jarrett led a pass rush that pressured Bridgewater often and sacked him three times and Keanu Neal, Wreh-Wilson and A.J. Terrell did just enough in the defensive backfield to hang on. The Falcons (2-6) quite certainly have remaining issues with closing out victories, but against the Panthers (3-5), Atlanta's defense made a stand and staved off another crushing defeat."

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