The Atlanta Falcons scored the first points of the game, and they ultimately scored enough to earn their second victory of the 2020 season. Atlanta left Carolina with a 25-17 win against the Panthers in the second meeting between the two division rivals.
Interim head coach Raheem Morris wanted to see a game-winning play from his defense, and it was Blidi Wreh-Wilson who came through with the interception late in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory.
An 8-yard touchdown run by Todd Gurley, who leads the NFL in touchdown runs, gave Atlanta a 25-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, a lead that they would not relinquish.
After a couple of impressive tackles by Wreh-Wilson, the Falcons regained possession and took enough time off the clock to stifle any serious chance the Panthers had to mount a comeback. It was a back-and-forth game for much of the contest between Atlanta and Carolina, but the Falcons defense put together a much more impressive performance than it did in the first meeting between these two teams.
Atlanta allowed just 304 yards to Carolina, holding the Panthers to just 2-of-10 on third downs and denying two of their three fourth-down attempts. The Falcons' pass defense was particularly effective, allowing just 157 yards through the air and registering three sacks. Keanu Neal and Deion Jones led the way on defense, earning a combined 13 tackles.
Offensively, the Falcons put together a balanced performance. Gurley and fellow running back Brian Hill shouldered the load on the ground, with some additional help from Matt Ryan on a couple of scrambles, and Julio Jones turned in another huge performance against the Panthers.
The Falcons ended the evening with 401 yards of offense - 131 rushing and 270 passing. Atlanta wasn't particularly efficient on third down or in the red zone, converting just 33 percent of its attempts in both aspects, but the Falcons made the plays when needed. Many of those came courtesy of Jones, who finished with seven catches for 137 yards.
With a Younghoe Koo 36-yard field goal, the Falcons entered halftime with a 16-14 lead. It was Koo's third field goal of the half. He also hit from 20 and 37 yards out, which complemented a 13-yard run from Matt Ryan; the Falcons' only touchdown of the first half.
Carolina scored two touchdowns in the first half, both of them coming from Curtis Samuel. The Panthers wide receiver scored on a 12-yard run and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater.
Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers with top photos from Week 8.