Falcons efficient in the red zone, on third down to take first-half lead vs. Panthers

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ATLANTA – The Falcons wanted to be more efficient in their home opener, and through at least one half of play, they've accomplished that goal.

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Atlanta was 2-of-2 in its red-zone opportunities in the first half against Carolina, scoring on two touchdown passes from Matt Ryan to Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. This occurred after a tough showing in Week 1, when the Falcons were just 1-of-5 inside of the red zone.

Ridley's touchdown, the first of his career, came on a crucial third down for the Falcons, who were trailing 10-3 at the time. Hooper's score occurred at the end of a solid two-minute drill by Atlanta, and helped the Falcons take a 17-10 lead heading into halftime.

The red zone wasn't the only area where the Falcons were successful at a good clip. Atlanta was 4-of-6 on third down in the first half, a conversion rate of 67 percent.

A strong blend of run and pass created several big plays for the Falcons' offense in the first half. Ryan completed 14-of-17 passes for 135 yards, and two of his incompletions came on deep shots to Julio Jones. Tevin Coleman, getting the start at running back for the injured Devonta Freeman, carried the ball six times for 73 yards.

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