CHARLOTTE -- Dan Quinn has talked a great deal about the importance of creative more turnovers on defense and all three units playing complementary football. In the first quarter of the Falcons' game against the Panthers, his team provided both.
On Carolina's second possession of the afternoon, running back Jonathan Stewart broke through a hole for what looked to be a 9-yard gain. Falcons defenders swarmed to the Panthers' running back, however, and safety Keanu Neal ripped the ball free from Stewart's hands before he went to the ground.
After the forced fumble, Neal's first of the year, the Falcons' offense took over with the ball at the 39-yard and a three-point lead.
Atlanta's offense did not waste the gift the defense provided. Matt Ryan helped engineer an 8-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu, giving the Falcons a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.