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Game Notes: Falcons vs. Panthers

  • The Falcons improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2004 and just the third time in franchise history (1986, 2004 & 2012) with a 30-28 come-from-behind win over the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome.
  • With the win, Falcons head coach Mike Smith improved his record to 47-21, passing Leeman Bennett (46-41) for the second most wins in club history. Smith trails Dan Reeves, who posted a 49-59-1 record between 1997 and 2003.
  • Trailing 28-27 with 59 seconds remaining the game, QB Matt Ryan drove the offense 77 yards, including a 59-yard pass to WR Roddy White to help set up a 40-yard game-winning field goal by K Matt Bryant.
  • Atlanta's five-play, 77-yard drive in the final minute of play was the 17th game winning drive that Ryan has engineered in the fourth quarter or overtime during his career. He has led the Falcons on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter in each of the Birds last three games against the Panthers. Ryan is 5-0 against the Panthers at the Georgia Dome.
  • Beginning at the Falcons own one-yard line Ryan completed three of five pass attempts, including a 59-yard pass to White on the opening play of the drive. Four plays later, Bryant  connected from 40 yards for the win.
  • Bryant's 40-yard game winning field goal was the 13th game winner of his NFL career. He also added kicks from 41 and 33 yards earlier in the game and has now connected on 22 straight field goals. The veteran kicker set a franchise-record by putting 30 straight field goal attempts between the uprights between 2010 and 2011.
  • Ryan hit White for a 49-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The scoring strike was Ryan's ninth of the season and marked the 19th straight game in which he has thrown a touchdown pass.
  • Ryan would find White in the endzone for a second time with 1:55 remaining in the first half giving him a fifth straight game with at least two touchdown passes. Ryan has tossed multiple TD passes in each game this season and the Falcons own a 28-5 record when he accomplishes that feat.
  • Ryan finished the game with a season-high 369 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He completed 25 of 40 pass attempts and posted a 107.2 passer rating in the win. Dating back to the 2011 season finale, Ryan has posted a QB rating above 100 in five straight games, including all four games in 2012.
  • Sunday marked Ryan's 11th career 300-yard game. He is just two 300-yard performances away from overtaking Steve Bartkowski's all-time mark of 12, set from 1975 to 1985. In 2011, Ryan set a single-season club record with six 300-yard passing games.
  • The Falcons are 27-0 when Ryan has rating of 100-or-better since 2008. Atlanta's 30-28 win over the Panthers in Week 4 marked the first time he's posted a rating above 100 in four consecutive games in a single season.
  • In 2012, Ryan has completed 102 of 147 pass attempts (69.4 percent) for 1,162 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions for an NFL-best 112.1 quarterback rating.
  • Sunday marked the seventh multi-touchdown game of White's career and his first since 12/15/11 against Jacksonville. He currently ranks third in franchise history with 48 receiving touchdowns, trailing only Terance Mathis (57) and Andre Rison (56).
  • White finished the game with eight catches for a season-high 169 yards. He improved his franchise record for 100-yard games to 30 and his 169 yard outburst was the third-best of his career and his highest receiving total since 10/24/10 when he caught 11 passes for 201 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • With his two touchdown receptions on Sunday, White tied RB Gerald Riggs for fourth on the Falcons all-time total touchdowns list. Only WR Terance Mathis (57), WR Andre Rison (56) and RB Michael Turner (53) have found the endzone more than White during their Falcons careers.
  • Turner caught his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter, taking a screen pass 60 yards for a score. Since 2008, Turner's 53 total touchdowns rank second in the NFL behind RB Adrian Peterson (56).
  • Turner finished the game with 103 yards on 13 carries. He recorded his 26th 100-yard game as a Falcon, breaking a tie with RB Gerald Riggs for sole possession of the franchise record.
  • In nine career games against Carolina, the Burner has amassed 886 yards on 140 carries with 12 touchdowns, 11 rushing and one receiving.
  • DE John Abraham closed out the game by sacking QB Cam Newton for a five-yard loss on the final play. Abraham is the NFL's active sack leader with 115.0 sacks and he ranks 15th on the NFL's all-time sacks list.
  • The Falcons brought down Newton three times on Sunday as Abraham, LB Sean Weatherspoon and DT Vance Walker all notched sacks against Carolina's quarterback. Weatherspoon has sacked Newton in two consecutive games and has posted seven sacks in his three-year career.
  • In the first quarter, CB Dunta Robinson forced WR Steve Smith to fumble on an end around. DE Ray Edwards recovered the loose ball to give the Falcons possession at the Carolina 30 and set up a 21-yard field goal for Bryant. In 2012, the Falcons have scored 43 points off of 12 takeaways.
  • The turnover was the 12th forced by Atlanta this season. The Falcons have posted at least one takeaway in 37 of their last 39 games, including all four games this season.
  • Atlanta improved to 23-12 all-time against Carolina, including a 7-2 mark under Smith. The Falcons also improved to 6-1 in their throwback uniforms since introducing the 1966 retro kit in 2009.
  • On Sunday, the Falcons posted two scoring drives that took less than four plays, including a pair of long touchdown passes from Ryan. This season, the Falcons have unveiled a potent quick strike offense, scoring 35 points on five scoring drives of four-plays-or-less.
  • Carolina QB Cam Newton hit TE Greg Olsen for a 17-yard touchdown on the Panthers first offensive possession. The score marked just the second time in the last 21 games that the Falcons have allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on their first offense possession. The last time Atlanta allowed an opening drive touchdown was 12/26/11 at New Orleans.
  • Since 2008, the Falcons have allowed 107 points to their opponents on opening drives which ranks among the League leaders. Atlanta entered the game ranked sixth in the NFL during that span, allowing 100 points on opponents opening drives.
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