It's a division matchup in the Georgia Dome on Sunday as the Falcons take on the Panthers in Week 16. Take a look at these photos from gameday.
Never one to flap his gums, Julio Jones has always believed that, when it comes to football, actions speak louder than words. The superstar receiver proved as much on Sunday, when he and the Falcons pulled a massive upset by handing Panthers their first loss of 2015.
Shayne Graham made it a four-point game with 2:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Atlanta's defense promptly forced Carolina to turn the ball over on downs. Shayne Graham then made a 54-yard field goal on the ensuing drive to make it a seven-point contest.
The Panthers had more than a minute left on the clock, but Vic Beasley, Jr., who had his best game as a pro, stripped Newton and allowed Adrian Clayborn to recover it, virtually securing a 20-13 victory for the Falcons.
Jones made the play of the afternoon when he caught a jumpball and ran into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown catch, one that gave the Falcons their first lead of the day. He finished with nine catches for 178 yards and broke his own franchise record for receiving yards in a season. Jones' score was also Matt Ryan's 200th career TD pass. Atlanta's QB completed 23 of 30 passes for 306 yards and a score
Roddy White added 67 receiving yards on four catches for good measure. The veteran WR's last reception of the day—a 17-yard grab with 4:10 left in regulation—helped set up Graham's big kick. Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman had a big game, as well, tallying 90 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown—his league-leading 11th of the year.
Although the playoffs may still be a long shot, taking down an undefeated team—a division rival, no less—in Week 16 should inspire a lot of confidence in what Dan Quinn is doing as head coach. This matchup showed what the Falcons are capable of when they hold their own at the line of scrimmage, play fundamentally sound and maintain a balanced offensive attack. And that should make people in Atlanta very excited.