The Falcons played an all-around complete game and earned consecutive divisional wins following a 29-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Matt Ryan was efficient against Carolina, completing 21 of 31 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown thrown. Falcons' receiver Calvin Ridley had a strong showcase as he gained 143 yards on eight catches and was targeted eight times. This is Ridley's second game of the season finishing with over 100 yards receiving. The Falcons' offense generated 368 yards of total offense against the Panthers.
Atlanta's defense stepped up big for consecutive games as the team forced four turnovers. Atlanta's defensive line brought pressure and got home on Panthers' quarterback Kyle Allen, sacking him five times in the game. Defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn picked up 2 sacks with Takkarist McKinley, Vic Beasley and Allen Bailey coming away with a sack each. Allen finished the game completing 31 of his 50 passes for 325 yards, zero touchdowns and four picks thrown. De'Vondre Campbell, Desmond Trufant, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee were credited for an interception each in the game. Panthers' running back Christian McCaffrey tallied 11 catches for 121 yards and finished with 14 carries for 70 yards on the ground.
Here are the main takeaways from the Falcons-Panthers game:
Ryan passes Warren Moon on all-time passing yards
Matt Ryan continues to make history as the 12th-year quarterback passed Warren Moon and moved into the top-10 for all-time passing yards. Ryan entered the game just 254 yards short of surpassing Moon and fulfilled that achievement after connecting with Calvin Ridley on a 6-yard touchdown completion. Ryan entered Week 11 completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2,352 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions thrown this season. Next on the all-time list is John Elway, who is No. 9 on the list with 51,475 career passing yards. For more on Matt Ryan moving up in the all-time passing yard list, click here.
Falcons' offense find success through the air
Although Atlanta's defense played a stellar game against the Panthers, it was the Falcons' offense who found much success through their passing game on Sunday. Ryan led the way for the Falcons offense totaling 311 yards and earning a 111.1 quarterback rating, while earning his seventh win in his last eight games against the Carolina. In the first half of the game, Ryan got off to a hot start completing seven out of 11 pass attempts for 96 yards and a touchdown, with six of those completions being thrown for first downs.
For more coverage on the Falcons' success in the passing game against the Panthers, click here.
Calvin Ridley celebrates mother's birthday with special TD dance
Following Calvin Ridley's 6-yard touchdown catch, the second year receiver broke out the dance moves to celebrate his mother's birthday as she turns 50 years old. After the catch, Ridley danced in a circle and pretended to play the guitar. "It was something she [does] at the house, so I just copied what she [does]," Ridley said after the game.
Ridley has been a main focal point in the Falcons offensive success with the receiver racking up big numbers on the road against Carolina. In his only two games played at Bank of America stadium, Ridley totaled 11 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns scored. "I don't know what it is but I kind of live here a little bit," Ridley said. "Just a good game plan, I felt good today, I ran good today, the plays were made."
For more coverage on Ridley's big day against Panthers, click here.
Tabeek: This is the defense we expected to see all along
In consecutive games, the Falcons' defense came more than prepare for their opponent and made a complete turnaround in the past two games. Many are wondering, where has this fight been all along amongst the Falcons' defense? Following the big-time Saints victory last week many believed that the rivalry between the two teams is what led to the Falcons statement win. Now that Atlanta's defense has risen to the occasion and defeated the Panthers, the Falcons have now proven to be more than just 'one-game wonders'.
Bottom line, no one saw a complete turnaround from the 1-7 Falcons coming off a well needed bye week. Now the biggest question is whether the Falcons continue to play consistently? For right now, the Falcons defense is playing at a high level and look as good as any other any other defensive unit in this league.
For more on Matt Tabeek's column on the Atlanta's defense and what it means big-picture, click here.
Other notable performances:
- Running back Kenjon Barner had a big day on special teams. In the first quarter, Barner broke for a 78-yard punt return for the first touchdown in the game.
- Wide receiver Julio Jones was solid throughout the day, finishing with six catches for 91 yards in the game.
- Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell led the team in tackles after reeling in 11 with five being solo. Campbell also had an interception in the first quarter of the game, his first pick of the season.
- Linebacker Deion Jones was the second leader in tackles amongst the defense with eight recorded.
- Cornerback Desmond Trufant recorded seven tackles and had an interception, his third pick earned this season. This was Trufant's first game back since being sidelined with a toe injury back in Week 5 against the Houston Texans.
- Safety Ricardo Allen made some key plays in the game, ending the contest with 6 tackles and ended the game with an interception, his first of the season. Allen has tallied an interception against the Panthers in three consecutive games.
For those who want further analysis of Sunday's game between the Falcons and Panthers, check out an archive of our live blog below.