FALCONS FALL TO PANTHERS 34-10 AT BANK OF AMERICA STADIUM IN CHARLOTTE
Atlanta dropped to 2-6 with the loss
Trailing 14-3 in the closing minutes of the first half, QB Matt Ryan led the offense on a six-play, 80-yard drive ending with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to TE Tony Gonzalez. Ryan has now thrown at least one touchdown in all eight games this season and dating back to 2012, he has tossed a TD pass in 14 straight games.
Gonzalez leads the team with four touchdown receptions this season and his 107 career touchdown catches are the sixth-most in NFL history and the most by any active player. He finished the game with six catches and 81 yards including a 17-yard touchdown reception.
Ryan broke QB Steve Bartkowski’s franchise record for career completions with his 1,872nd career completion on a 32-yard pass to WR Harry Douglas. Bartkowski completed 1,871 passes in 11 seasons with the Falcons. Ryan has now completed 1,879 passes in six NFL seasons.
Rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford each picked off Panthers QB Cam Newton in the first half. Trufant recorded his first career INT, picking off Newton at Atlanta’s own five-yard line to prevent a score. Alford’s second career interception came with the Panthers driving at the end of the first half. The second round pick out of Southeastern Louisiana caught an errant pass from Newton in the back corner of the end zone with 15 seconds remaining in the first to end another Carolina scoring threat.
Trufant finished the game with five tackles (four solo), one interception and one pass defensed. Entering Sunday’s game, the Falcons first round pick from Washington ranked third among all rookie cornerbacks with seven passes defensed behind Kansas City’s Marcus Cooper (11) and Buffalo’s Nickell Robey (8).
Alford has two interceptions this season, each of which has come in NFC South play. He notched his first career interception at New Orleans in Week 1.
Rookie LB Paul Worrilow finished the game with a career-high 19 total tackles (nine solo). Worrilow is one of four players on the active roster that were signed by the Falcons as a college free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft, joining LB Joplo Bartu, WR Darius Johnson, and T Ryan Schraeder.
DE Osi Umenyiora and DE Jonathan Massaquoi combined to sack Newton for a seven-yard loss. Umenyiora leads the Falcons with 4.5 sacks, while Massaquoi has recorded one sack this season.
WR Harry Douglas caught three passes for 82 yards, giving him 22 receptions and 352 yards in his last three games. He has posted four games this season with more than 80 yards, including two 100-yard games. Douglas’ 571 yards and 15.0 yards per reception average lead the team while his 38 catches are second behind Gonzalez (44).
Douglas has set a new career-high with 571 receiving yards in 2013, while his 38 receptions trail his career-best by one catch. He pulled in a career-high 39 passes in 2011.