Falcons scoop up two fumbles fast; Neal causes both

CHARLOTTE - When All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones dropped a wide-open 39-yard touchdown pass with just under nine minutes left in regulation Sunday, you knew what kind of day it was for the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons have won the last three games after Carolina won five of six before that. The position helped the defense stop the Falcons and sealed the win.

On fourth-and-7 from the Carolina 39 in the fourth quarter, the man who may be the best receiver in the National Football League got open by 10 yards in the Panthers end zone.

On the fourth-down run, tight end Austin Hooper was flagged for a personal foul penalty, moving the ball 15 yards in Carolina's favor and setting up the Panthers at the 50-yard line. A deconstructed flea-flicker to Curtis Samuel went for 14 yards, while a reverse play was carried by Russell Shepard for 11 yards.

The second touchdown was thanks to safety Mike Adams, who had his second interception in consecutive weeks. That resulted in Matt Bryant's 53-yard field goal.

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Carolina went on to score 20 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. That Newton led the team in rushing for a fourth straight game is concerning, though.

Defensive end Wes Horton pursued and hit Ryan, whose receivers were all covered downfield. Addison edged closer to team sack leader Julius Peppers (7.5) with his 6.5th sack of the season.

But on fourth down and seven Ryan uncorked a ideal pass to a wide-open Jones, who bobbled it in the end zone and dropped it - essentially sealing the game in Carolina's favor.

The Falcons (4-4) scored 81 points in two games against the Panthers (6-3) a season ago, and it looked like they would put up a comparable number through one quarter Sunday.

While it is not all on the play calling it should be noted that the Falcons continue to get cute and refuse to make the easy calls like running the ball on short yardage downs.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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