Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Halftime Notes

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Things would have looked really different had Falcons' receiver not dropped what would have been a 39-yard touchdown with eight minutes remaining in the game, but luckily for the Panthers the All-Pro receiver couldn't bring it in despite being 10 yards clear of a defender. As the ball broke the plane it looked like Newton dunked on Desmond Trufant.

The Falcons didn't waste much time Sunday adding to their miniscule takeaway total as strong safety Keanu Neal twice in the first quarter forced Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart to fumble and Atlanta recovered both time. After the first recovery, Atlanta marched downfield and scored easily as Mohamed Sanu stutter-stepped on an out-route from the slot at the Carolina 6-yard line to get by Daryl Worley.

The Falcons are 4-4 and have lost four of their last five games. The touchdown was McCaffrey's third of the season, and first rushing score. It goes as its best player in inside linebacker Luke Kuechly goes.

It marked the third time this season that the 4-4 Falcons blew a lead to lose a game. The drive ended in a field goal. He threw no touchdowns, but he also had no interceptions either. The touchdown stood, giving Carolina a momentum-shifting lead as the teams headed into halftime.

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The Panthers only managed two field goals in the second half, but they were able to stave off a comeback thanks to their defense and the emergence of the running game.

In the fourth quarter, Jones became the first receiver to have a 100-yard game against the Panthers' defense in 2017. He also had a sack to increase his seasonal total to 6.5. That Newton led the team in rushing for a fourth straight game is concerning, though.

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

Andre Roberts continues to show some sizzle in the return game when he gets the opportunity, but they weren't there today. Carolina have been a mess all year offensively, averaging just 18.5 points a game, while the Falcons are barely better at 21.9 points a game.

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