Falcons Take Flight, Beat Panthers On TNF
A win is a win, and the Atlanta Falcons were in need of one after their meltdown against the Detroit Lions in Week 7.
They got what they needed over division rival Carolina on Thursday.
Here are the key takeaways from this Thursday Night Football matchup:
1. Falcons defense steps up
It's been a struggle for the Atlanta defense this season, to say the least.
Coming into the game, the Falcons were allowing 425.9 yards per game (31st in the NFL) and 29.6 points per game (25th in the NFL).
On Thursday night, however, the Falcons defense finally put together a full four-quarter performance.
The 17 points that Atlanta allowed Carolina were the fewest its allowed all season, as were the 304 yards the Falcons gave up to the Panthers.
At 2-6, the Falcons need any signs of positive momentum going forward, and tonight their defense provided just that.
2. Same old Julio
Julio Jones is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he retires from the NFL.
Thursday's performance showed why.
Jones recorded seven catches for 137 yards, proving to be a matchup nightmare for the Carolina secondary.
In six games this season, Jones has now eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in three of them.
3. Bridgewater out of sorts
Through seven games this season, Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had thrown for at least 216 yards each time out.
And after throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons on Oct. 11, there was reason to believe that he would have another big performance on Thursday.
That performance didn't materialize.
Bridgewater threw for only 176 yards and one touchdown, while throwing the game-sealing interception on Carolina's last drive of the game.
He was also knocked out of the game briefly due to a late hit from Falcons defensive end Charles Harris before returning in the fourth quarter.
It was the perfect storm of misfortune for Bridgewater on Thursday night that led to a disappointing offensive performance from the Panthers and a second straight loss.