Falcons need late-heroics to down Panthers 30-28

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez celebrate a 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers to remain undefeated at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez celebrate a 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers to remain undefeated at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

 

After pulling off his latest stunt of late-game magic, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was more than a little stoked.

Ryan’s unlikely 59-yard pass to Roddy White in the closing seconds helped set up a game-winning field goal as the Falcons pulled out a scintillating 30-28 victory over Carolina Sunday. The team improved to 4-0 for just the third time in franchise history and the first time since 2004.

That was quite enough excitement for the usually placid Ryan, who was seen yelling in the general direction of the Panthers “to get the [expletive] off my field” as he made his way off the Georgia Dome turf.

Simmered down later, he admitted, “It was just the heat of the battle.”

Right. But it was that kind of unforgettable day, reminiscent of a win over Chicago in his rookie season of 2008. This time, starting at his own 1-yard line, Ryan drove the Falcons into position for Matt Bryant’s 33-yard field goal with five seconds left. Bryant kick was dead-centered.

“That was a huge game for us and a great win for our team,” Ryan said. “It took us all 60 minutes this week and we knew coming into this game that it was going to be a tough one.”

It was defensive end John Abraham who set up the winning drive with a timely

Falcons running back Michael Turner breaks free for a first down past Carolina Panthers James Anderson, right, and Captain Munnerlyn during the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012

Falcons running back Michael Turner breaks free for a first down past Carolina Panthers James Anderson, right, and Captain Munnerlyn during the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012

forced fumble. On a third-and-2 from Atlanta’s 46, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had picked up a critical first down on a run, only to have Abraham knock the ball loose and, more importantly, backwards to the 45. The Panthers recovered but after trying to draw the Falcons offsides on fourth-and-1, they elected to punt instead.

Carolina downed Brad Nortman’s punt down at the 1-yard line with 59 seconds left. Atlanta had no timeouts.

“I was surprised,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said about the Panthers not going for it on fourth down. “[Newton] has a big body. He’s long and you thought he’d just quarterback-sneak it. But it would have been a definite gamble.”

Newton, now 0-2 as a Panther playing in his hometown, supported Carolina coach Ron Rivera’s decision to punt.

“Well, I’m a player on this football team and I listen to coaching,” Newton said. “And coach decided not to go for it on fourth down, so I back coach 110 percent.”

The Falcons’ offensive line, which struggled all day, held up at the end as Ryan dropped back to within a yard of the back of the end zone and launched a bomb to the White. He hauled in the pass over Carolina safety Haruki Nakamura at the Panthers 40.

Atlanta Falcons defenders Ray Edwards (clockwise from upper left), William Moore, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas gang tackle Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert during second half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Atlanta Falcons defenders Ray Edwards (clockwise from upper left), William Moore, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas gang tackle Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert during second half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

After Gonzalez and Harry Douglas took quick receptions and got out of bounds for consecutive gains of 7 and 6 yards, Bryant was sent out to win the game.

“It’s very good to know that you’ll be able to handle the ebbs and flows of an NFL football game,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It was just a matter of time before we were going to have to play from behind. … I thought it showed the mettle of the guys in that room.”

It was remarkable that Ryan had time to throw long. Carolina’s pass rush had been relentless, sacking Ryan a career-high seven times and accumulating 12 quarterbacks hits.

“He came into the huddle and said, ‘Block it up so that we can make a big play,’” White said. “Those guys are focused. They did a hell of a job.”

White, who had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, used some crafty route-running to get open.

“They were trying to keep everything in front of them, but the guy kind of missed a jam when I went out there,” White said. “I got behind those guys.”

White also sensed that Ryan was coming his way.

“He told me to go get it,” White said. “So I knew he was throwing it to me.”

The Panthers, who hadn’t played since being routed by the New York Giants 36-7 on Sept. 20, played a rough-and-tumble game. For the second straight game against the Falcons, they had them on the ropes, but failed late. Last season in Charlotte, Carolina held a 23-7 halftime lead on Atlanta before losing 31-23.

“It was a good lesson to learn,” White said. “A lot of these games are going to be close. When you get an opportunity to move on as team, you do it and you carry a lot of confidence with you.”

The division foes went back-and-forth most of the game. White’s two touchdown catches gave the Falcons a 17-14 halftime lead. That advantage grew to 24-14 on the first possession of the second half, Ryan tossing a screen pass to Michael Turner, who rumbled for 60 yards and the first touchdown reception of his NFL career.

But Carolina answered on its next possession with a 4-yard touchdown run by Newton to make it 24-21. Asked to compete harder by Rivera after the Giants embarrassment, the Panthers were up for the challenge, adding an 81-yard touchdown drive to take a 28-24 lead, Kealoha Pilares scoring from 36 yards out with 7:55 left.

Bryant, who had already connected from 41 yards, kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2:58 to shave the lead to one point and set up his final heroics. He has yet to miss a field goal in nine attempts thus far.

317 comments Add your comment

5150 UOAD

September 30th, 2012
9:46 pm

if seems the Eagle fans are ready to get on M.V. 7 when he does something questionable.
Eli an’t looking much better either.

Michael M.

September 30th, 2012
9:49 pm

Matt Ryan is da man……………..the hour of power……too sweet to be sour………………….alias………………………. Matty ‘ Ice’ Ryan , ” The Assassin “…………………………..

THEY CALL ME.........SCAM!!

September 30th, 2012
9:53 pm

HEY CECIL(SCAM’S DADDY)YOU TOOK THE MONEY & EVERONE KNOW’S IT SO………………………KNOW THIS………….KARMA IS A BEE OTT CHA!!!! AIN’T IT PREACHER MAN!!

5150 UOAD

September 30th, 2012
10:02 pm

HEY herschel walker YOU TOOK THE MONEY(trans am & EVERYONE KNOW’S IT SO………………………KNOW THIS………….KARMA IS A BEE OTT CHA!!!!

Maceo

September 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

The dome “fans” need to step it up. Stay yo rich ass at home if you don’t want to get loud for your team, u Lexus drivin bastards

jaz

September 30th, 2012
10:25 pm

At BC they called him Matty Ice, but they didn’t realize that he is the cold blooded Assassin. Takes me back to all those games in his first years he won in the last couple of minutes. And the signature game with Chicago when the Bears walked off the field with about 15 seconds left in the game and us deep in our end of the field: just one sideline pass and a field goal and they hadn’t even finished celebrating! No choke in that type of play.
Great to see Turner shake off whatever was slowing him down, amazing. And now that Matt has tuned up his arm, how can one say he can’t throw the long ball? Here’s another vote for Ovie!

[...] perfect startsChicago TribuneBacked Up to Goal Line, Ryan Reaches Back for WinNew York TimesFalcons need late-heroics to down Panthers 30-28Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)SB Nation -Charlotte Observer -NBCNews.comall 15 news [...]

Falcon James

September 30th, 2012
10:53 pm

The Panther brought Superman and Falcon brought Kriptonite!

NWFalcon

September 30th, 2012
10:56 pm

Cam Newton = Jamarcus Russel = Donte Culpepper = Vince Young = Dan MacGuire

JBurd

September 30th, 2012
11:18 pm

Hey! Where are all the loud mouth Saints fans?!!

OPEN YOUR EYES

September 30th, 2012
11:20 pm

WOW!!! MARK BRADLEY IS A CUUNT!!! HE SHUT DOWN THE BLOG SECTION CUZ IT WAS TO CRAZY FOR HIM TO HANDLE!!!!! LOL

Seen This B 0-4

September 30th, 2012
11:24 pm

JBurd, who you callin’ loud mouth?

close you eyes

September 30th, 2012
11:26 pm

shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things I can do without
come on, I’m talking to you, come on

LOL at the Aints

September 30th, 2012
11:26 pm

LOL!!,, yeah, the MB blog was becoming the JSS show,, time to go LOL,,,

OPEN YOUR EYES

September 30th, 2012
11:30 pm

@CLOSE YOUR EYES- YES BROTHER I WILL TRY TO HARNESS MY RAGE!!!!

Mora less Petrino

September 30th, 2012
11:30 pm

Did the Eagles leave too much time on the clock?

5150 UOAD

September 30th, 2012
11:33 pm

Any Time left on the clock these days is too much it seems

Mora less Petrino

September 30th, 2012
11:36 pm

Hard to believe the Ravens lost to Philly. These two teams are sloppy!

5150 UOAD

September 30th, 2012
11:40 pm

I guess the Old REFS are as bad as the Replacement refs after some of the calls we saw today.

DR. FALCON

October 1st, 2012
12:17 am

GREAT DIVISION WIN! RODDY, IS PLAYING OUT OF HIS MIND! BUT, THIS ONE WAS ALL MATT RYAN! CLUTCH! CLUTCH! CLUTCH! CAM NEWTON, IS A BEAST! IT HELPS THAT EVERYONE ELSE IN THE DIVISION, ALL LOST! LOL! GO FALCONS!

DR. FALCON

October 1st, 2012
12:21 am

HEY, HIRAMSAINT, SEENTHISB4, AND ALL SAINTS FAN’S, 0-4, AIN’T SO BAD! I ALMOST FEEL SORRY FOR YOU AINT’S FANS! NOT!!!!!! LOL! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! BYE! BYE!

Ran Man

October 1st, 2012
12:28 am

Great win for the Falcons, even with the emotional roller coaster ride we fans took to follow it. But you have to wonder about Cam Newton, who is still considered by the pundits to be the next QB to enter the exclusive **ELITE QUARTERBACK** club; and is consistently pegged in comparisons as being much better than Matty Ice and many other notable contenders. But the Panther’s win-loss record last year, and now this year – just does not relfect a team with an Elite guy at the helm. If you can’t win…you’re not getting the EQ club invite…

Seen This B 0-4

October 1st, 2012
1:24 am

Quit hating on us Dr. Falcon. Ain’t our fault the Saints have turned into a crap pile!

Just Sayin

October 1st, 2012
1:51 am

@Mora Less Petrino

One of those sloppy teams won 24-2 vs Falcons and won the superbowl

Just sayin…..

Matt "Choke" Ryan

October 1st, 2012
2:00 am

Aight i waive the white flag . . .Matty Ice is legit!

Falcons Chic

October 1st, 2012
4:53 am

@Kevin — there was at least one MF in there for your expletive count. I watch GamePass here in China, and I couldn’t believe (haha) a nice Catholic boy who is so restrained on the media podium let rip. Fine by me … as he delivered. (As did the entire team but especially Roddy and MB3.

Where's your 4-0 ring FAILCANTS? Lmao

October 1st, 2012
5:52 am

Until you win a ring, STFU FAILCANTS….call the Saints, Aints, Caints what you want…we got a ring…you got NOTHING….you’re still inferior…fact….NO RING, NO RESPECT….

UPGRAYEDD

October 1st, 2012
6:19 am

69 yards on the fly! Noodles can’t do that.

“Get the ***** off my field!”. Noodles don’t get in your face like that.

Sounds like the whole Noodles thing is an EPIC FAIL.

Hey, ‘Aints bloggers: GET THE ***** OFF OUR BLOG!!!!

Decatur joe

October 1st, 2012
7:35 am

Get the **** off my field!!!!!

CAPT-ATL

October 1st, 2012
8:00 am

Will the real Superman please stand up, please stand up!! GTOF my field!! Sounds like a man who owns his dome.

IceFan

October 1st, 2012
8:02 am

Great win yesterday. No doubt Ryan and Roddy are two of the best in the league. Just to clarify DOL’s interpretation of Matt’s shout at the end of the game, I’m pretty sure he said “Get the %^$# off OUR field”, not “MY field”. Cam would have said “MY field”, Ryan will always say “OUR field”

Farcus

October 1st, 2012
8:02 am

All things considered, it feels great to be a Falcons fan and not an 0-4 aints fan this morning. For all you haters out there consider this, we win a game yesterday we should not against Cam the Sham because we have the tools in place. The Packers squeezed out a game at home against the winless aints and don’t look very good doing it and I don’t see the comments. Some of you haters don’t know squat about the NFL nor know how to spell it if I spotted you the N & L. Don’t bother to answer the challenge, you would only cheat and look it up.

Farcus

October 1st, 2012
8:05 am

Where’s your 4-0 ring FAILCANTS? Lmao

October 1st, 2012
5:52 am
Until you win a ring, STFU FAILCANTS….call the Saints, Aints, Caints what you want…we got a ring…you got NOTHING….you’re still inferior…fact….NO RING, NO RESPECT….

Yeah tough guy, live in the past. Keep playing that SB tape over and over and maybe this year will be nothing but a fog. You exemplify loser talk. Of course, you are what you speak.

DHD

October 1st, 2012
8:07 am

There are always games that you shouldn’t win that you win and games that you shouldn’t have lost that you lose. The good teams find a way. 4-0 is all that matters right now.

Bob Jacob

October 1st, 2012
8:27 am

It looked onTV like 8-10 thousand no shows. Doesn’t this team deserve a lot better support from the fans?

DiamondDaveincali

October 1st, 2012
8:41 am

woudlnt it be nice to lift the lombardie trophy on the saints turf?

Tree

October 1st, 2012
8:52 am

Whatever happened to the Burner in SD was marvelous. Here’s to more of it!

Tree

October 1st, 2012
8:56 am

“Aint” Farcus cute?

Don’t worry: as long as your sAints have fewer wins in the series, you’ll always have own the weaker team’s status. Cheers to 4-0 and 0-4!

Atlas1

October 1st, 2012
9:02 am

Ryan took a beating but Reynolds will grade high. Good job blocking!

Papa Pink

October 1st, 2012
9:09 am

What a game!!!! Been a fan for 40 years and had my hopes dasdhed many times. I am hoping this is the year, but the Dirty Birds have to play one down at a time to get to the end. I do like what the new coordinators have brought to Hot-Lanta. Now let’s turen our focus to Washington.

#10Fan4Life

October 1st, 2012
9:26 am

I rose up so much at the game yesterday, that I can not talk today:-) Hail to the Falcons!

mike27

October 1st, 2012
9:26 am

Great win but what happened to Julio and HD

tom griffiths

October 1st, 2012
10:07 am

The Falcons are on their way to Sweeping the Saints and winning the SuperBowl in their own own House. They can talk about their “tarnished” Ring all they want, but we’ll never let them forget about winning the big one in their house, as they’ll never top that. Never.

ATL Native

October 1st, 2012
10:26 am

R U Kidding Me? That’s really sorry that the only way they won this and many other games is by a field goal. Trust me when I say that they will mess up soon. The Cants’ are still a sorry team…. they will choke in the playoffs..if they actually make it to the playoffs.

ATL Native

October 1st, 2012
10:35 am

tom griffiths your sorry team will not make it to the superbowl. The only way they will be there is to watch two other teams play in the superbowl. The Cants’ are really a sad and sorry team. They will not make it past round 1 of the playoffs…and once again Rodriguez will be on the side of the field crying like a baby because the Cant’s lost…the Cants’ are a sorry team peroid. That is why they get absolutely NO respect from the NFL. The Texans are the #1 team not the Cants’. Get it right…this is just the beginning of the football season. The Cants’ lucked up and won all of those games…by what? A field goal? That’s the same sorry stuff they have always done. They will choke…just watch and see what I say…they are not superbowl material and will not make it. Enjoy their mini winning season while you can because it will not last too much longer.

ses

October 1st, 2012
11:16 am

it was a great comeback….Ryan and White amazing. The Oline has got to improve or Ryan’s gonna get hurt….and the defensive line has to improve as well…..not enough pressure on the QB’s and too much allowed up the middle. Improve those areas and they will be playing the Niners in the NFC Champ game…hopefully at the Dome.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

mike27 — Julio’s hand is not well.

warfalcon

October 1st, 2012
12:05 pm

Washington Redskins next,featuring MEANGELO.ONE GAME AT A TIME.LETS GO FALCONS

tspec

October 1st, 2012
12:58 pm

I will be selling Brown Paperbags to all Saints fans for $.25, while supplies last and they are selling fast!

Dejay

October 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

Oh, I can definitely identify with the blood pressure meds. I had my Bayer on standby until Bryant’s kick sailed through the uprights….