Report card: Falcons’ grades for win over Panthers

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White goes up for a long reception over Carolina Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura setting up the winning field goal for a 30-28 victory in the final minute of the game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White goes up for a long reception over Carolina Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura setting up the winning field goal for a 30-28 victory in the final minute of the game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Here are the Falcons’ grades for the 30-28 thrilling win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

B-plus – QUARTERBACKS: Matt Ryan completed 25 of 40 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with a quarterback rating of 107.2 and the Falcons improved to 27-0 when he has a passer rating of more than 100. He doesn’t have an ‘A’ because the last-minute drama would have been unnecessary if hadn’t thrown an interception in the end zone to Haruki Nakamura, whom he would later victimize, in the first quarter.

A-plus — RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner powered his way to 103 yards on just 13 carries. He had some power runs and Jacquizz Rodgers chipped in with six rushes for 18 yards. Turner had his first career touchdown reception as he accounted for 171 total yards.

A-minus — RECEIVERS: Roddy White put on a show as he caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. No catch was bigger than his 59-yarder over Nakamura to kick-start the final drive. Gonzalez (five for 51) was solid as Julio Jones was used primarily as a decoy as his hand heals.

D-minus — OFFENSIVE LINE: Matt Ryan was on the move in the pocket. Carolina’s Charles Johnson did his best Lawrence Taylor impersonation. He was camped out in the backfield when he wasn’t sacking Ryan or putting hits on him. He had 3.5 sacks and five quarterback hits. Some guy name Frank Alexander got in on the action, too. He had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits. The Falcons had given up just four sacks entering this game. The unit would have received an F, but they did spring Turner for more than 100 yards and they did hold up on the 59-yard pass play.

B — DEFENSIVE LINE: The defensive line did not adequately put Carolina’s Cam Newton under duress. They had three sacks and just three quarterback hits. They’ll have to ramp up the pass rush in the coming weeks. They were stout against Carolina’s zone-read dives as defensive end John Abraham had five tackles and tackle Jonathan Babineaux had three. Ray Edwards recovered a fumble and had three tackles.

B — LINEBACKERS: This group did most of the heaving lifting against the run. Stephen Nicholas led the team with eight tackles. Akeem Dent and Sean Weatherspoon both had four tackles. Both Nicholas and Weatherspoon had some nice open-field tackles on Cam Newton.

B — DEFENSIVE BACKS: Safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore had their toughest games of the season, but finished strong. Dunta Robinson forced a fumble on Steve Smith. Abraham saved Asante Samuel from getting into it scuffle with Steve Smith, when he just picked Samuel up and carried him away. Smith was held to three catches for 52 yards. Also, Robert McClain made his debut as the nickel back, replacing Dominique Franks.

A — SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Bryant wasn’t around to tell us about the kick after the game, but he’s made nine in a row. Franks nearly broke another punt return for a touchdown, but was tripped up by Jason Phillips after an 18-yard return. Matt Bosher averaged a 42.4 on five punts and placed two inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line.

B — COACHING: The Falcons were running the ball down the Panthers’ throat on their second drive on the game, but started to pass inside the red zone and ended up tossing an interception. The call to get the field goal to cut it to 28-27 was an astute move. It paid off with the later field goal for the win. Sunday’s win against the Panthers moved Mike Smith ahead of Leeman Bennett who posted a 46-41 record between 1977 and 1982. Smith, who is now 47-21, trails only Dan Reeves who went 49-59-1 from 1997-03.

NEXT UP: Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at 1 p.m. at FedEX Field.

121 comments Add your comment

GA DAWG

October 1st, 2012
10:15 pm

Pass rush was no existent this weekend. Might’ve been by design to keep Cam from getting around the egde. If it wasn’t be design then its time to shake up the rotation. Its time to give Sidbury some real playing time. Only remember seeing him on the special teams. Neither Biermenn or Ray Edwards touched or pressured Cam for a lost of yardage. We need another pass rusher besides Ole Abe. I’ll give it up to our DT’s though, they are producing better than rest of the DE’s besides Abe. Two more weeks and we be Corey Peters back. Go Falcons!!!!!

GA DAWG

October 1st, 2012
10:18 pm

Was none existent i meant! Sorry

MaxxFalcon

October 1st, 2012
10:37 pm

I have to give Matt Ryan an A-. The not reason there is a minus is because he did throw a pick in the end zone. Besides that, the guy was incredible. He was running for his life all ga,e long, getting sacked and hit for 4 quarters, and in the end he stands and delivers. Without that silly pick he throws 4 TDs even though he’s getting beat and pressured all day. MVP

LOL at the Aints

October 1st, 2012
10:50 pm

Matt Ryan cant keep taking a beating like that, Mike Smith should have punched the O line,,

LOL at the Aints

October 1st, 2012
10:52 pm

and LOL at @ 9:30

DR. FALCON

October 2nd, 2012
12:09 am

CREDIT GOES TO DIRK KOETTER, & MIKE NOLAN! END OF DISCUSSION! SAME PLAYERS, THAT MIKE MULARKEY, & BRIAN VAN GORDER HAD! COACHING MATTERS! SEE: THE SAINTS!!! LOL! BY THE WAY, WHAT HAPPENED TO SEENTHISB4, & HIRAMSAINT? HIDE THE KNIVES, FROM SAINTS FANS!

Blake

October 2nd, 2012
12:12 am

I don’t care what anybody says…John Abraham Is a class act…Running over and carrying Samuel from the play was huge….He also admitted that the arrest was bad timing…He also caused the fumble on that third down play that caused Cam to fumble…I’d say He’s more that made up for His bad timing mistake!

Blake

October 2nd, 2012
12:15 am

@DR. FALCON ….I wholeheartedly agree my friend…btw…where Is SeenThisB4 and hiramsaint? Refreshing Isn’t It?

explosive sideline

October 2nd, 2012
12:25 am

Maceo

October 2nd, 2012
1:01 am

The fans get a C-. They were loud only on the Panties 3rd downs, sitting in their seats and quiet as mice on 1st, 2nd, and while scam was in the huddle.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 2nd, 2012
7:41 am

DR. FALCON – Excellent points. Should we send out a search party for Seen?

Adam Martin

October 2nd, 2012
11:10 am

The chances of Cam Newton getting 6 inches has to be around 80%. I would have gone for it.

CoreyPlenum

October 2nd, 2012
12:41 pm

I think the coaching staff graded an A for last sundays win against carolina. On an afternoon where time was at a premium and there was no margin for error, coach smith and his staff did an outstanding job having the falcons prepared to beat Carolina. Its true the falcons struggled to get the job done, but the Falcons coaching staff was efficient and well prepared and coach smith’s coaching genius was largely responsible for guiding the falcons to victory. Coach Smith threw the challenge flag early in the game, and the play was overturned in favor of the Falcons. Later there was a controversial play late in the game when carolina was downed their kickoff at the one yard line of the falcons, but the replay showed where the panther player had taken a knee or an elbow in the end zone and would have given the falcons the ball as a touchback on their own 20 instead of at the 1 inch line. If coach smith had thrown the challenge flag then and it failed, the falcons would have not had enough time to win the game at the end. All in all, I felt that the win was a total team effort–but 3 men who were most responsible for this win was MATT “ICE” RYAN, COACH MIKE SMITH, and RODDY WHITE. Turners 100 yards also chipped in to help seal the win, but those three guys were incredible and were the main reason why the falcons prevailed in the end.

Joe Tess Fish House

October 2nd, 2012
1:34 pm

I give em all Fs accross the bored.

NealArmstrong

October 2nd, 2012
1:34 pm

The Falcons already look ‘VERY EXPLOSIVE’ with very marginal/small contributions from Julio Jones. Julio has been hamperred with a nagging injury that has slowed him down. When Julio is at full strength, I am expecting the Falcons to average 40-50 points a game throughout all the games, including their superbowl victory next january when the Falcons become superbowl champions. Good luck.

BobPritchard

October 2nd, 2012
1:36 pm

Adam Martin: I disagree with you. I think the chances of Cam Newton getting 6 inches is even greater than that, maybe at 100%. This was a victory that the Falcons stole from the jaws of defeat.

[...] Report card: Falcons’ grades for win over the Panthers [...]

falcone

October 2nd, 2012
8:57 pm

“If Carolina was so dominate they should not had allowed Matt to move the ball from the one yard line”
HAHAHAHA YEAH

[...] Report card: Falcons’ grades for win over the Panthers [...]

[...] Report card: Falcons’ grades for win over the Panthers [...]

[...] Report card: Falcons’ grades for win over the Panthers [...]