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Sunday, December 29, 2013

V/s Falcons, Aftermath - Squeaking By

Carolina won a tight one, 21-20, in a game they hardly dominated.

They trailed 10-0, when momentum went all over the place - a 56 yard catch by Deangelo Williams was the team's first real play made, after a few first down runs by an erratic Cam Newton and then an INT; that 56 yard catch was fumbled, and immediately after the Falcons recovered, threw a pick-six to Melvin White.

They traded relative ineptitude and eventually scores, setting up a 21-20 lead with four minutes to go.  The Panthers ran the ball three times, punted; the Falcons faltered, so the Panthers returned the favor with three more runs.  The Falcons picked it up with 1:20 to go, and dinked and dunked five yards at a time up to their own 40, :35 to go, when Carolina's biggest play was to simply force Matt Ryan to freak out.  Holding six blockers to Carolina's four rushers, when two more came (Thomas Davis and Mike Mitchell, it appeared), Ryan started losing his marbles and stepped away from shotgun behind center with the exchange already in progress.  That, for all real purposes, ended what would've been a scary shot by the Falcons at attempting a FG with time nearly expired.

The details in the middle - Greg Olsen got a nifty 7 yard catch at the goal where he just worked until he could get open, receiving a laser pass from a calmed-down Cam; Ted Ginn was the recipient of a 3 yard TD on a clearout at the goal.  The Panthers notched a franchise high 9 sacks, with Greg Hardy picking up a massive four and Charles Johnson notching two.

And now they're a 2 seed.  Congrats, NFC South Champions.
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