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Falcons dismantle Carolina Panthers for second time in three weeks

Scott Fowler, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

ATLANTA -- I hope you had something else good to do on Sunday, because the Carolina Panthers were just showing a rerun.

Three weeks after losing badly to Atlanta at home, the Panthers went down to Georgia and played nearly the exact same game.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw for more than 300 yards -- again. Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen had too many turnovers -- again. The Carolina offensive line got overwhelmed -- again.

The result: Atlanta whipped the Panthers, 40-20, sending Carolina (5-8) reeling to its fifth consecutive loss five days after coach Ron Rivera got fired.

This game, though, was very similar to the one Rivera coached on Nov. 17 in Charlotte. Carolina lost that one, 29-3, and the next day owner David Tepper expressed frustration with the team's "long-term mediocrity" in what in retrospect seemed like the beginning of the end for Rivera.

Tepper was in Atlanta, too, after making his coaching change Tuesday. He watched as interim head coach Perry Fewell directed a game that was close until halftime but then quickly deteriorated into the same dumpster-fire territory. Carolina lost the first time by 26 points and this time by 20.

 

Carolina's mistakes were innumerable against a 4-9 Atlanta team that has been mostly lousy the rest of the year and generates so little enthusiasm in its hometown right now that the stands were less than half full.

Notes from the game:

-- In the before-it-all-went-sour category, Fewell won his first-ever coaching challenge in that job and saved Carolina 19 yards while doing so.

When Atlanta downed a punt at the 1, Fewell challenged on the basis that if the Falcons player stepped out of bounds before downing the punt it would be "illegal touching." It was, and Carolina avoided starting the drive at the 1 and instead began it at the 20.

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