Carolina drafted Christian McCaffery early in the draft and have yet to get him going but perhaps this is Ron Rivera's shift to a run first approach in an attempt to keep Cam Newton off of his back, and if that is the case then moving on from Benjamin and getting something in return may not be such a insane decision after all. On fourth-and-7 from the Carolina 39 in the fourth quarter, the man who may be the best receiver in the National Football League got open by 10 yards in the Panthers end zone. In the first game without Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers WR Devin Funchess was Newton's favorite target, hauling in five receptions for 86 of Newton's 137 passing yards. Carolina improves to 6-3 on the year, while Atlanta falls back to.500 at 4-4 on the season. The Falcons were looking like they were the better team in the first half, then Atlanta does what it does best: blow leads.
Cam Newton scored a touchdown on Sunday that had seemingly everyone talking about it afterward, including Stephen Curry.
The Falcons looked to build on their lead before halftime, but Mike Adams intercepted Ryan and returned it 49 yards to set up Newton's 9-yard touchdown run. As the ball broke the plane it looked like Newton dunked on Desmond Trufant. Atlanta would surrender two touchdowns inside of two minutes remaining in the second quarter.
JONES OVER 100: With six catches for 118 yards, Julio Jones became the first receiver to surpass 100 yards receiving against the Panthers this season.
Atlanta nearly made a game of it late, cutting the Carolina lead to 20-17 late in the fourth quarter. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were held to a combined 51 yards on 16 carries. It marked the first time Stewart has lost two fumbles and fumbled twice in the same game since coming into the National Football League as a first-round draft pick. Adams left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury, however, and wasn't involved in the Panthers' final stop.