Falcons scoop up two fumbles fast; Neal causes both

Getty Images

The 20-17 loss to the Panthers seems to squash the Falcons division hopes putting them two games behind the leading Saints as they head into the toughest part of their schedule. There was a three-and-out, a punt and two fumbles from Jonathan Stewart, who had two fumbles in his first four carries. The Falcons actually looked poised to silence the crowd at Bank of America Stadium after jumping out to a 10-0 lead after one quarter, but they've developed a reputation for blowing such leads.

From there, Atlanta struggled to stay in the game, while Carolina pushed the Falcons around for most of the third quarter. Through the second quarter of Sunday's game, Palardy had a ball downed inside the opposing 10-yard line three times in two weeks. Julio Jones would drop a gimme touchdown on a fourth-down heave by quarterback Matt Ryan late in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta's Mohamed Sanu caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan with 3:30 to play in the first quarter to complete an eight-play, 61-yard drive.

After Keanu Neal forced two fumbles, one of which led to the Falcons' first touchdown, the running game got going, in large part thanks to Cam Newton.

In a season already filled with its fair share of off-field drama, the Carolina Panthers locker room faced another emotional letdown this past week when wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was cast away to Buffalo.

The Falcons are 4-4 and have lost four of their last five games. A deconstructed flea-flicker to Curtis Samuel went for 14 yards, while a reverse play was carried by Russell Shepard for 11 yards.

Julius Peppers leads the team with 7.5 sacks. With AP Photos.Cam Newton ran for 86 yards and a touchdown and the Carolina Panthers stormed back from an early 10-point deficit and then held on to beat the Atlanta Falcons 20-17. At least until the defense got a big stop and made a big play.

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