Just two weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers trounced the Atlanta Falcons 38-0. The Panthers entered their Week 16 rematch with the league’s best record of 14-0.
The Falcons ended the Panthers’ bid for an undefeated season with a 20-13 home victory. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 23 of 30 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones totaled nine receptions, 178 receiving yards, and a 70-yard touchdown.
The Falcons’ defense excelled at containing Panthers star QB Cam Newton, who finished the day with 17 completions on 30 attempts, 142 passing yards, an interception, 46 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown.
Obviously, this is not the end of the world for the Panthers. In fact, this game may actually benefit Carolina in the long run for two reasons: they don’t have to deal with the media hype surrounding an undefeated team, and they can use the film to find their weaknesses.
Next week, the Panthers will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Falcons will face the New Orleans Saints. With a win, the Panthers will secure home field advantage. The Falcons are vying for a Wild Card.