for this game

Panthers grind out tough win over fading Falcons

Dec 24, 2006 - 11:16 PM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Carolina Panthers dealt the Atlanta Falcons a devastating blow. Jim Mora Jr.'s job security isn't looking so good, either.

DeShaun Foster rushed for 102 yards and rookie DeAngelo Williams added 82 yards on the ground as the Panthers held on for a 10-3 triumph over the fading Falcons.

With the victory, Carolina (7-8) climbed into a virtual tie with the Falcons (7-8) for second place in the NFC South Division. Both teams have outside chances at capturing the conference's final wild-card berth.

"It's very disappointing," Mora said. "I don't know what else I can tell you. It's very disappointing."

"We needed a spark, we have not done too well over the last month," Panthers coach John Fox added. "These guys have hung in there. We have been a little inoperable on offense and we just needed a spark."

The Panthers close out their season against division rival New Orleans (10-5) next week while the Falcons visit Philadelphia (8-6). Green Bay, St. Louis and the New York Giants are all 7-8 as well.

"It was important to win out the last two games," Falcons running back Warrick Dunn said. "We didn't do that, and now we have to wait and see how things unfold in our conference."

Mora, who fell to 26-21 all-time in the regular season, made headlines last week when he commented on a talk radio show that he would leave the Falcons to coach his alma mater at the University of Washington if the position became available.

Sunday's disaster marked the latest episode in what has been an ugly season for Mora, who was told by team owner Arthur Blank prior to the campaign that an 8-8 record was "unacceptable."

"Like I always said, the fans come out, they are here to support us, they are always behind us," Mora said. "It's our job to keep them going and we were not able to get that done today."

Playing without starting quarterback Jake Delhomme (thumb) for the third consecutive game, the Panthers opted for a ball-control offense, and the results were overwhelming. Carolina had a franchise-record 52 rushing attempts and controlled the game clock for 41 minutes, 47 seconds.

Atlanta jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Morten Andersen's 40-yard field goal in the first quarter.

It was the 539th career field goal for the 46-year-old Andersen, who surpassed Gary Anderson for the NFL's all-time lead in the category.

"I was hoping for a few more today, but we couldn't get anything going," Andersen said. "We really didn't execute very well in all phases."

Carolina responded with a 16-play, 73-yard drive capped by Chris Weinke's one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff King, which made it 7-3 just four seconds into the second quarter.

"This is the best Christmas present here - just getting the victory," Weinke said. "We had our mind set in that we knew we were coming down here to play in a hostile environment against a division foe, and we just wanted to find a way to win."

Weinke, who improved to 2-17 in his career as a starter and ended his personal 17-game losing streak, attempted just two passes on the game's only touchdown drive.

"Our offensive line came out ready to work," he said. "The biggest thing I told them was to just take one play at a time. They did that and did a great job, and the backs did a great job."

Weinke attempted just seven passes, completing four for 32 yards.

Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers had two sacks while safety Shaun Williams recorded a team-leading seven tackles and an interception for the Panthers, who snapped a four-game skid.

Michael Vick went 9-of-20 for 109 yards and two interceptions. He reeled off an 18-yard run in the first half to become the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.

"To be in our position and not come through is tough," Vick said. "It is something we are going to have to deal with. We will wait and see what happens."

The Falcons appeared to have tied the game on Allen Rossum's 80-yard punt return for a score. But the play was nullified by a clipping penalty against Atlanta's Michael Jenkins.

"The punt return that was called back hurt us," Rossum said. "But the loss was even worse."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 10 0 0 10
    ATLANTA 3 0 0 0 3 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 40 YD, 4:28. Drive:
    10 plays, 61 yards in 4:28. Key
    plays: Vick 8-yard pass to Lelie on
    3rd-and-2 to Atlanta 33; Vick
    19-yard pass to Crumpler to Atlanta
    42; Vick 18-

    Dec 24 3:53 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 3:52 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 3:48 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 3:44 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 3:40 PM
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  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 10 0 10
    ATLANTA 3 0 0 3 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 40 YD, 4:28. Drive:
    10 plays, 61 yards in 4:28. Key
    plays: Vick 8-yard pass to Lelie on
    3rd-and-2 to Atlanta 33; Vick
    19-yard pass to Crumpler to Atlanta
    42; V

    Dec 24 3:10 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 10 10
    ATLANTA 3 0 3 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 40 YD, 4:28. Drive:
    10 plays, 61 yards in 4:28. Key
    plays: Vick 8-yard pass to Lelie on
    3rd-and-2 to Atlanta 33; Vick
    19-yard pass to Crumpler to Atlanta
    42; Vick

    Dec 24 2:24 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 42 YD
    CAROLINA 10
    ATLANTA 3 1:51 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 2:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    JEFF KING 1 YD PASS FROM CHRIS WEINKE
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    CAROLINA 7
    ATLANTA 3 14:56 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 1:33 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    ATLANTA 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, MORTEN ANDERSEN 40 YD, 4:28. Drive:
    10 plays, 61 yards in 4:28. Key
    plays: Vick 8-yard pass to Lelie on
    3rd-and-2 to Atlanta 33; Vick
    19-yard pass to Crumpler to Atlanta
    42; V

    Dec 24 1:30 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    40 YD
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 3 10:32 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Panthers vs. FalconsDec 24 1:11 PM