Panthers
Falcons
28 - 45 Final
  for this game

Turner, Falcons take down Panthers

Nov 24, 2008 - 2:15 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Falcons have come to expect Michael Turner to score touchdowns and Matt Ryan to march them down the field. On Sunday, another unlikely hero emerged to help the Falcons finally find a way to solve the Carolina Panthers.

Turner rushed for 117 yards on 24 carries yards and matched a franchise record with four rushing touchdowns and Ryan completed 17-for-27 passes for 259 yards, leading the Falcons to a 45-28 upset of the NFC South Division-leading Panthers on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Rookie Harry Douglas stole some of the spotlight by having his best game as a pro, rushing for a touchdown and returning a punt another for Atlanta (7-4), which snapped a four-game losing streak against Carolina.

"It was an important win for us," Turner said. "I feel like we had to win the game if wanted to keep our (playoff) chances alive."

The gritty Falcons were supposed to be in the midst of a total overhaul this season, one year after franchise quarterback Michael Vick was imprisoned on dogfighting-related charges.

But head coach Mike Smith rolled the dice, installing Ryan - the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft - as the starting signal caller.

Newly installed general manager Thomas Dimitroff also made some shrewd moves in the offseason, adding Turner, who until this season was primarily known as LaDainian Tomlinson's backup in San Diego, as Atlanta's primary tailback.

He also drafted Douglas, a Georgia native, with a third-round pick.?? The moves are making Smith and Dimitroff look like geniuses.

Carolina stormed back from a 17-0 deficit, cutting the lead to three on Jake Delhomme's 12-yard QB sneak and DeAngelo Williams' 2-yard run on the ensuing two-point conversion with 10:57 remaining in the game.

But Ryan and Turner worked their magic to put this one away. The rookie quarterback drove Atlanta down the field, finding Douglas wide open down the middle for a 69-yard reception to bring the ball to the Panthers 6.

Ryan tried to find the end zone on 3rd-and-goal but was stymied at the Carolina 1.

Egged on by the crowd, Smith decided to go for it. Ryan handed the ball over to Turner, who rumbled into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game, giving the Falcons a 31-21 lead with 7:13 remaining.

Another Smith gamble had paid off.

"It was an easy decision in terms of having confidence in your football team," Smith said. "We had the ball down on the 1-yard line and felt like we could punch it in. There was no other choice."

The Atlanta defense took control on the ensuing possession, sacking Delhomme and driving the Panthers back to their own 2 before forcing the Panthers to punt from deep in their own end zone.

Ryhs Lloyd boomed a 59-yard punt deep over the head of Douglas. The rookie took a few steps back, waited for the special teams to set up the block and rumbled 61 yards down the field for the score.

??

The scamper capped a sensational day for the Douglas, who entered Sunday with just 160 yards receiving and 55 yards on punt returns.

By the end of this one, Douglas had caught four passes for 92 yards, returned four punts for 93 yards and a score and rushed for another touchdown on an end-around in the first quarter.

"It felt really good, especially in a game of this magnitude," Douglas said. "Carolina was 8-2, and it was a home game against a division rival. It doesn't get much bigger than that. It felt really good to get my first two touchdowns in this game.

Delhomme tossed a 16-yard TD pass to wideout Mushin Muhammed to cut the lead to 38-28 with 2:23 remaining. But Atlanta recovered the onside kick and marched back down the field.

Turner found the end zone for a franchise record-tying fourth score with a 54 seconds remaining for the final margin of victory.

With the tally, the Atlanta running back matched T.J. Duckett's franchise record of four touchdowns in a game and moved into a second-place tie with Gerald Riggs for the single-season rushing TD mark with his 13th.

Jamal Anderson holds the franchise mark with 14. But in a season where the former San Diego backup has already surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground, eclipsing that mark appears to be just a formality.

"I didn't even know," said Turner of his climb up the team's record book. "I'm just doing my job. Guys are blocking up in front and I'm making plays."

Delhomme completed 21-of-35 passes for 295 yards and a TD and Steve Smith caught eight passes for 168 yards for Carolina (8-3).

Atlanta got off to a quick start, marching down the field in each of their first three possessions en route to building a 17-0 lead.

The Falcons' defense was ferocious at the start as well, holding the Panthers to just eight yards in Carolina's first three possessions before taking a 17-3 lead at the half.

"I thought that we didn't come out and play fast enough," Panthers coach John Fox said. "Ultimately, that (falls on) me. Atlanta did a great job. They did a great job executing their game plan. Like I told our team, we got outcoached and outplayed."

Carolina crept back into it, scoring 10 points on its first two possessions of the second half on a 5-yard TD run by Williams and John Kasay's 21-yard field goal.

But Ryan engineered a 12-play, 80-yard drive bridging the third and fourth quarters. Turner capped the drive with a 4-yard TD run to give Atlanta a 24-13 cushion with 14:57 remaining in the fourth.








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 10 15 28
    ATLANTA 10 7 0 28 45 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, JASON ELAM 23 YD, 3:44. Drive: 8
    plays, 70 yards in 3:44. Key plays:
    Ryan 30-yard pass to White to
    Carolina 38; Turner 19-yard run to
    Carolina 13. ATLANTA 3-0
    ATL - TD, HARRY DOUGLA

    Nov 23 7:18 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 16 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 28
    ATLANTA 45 0:54 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 28, Falcons 45  4th - 0:54Nov 23 7:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    MUHSIN MUHAMMAD 16 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    CAROLINA 28
    ATLANTA 38 2:23 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 28, Falcons 38  4th - 2:23Nov 23 7:06 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    HARRY DOUGLAS 59 YD PUNT RETURN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 21
    ATLANTA 38 4:47 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 21, Falcons 38  4th - 4:47Nov 23 6:59 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 1 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 21
    ATLANTA 31 7:13 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 21, Falcons 31  4th - 7:13Nov 23 6:52 PM
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    Panthers 21, Falcons 31  4th - 7:13Nov 23 6:52 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 26 roots (Close Finish)

    Panthers 21, Falcons 24  4th - 7:16Nov 23 6:50 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    JAKE DELHOMME 12 YD RUN
    (DEANGELO WILLIAMS RUN FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    CAROLINA 21
    ATLANTA 24 10:57 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 21, Falcons 24  4th - 10:57Nov 23 6:41 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 4 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 13
    ATLANTA 24 14:57 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 13, Falcons 24  4th - 14:57Nov 23 6:27 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 10 13
    ATLANTA 10 7 0 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, JASON ELAM 23 YD, 3:44. Drive: 8
    plays, 70 yards in 3:44. Key plays:
    Ryan 30-yard pass to White to
    Carolina 38; Turner 19-yard run to
    Carolina 13. ATLANTA 3-0
    ATL - TD, HARRY

    Nov 23 6:24 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 21 YD
    CAROLINA 13
    ATLANTA 17 5:27 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Panthers 13, Falcons 17  3rd - 5:27Nov 23 6:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    DEANGELO WILLIAMS 5 YD RUN
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    CAROLINA 10
    ATLANTA 17 12:21 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Panthers 10, Falcons 17  3rd - 12:21Nov 23 5:55 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 3
    ATLANTA 10 7 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, JASON ELAM 23 YD, 3:44. Drive: 8
    plays, 70 yards in 3:44. Key plays:
    Ryan 30-yard pass to White to
    Carolina 38; Turner 19-yard run to
    Carolina 13. ATLANTA 3-0
    ATL - TD, HARRY DOU

    Nov 23 5:37 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 23 YD
    CAROLINA 3
    ATLANTA 17 5:22 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 3, Falcons 17  2nd - 5:22Nov 23 5:10 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 1 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 17 13:20 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 0, Falcons 17  2nd - 13:20Nov 23 4:51 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    ATLANTA 10 10 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - FG, JASON ELAM 23 YD, 3:44. Drive: 8
    plays, 70 yards in 3:44. Key plays:
    Ryan 30-yard pass to White to
    Carolina 38; Turner 19-yard run to
    Carolina 13. ATLANTA 3-0
    ATL - TD, HARRY

    Nov 23 4:44 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    HARRY DOUGLAS 7 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 10 5:03 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Panthers 0, Falcons 10  1st - 5:03Nov 23 4:32 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 23 YD
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 3 11:16 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Panthers 0, Falcons 3  1st - 11:16Nov 23 4:21 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsNov 23 12:03 PM
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    Panthers vs. FalconsNov 18 5:33 PM