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Atlanta at Carolina

Turnover-free Delhomme steers Panthers past Falcons

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers might have finally found a way to solve Jake Delhomme's woes: controlled chaos.

A heavy dose of miscues from Matt Ryan and banged-up Atlanta didn't hurt, either.

Falcons won't go anywhere if Ryan doesn't figure things out
by Clark Judge
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The Panthers unleashed a no-huddle offense on Sunday with Delhomme calling the plays, and it produced two touchdown passes to Steve Smith, no turnovers and a 28-19 victory over the Falcons.

"No huddle is controlled chaos," said Smith, who tripled Carolina's touchdown total by wide receivers coming into the game. "You've got defense running around and they don't know what they're doing. The no huddle is really easy and simple."

While Delhomme went turnover-free for the third straight game following 13 interceptions in his first six, it was a difficult day for Ryan and the Falcons (5-4). First, they lost running back Michael Turner to a second-quarter sprained ankle after he already rushed for 111 yards. Then kicker Jason Elam and Ryan stymied their late comeback hopes with key fourth-quarter mistakes.

Falcons-Panthers links

Postgame reports: Falcons | Panthers

Falcons: Turner sprains ankle

Panthers: Left tackle Gross breaks right ankle

Playoff Race


Thread: Panthers-Falcons game thread

Thread: Jason Elam must go

Thread: Atlanta fans disgusted

Boards: NFL | Panthers | Falcons

Ryan, throwing too high much of the day, had two more interceptions He's at 12, one more than all of his stellar rookie season.

"I'm young," Ryan said. "I've got a long way to go, a lot of improving to do and a lot of things to learn."

With Ryan completing only 7 of 19 passes in the first half, the Panthers (4-5) built a 21-10 halftime lead. Delhomme looked poised and the Falcons struggled to get the right defensive personnel on the field.

Delhomme, no longer the NFL leader in interceptions after Jay Cutler's struggles with Chicago, found Smith on a pair of 4-yard TDs and was in his comfort zone. Much of Delhomme's best work over the years has come in the 2-minute offense.

"That is something that we practice a good bit," Delhomme said of the no-huddle. "I'm extremely comfortable in that situation."

The Panthers' offense wasn't as successful after halftime, and the game wasn't sealed until Richard Marshall picked off Ryan, setting up Jonathan Stewart's 45-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left.

Earlier, Elam missed a 34-yard field goal that would have given Atlanta the lead. It allowed the Panthers to hold on despite losing the cog of their offensive line, left tackle Jordan Gross, to a broken right ankle.

"I think we were at a major crossroad in the season being 3-5," said receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who had six catches for 91 yards in his return from a knee injury. "If you look at the playoff picture, we have as good a chance as anybody else with seven games left in the season."

The Panthers earned a season split on the Falcons, who fell to 1-4 on the road and will await tests Monday on Turner's right ankle. He went over 100 yards early in the second quarter, but rolled his ankle at the end of a 10-yard run, halting a streak where he had rushed for 428 yards on less than 10 quarters.

Jason Snelling replaced him, finishing with 61 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

"We don't have the explosiveness we had with Michael," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "But I thought Jason, for his first time back in a couple of weeks, ran the ball hard."

Ryan got the Falcons to 21-19 when he found tight end Justin Peelle for a 3-yard TD on fourth-and-1. The 2-point conversion attempt with 13:44 left failed when Chris Gamble tackled Snelling on a swing pass.

Ryan later converted a third-and-11 from his own 3 with a 13-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez. But the drive stalled and Elam, hesitated twice before pulling the short field-goal attempt with 6:35 left.

"My timing was kind of a mess from the start," Elam said. "It's me. I need to take the blame."

The Panthers went three-and-out and Eric Weems returned the ensuing punt to the Carolina 49. But Ryan threw into double coverage, ending Atlanta's hopes.

Ryan was 22 of 41 for 224 yards and one touchdown, as the Falcons were unable to take advantage of Carolina's revamped defense after linebacker Thomas Davis' season-ending knee injury last week.

"I don't think there's anything technically wrong with him," receiver Michael Jenkins said of Ryan. "We've just got to limit turnovers and execute better."

DeAngelo Williams (92 yards) and Stewart (82) gave Carolina a solid running game, but it was the passing game that keyed Carolina, even after the Panthers had to shuffle their offensive line.

Gross, the cog of the line, could be lost for the season. Travelle Wharton moved to left tackle and inexperienced Mackenzy Bernadeau played in Wharton's old spot at left guard.


  • The Falcons were without LT Sam Baker (ankle) and WR Brian Finneran (knee).
  • Williams played despite being questionable with a sore left knee.
  • The Falcons failed to sweep Carolina for the first time since 2004.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Sun. Nov. 15Final
Pass: M. Ryan (22-41, 224) J. Delhomme (15-24, 195)
Rush: M. Turner (9-111) D. Williams (19-92)
Rec: R. White (7-98) M. Muhammad (6-91)
Scoring Summary
FGJason Elam 35 Yd, 11:16. Drive: 6 plays, 52 yards in 2:19.
TDJonathan Stewart, 1 Yd run (John Kasay kick is good), 6:15. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards in 5:01.
TDSteve Smith, 4 Yd pass from Jake Delhomme (John Kasay kick is good), 12:26. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards in 4:46.
TDJason Snelling, 1 Yd run (Jason Elam kick is good), 5:56. Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards in 6:30.
TDSteve Smith, 4 Yd pass from Jake Delhomme (John Kasay kick is good), 1:08. Drive: 6 plays, 33 yards in 2:24.
FGJason Elam 24 Yd, 9:21. Drive: 12 plays, 74 yards in 5:39.
TDJustin Peelle, 3 Yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Ryan 2 Pt. Conversion pass to Jason Snelling failed), 13:44. Drive: 11 plays, 59 yards in 7:11.
TDJonathan Stewart, 45 Yd run (John Kasay kick is good), 2:07. Drive: 3 plays, 51 yards in 1:38.
Players of the Game

J. Delhomme
Att 24
Comp 15
Yds 195
TD 2

J. Snelling
Rush 18
Yds 61
Avg 3.4
TD 1
M. Ryan22/4122412
M. Turner9111040
J. Snelling1861111
M. Ryan2404
R. White798034
T. Gonzalez667014
J. Snelling332019
M. Jenkins415010
J. Peelle21219
J. Delhomme15/2419520
D. Williams1992028
J. Stewart1182245
J. Delhomme411010
M. Muhammad691022
S. Smith434219
D. Williams130030
J. King222013
D. Rosario111011
D. Jarrett1707
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
BAL 16 Final
NE 34 Final
IND 35
PHI 23 Final
SD 31
DAL 7 Final
GB 17
SEA 20 Final
ARI 31
KC 16 Final
OAK 10
DEN 17 Final
WAS 27
BUF 17 Final
TEN 41
NO 28 Final
STL 23
CIN 18 Final
PIT 12
JAC 24 Final
NYJ 22
DET 10 Final
MIN 27
TB 23 Final
MIA 25
CHI 6 Final
SF 10