Going into Sunday’s matchup pitting the undefeated Carolina Panthers against NFC South division rivals the Atlanta Falcons, many pundits overlooked the Falcons as they struggled throughout the season, coming in at a 7-7 record. With MVP candidate Cam Newton behind center for the Panthers, it appeared as though they were set to continue their unbeaten streak, but the boys from Atlanta had other things in mind, stunning Carolina for their first loss of the year.
Newton did not look like himself, tallying up 142 yards passing on only 17 of 30 with zero TDs. Falcons QB Matt Ryan on the other end had a stellar performance, with over 300 yards passing on 1 TD. The game came down to the wire as the Panthers trailed 20-13 and were looking to bring the game into overtime when Newton had a game sealing fumble, preventing them from making history.
Sitting at 8-7, the Falcons still have a slim chance of making a playoff wildcard spot, while Newton and the Panthers remain the class of the NFC, sitting atop the conference. With the win, Carolina coach Ron Rivera will not have a difficult decision to make when it comes to resting his starters for the final game of the regular season next week.