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Bryant Kick Completes Falcons Comeback

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White catches a pass from Matt Ryan for a 59 yard gain.

Matt Bryant kicked a 33 yard field goal to complete the Atlanta Falcons late comeback defeating the visiting Carolina Panthers 30-28 at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta led by as much as ten points in the third quarter before the Panthers made their run. Cam Newton kicked it in gear with directing a 12 play, 77 yard drive. The Atlanta native threw for 47 yards and rushed for 24 more including a 4 yard touchdown run to draw the Panthers within a field goal.

Carolina took the lead on a 36 yard touchdown pass to Kealoha Pilares. The second year receiver from Hawaii waited for two blocks and then sprinted untouched for the score that put the Panthers ahead.

Matt Ryan, perhaps delivering a preview of what was about to come, marched the Falcons down to the Panthers 13 yard line. Before the fifth year signal caller could make a play for the end zone, Carolina’s defensive line delivered yet another sack on Ryan. It was one of seven sacks for the Panthers on the day.

Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera believes the play of the defensive line can be used as a building block. “Those guys played hard and did the things we needed them to do,” said Rivera.

Stuck in the redzone, Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith sent the field goal team on to make it a one point game with nearly five minutes to play.

After scoring twice on their last three drives, Newton and the Panthers offense bogged down gaining just two yards in the series. Atlanta fared a little better gaining 7 yards before having to punt the ball back to Carolina with two and a half minutes to play.

The fate of the game was right where Rivera and the Panthers wanted it. Carolina just needed to keep the game clock moving and the ball out of Ryan’s hands. As expected, the first two plays were running plays. And then the unthinkable happened. Newton fumbled on third and two. The second year starter fumbled in 4 games in his first season and had just one game with multiple (2) fumbles.

Newton’s fumble left the Panthers with a big decision with 1 yard to go on fourth down. Instead of risking getting stopped and turning the ball over to the Falcons at midfield, Rivera opted to punt the ball.

"I was hoping they would punt it to us,” said Mike Smith. “And that's the right thing to do in that situation on a fourth down and 1 they did what most any coaches do, try and pull you offsides take the 5 yards, they took advantage of the 5 yards, were able to kick the ball inside the 5-yard line so it was a very good strategic move.

Brad Nortman tried his best to make the Falcons last drive difficult pinning Ryan and the offense on the two yard line with a 49 yard punt.

On first down Ryan went for broke to his favorite target Roddy White. Lurking at midfield was Haruki Nakamura. The free agent from the Baltimore Ravens tried his luck a second time taking the same underneath path he used to intercept Ryan and thwart a first quarter redzone drive. It didn’t work out quite that way. White out-jumped safety Haruki Nakamura to haul in the pass for a 59 yard gain.

“You have to keep the ball in front of you,” said Rivera.

White’s catch set the wheels in motion for the game winning kick. Ryan added another 13 yards passing on the drive to finish with 369 yards on 25 of 40 passing.

Note: Michael Turner broke the hundred yard barrier for the first time in the 2012 season.

Atlanta Falcons-30 vs Carolina Panthers-28

  • Cam Newton leads the Panthers on to the field.

  • Panthers TE Greg Olsen scores the Panthers first TD with a bumpy 17 yard catch and run.

  • Panthers TE Greg Olsen catches the short pass in front of Falcons DB Asante Samuel.

  • DeAngelo Williams cannot hold onto the pass from Cam Newton.

  • Panthers DE Charles Johnson sacks Falcons QB Matt Ryan.

  • Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura bats away the pass in the endzone intended for Falcons WR Julio Jones.

  • Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams rushes for a 13 yard touchdown against the Falcons defense.

  • Tight end Tony Gonzalez struggles for yards against two Carolina defenders.

  • Falcons WR Roddy White scores his first of two touchdowns.

  • Falcons DB Dunta Robinson delivers a hit to Panthers WR Steve Smith.

  • Panthers LB Jason Phillip dives at the ankles of Falcons RB Michael Turner.

  • Falcons RB Michael Turner outruns the Panthers defense for a 60 yard touchdown.

  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan celebrates the 60 yard touchdown run by Michael Turner.

  • Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon squares up to take down Panthers QB Cam Newton.

  • Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon squares up to take down Panthers QB Cam Newton.

  • Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon squares up to take down Panthers QB Cam Newton.

  • Panthers QB Cam Newton is upended by Falcons DB Robert McClain.

  • Falcons RB Michael Turner gets a block from guard Justin Blalock to get free of Panthers LB Thomas Davis.

  • Panthers DE Charles Johnson gets up after sacking Falcons QB Matt Ryan for the first time in the game.

  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan gets caught under the chin and sacked by Panthers DL Greg Hardy.

  • Panthers WR Kealoah Pilares steps in side a block and sprints for a 36 yard touchdown.

  • Panthers defensive lineman Sione Fua and Charles Johnson team up to sack Falcons QB Matt Ryan.

  • Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart gets held up by a wall of Falcons defenders.

  • Falcons WR Roddy White out jumps Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura for a 59 yard play to get Atlanta's backs off the goal line.

  • Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez picks up 6 yards to inch closer to the distance needed for the game winning field goal.

  • Falcons kicker Matt Bryant delivers the win with a 40 yard field goal.

  • Falcons kicker Matt Bryant celebrates with long snapper Josh Harris after kicking the gamewinning field goal.

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