Joey Harrington led the Falcons, completing 19 of 26 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. Warrick Dunn rushed for 89 yards on 26 carries, including a 30-yard score in the first quarter to take an early lead for the team. Dunn also caught 3 passes for 51 yards. Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 57 yards. Alge Crumpler caught Harrington’s lone touchdown pass, which was a 30-yard score with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Crumpler ended the day with 2 grabs for 39 yards. Crumpler had missed the two previous weeks with injury and was fairly quiet all game until that big play at the end.
Defensively, the Falcons held the Panthers to 243 total yards and shut out their offense. Carolina’s lone touchdown came on a 27-yard return by cornerback Ken Lucas in the second quarter off a Laurent Robinson fumble. DeShaun Foster, who had averaged 180 yards per game in his past four bouts against the Falcons, was limited to only 59 yards rushing on 20 carries. Chris Houston led Falcon defenders with 8 tackles and broke up 2 passes. Lawyer Milloy (5 tackles, 1 hurry), Keith Brooking (4 tackles, 1 pass defended), Rod Coleman (3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble), DeAngelo Hall (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defended), and Chris Crocker (3 tackles, 1 interception) had noteworthy games.
On special teams, Morten Andersen connected on both field goal attempts of 36 and 47 yards. Michael Koenen had 8 punts for an average of 48.1 yards with 2 put inside the 20-yard line. Adam Jennings returned 3 kickoffs for 67 yards (22.3 avg) and 5 punts for 34 yards (6.8 avg). Most of his punt return yards came on his last return. His 23-yard return put the ball in Carolina territory, which set up the game-winning score by Crumpler just four plays latter.
Next week the Falcons will return home to face fellow division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) for the first time this season. The Falcons swept the Bucs last season in their two contests. But since the two teams have shared the NFC South, the Bucs lead the series having won 6 of 10 games, including 3 of 5 in Atlanta.