Carolina Defeats the Falcons in the Rain 25-15
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — D’Onta Foreman carried 31 times for 130 yards and a touchdown, Laviska Shenault added a 41-yard burst to the end zone and the Carolina Panthers beat the Atlanta Falcons 25-15 on a rainy Thursday night.
The Panthers (3-7) piled up a season-high 232 yards on the ground, and Eddy Pineiro kicked four field goals after he missed two critical kicks in a 37-34 overtime loss to the Falcons 11 days earlier.
Marcus Mariota finished 19 of 30 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked five times and intercepted once.
Atlanta fell to 4-6, leaving Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) alone atop the NFC South. The Bucs play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks in Munich, Germany.
Carolina improved to 2-3 since coach Matt Rhule was fired and replaced on an interim basis by Steve Wilks.
Foreman, who ran for 118 yards and three TDs in the last meeting on Oct. 30 in Atlanta, capped off a crucial seven-play, 84-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run off right tackle to give Carolina a 19-9 lead with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
The Falcons cut Carolina’s lead to 22-15 when Mariota found a wide-open KhaDarel Hodge for a 25-yard touchdown with 3:01 left in the game after the Panthers botched a coverage assignment. Younghoe Koo, who had made 71 straight extra points, missed his second PAT of the game to keep the margin at seven points.
The Falcons got one last shot to tie the game, taking over at their own 34 with 2 1/2 minutes to play. But Carolina’s Marquis Haynes sacked Mariota twice and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs at their 15.
Carolina’s defense, which allowed Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon to run for 153 yards and four touchdowns — and the Bengals to amass 241 rushing yards as a team — on Sunday, held the league’s fourth-best rushing attack to 138 yards.
Atlanta came in averaging 162.9 yards on the ground.
The Panthers often stacked the box and sold out against the run, daring Mariota to beat them.
Shenault gave Carolina a 10-0 lead in the second quarter when he caught a swing pass from P.J. Walker after circling the backfield in motion and raced down the left sideline past five Falcons defenders — two of whom collided and took each other out of the play. The touchdown was ruled a rush because Walker’s toss was not a forward pass.
Pineiro, who missed a winning extra point at the end of regulation and a field goal in overtime in the previous meeting with the Falcons, connected on field goals of 46, 49, 40 and 37 yards for Carolina on a wet field. He missed one extra point.
Panthers: CB Donte Jackson injured an Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter and did not return. … FB Gio Ricci suffered a neck injury in the second half and also did not return.
Falcons: Host Chicago on Nov. 20.
Panthers: At Baltimore on Nov. 20.