As has been Jake Delhomme’s tendency this season, he has been prone to turning the ball over. During Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, the embattled quarterback, for at least one week, seemed to have things under control as he utuilized the no-huddle offense to great effect as Carolina defeated Atlanta 28-19 at Bank of America Stadium.
The first quarter would be the beginning of the no-huddle for Carolina as Delhomme worked it to perfection, capped by 1-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Stewart with 6:15 left in the first quarter, giving the Panthers a 7-3 lead, a lead they would take into the second period. Nearly two and one-half minutes into the second quarter, Delhomme increased the Panthers’ advantage to 14-3 on a 4-yard TD pass to Steve Smith. Atlanta would come back as Jeff Snelling would rush in from a yard out, reducing Carolina’s lead to 14-10. Delhomme and the no-huddle offense struck again as he connected with Smith again on a 4-yard TD pass with 1:08 left in the half, boosting the Panthers’ lead to 21-10 going into halftime.
The third quarter was devoid of offense as the only scoring that took place was a 24-yard field goal by Jason Elam with 9:21 remaining in the period, pulling Atlanta to within 21-13; Matt Ryan would get the Falcons on the scoreboard on a 3-yard pass to Justin Peelle, narrowing the Panthers’ edge to two at 21-19. But Stewart would ice the game for the Panthers on a 45-yard run just before the two-minute warning, putting Carolina up 28-19.
Delhomme had arguably his best effort of the season, going 15-of-24 for 195 yards with 2 TD’s while Matt Ryan went 22-of-41 for 224 yards with a TD and 2 interceptions. DeAngelo Williams led the Panthers’ rushing attack with 92 yards on 19 carries while Stewart added 82 yards and 2 TD’s; Michael Turner led Atlanta with 111 yards on only 9 carries while Snelling added 61 yards and a score.
Muhsin Muhammed led all Panthers receiving with 6 receptions for 91 yards while Smith caught 4 passes for 34 yards and 2 TD’s; Roddy White led Atlanta with 7 receptions for 98 yards while Tony Gonzalez caught 6 passes for 67 yards. Carolina (4-5) looks to reach the .500 mark when they get the short week as they host the Miami Dolphins Thursday while Atlanta (5-4) visits New York City to take on the Giants next Sunday.