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10 things we learned from Falcons’ win vs. Panthers

No. 6: Falcons defense succeeded where it mattered

The box score may not be a pretty one for the Falcons’ defense, which gave up 405 yards to a Panthers offense led by a quarterback making his first start, but that is misleading. Atlanta very much did its job on that side of the ball, holding Carolina to just 10 points and forcing three turnovers while protecting a lead for much of the afternoon. The Falcons pressured quarterback Taylor Heinicke all afternoon and the secondary had a number of impressive pass breakups.

No. 5: Brian Hill breaks loose

With Ito Smith out for the rest of the season, Brian Hill got the opportunity to prove what he could do for the Falcons. He showed a nice blend of vision and speed on the final play of the third quarter, breaking free for a 21-yard gain. Hill finished the run by lowering his shoulder along the sideline, which caused a brief scuffle and drew a 15-yard penalty, but coach Dan Quinn probably like seeing his running back send a message.

Hill also showcased his speed on a 60-yard run on the second-to-last play of the game, putting him over the 100-yard mark on Sunday.

No. 4: Touchdowns for Falcons’ receiver trio

For the first time this season, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley scored a touchdown in the same game. Atlanta’s passing attack looked crisp for much of the afternoon, and it was impressive to watch when things were clicking. The Falcons finished with 239 yards through the air. 

No. 3: Atlanta continues to run the ball well

A weakness for much of the season, the Falcons have begun to run the ball much better of late. On Sunday, the Falcons ran the ball 21 times for 194 yards. Tevin Coleman exited the game with a groin injury but broke free for a couple of runs during the afternoon; he finished with 51 yards on 10 carries. Brian Hill spelled Coleman in the second half, and he ran hard while in the game, finishing with eight carries for 115 yards, including a 60-yard run.

No. 2: An example of Julio Jones’ impact

Julio Jones is one of the very best receivers to have ever played in the NFL, and his presence has a tangible impact for other players on the Falcons’ offense. The latest example of that came in the third quarter on a 44-yard Mohamed Sanu touchdown catch.

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