Atlanta Falcons: Hand off Game to Panthers Lose First Division Game

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The Carolina Panthers scored 20 consecutive points to help get an early comeback over the Atlanta Falcons, and the defending NFC Champions dropped their first division game 20-17.

Carolina rushed for 100 yards for the fifth time this season, led by Cam Newton's 44 yards on the ground.

-Running back Jonathan Stewart lost two fumbles in each of the past two seasons.

But Carolina scored two touchdowns in the final 2:35 of the first half to take a 14-10 lead into the locker room.

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had a 4-yard touchdown on a pitchout as part of a day in which he had 66 yards rushing and 28 more receiving, including several plays he made for key first downs.

A 40-yard catch from Taylor Gabriel and touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman put the Falcons back in it with about four minutes to go.

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Worst of all, the best player on their team looks like he's hurting.

The Panthers only managed two field goals in the second half, but they were able to stave off a comeback thanks to their defense and the emergence of the running game.

NEAL WITH THE STRIPS: Falcons safety Keanu Neal had a nice first quarter, forcing Stewart's two fumbles and recovering one. Atlanta leads the all-time series with Carolina, 27-17.

The Panthers are now tied with Pittsburgh for the most road wins this season at four.

Atlanta has also struggled to find consistency, but in their comeback win over the New York Jets in Week 8, it seemed as if they found something to work with in the passing game.

After Atlanta rattled off a two-minute, 92-yard scoring drive to come within three points of Carolina with 3:31 to play, the Panthers' offense went three and out after Newton missed a throw while trying to find Samuel on third down and long.