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Falcons Beat Panthers 19-17; Move Into First Place Tie In NFC South

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers

Anytime you can wake up on a Monday and find yourself in first place, count yourself lucky.

If your the Falcons, you may want to count yourself lucky a couple of times.

The Falcons survived two late field goal misses by Panthers kicker Graham Gano, and the birds fly out of Carolina with a two-point 19-17 win.

The second straight win puts the team at 4-6 on the year, and with the Saints losing to the Bengals at home, the two teams are tied for the division lead after 10 games.

“It’s been a different year, for sure,” Falcons QB Matt Ryan said. “You play to be relevant in November and December. As quirky as this season’s been, we’re relevant.”

Ryan threw for 268 yards and a touchdown in the win, and Matt Bryant added four field goals in the NFC South victory.

Bryant’s 44-yard field goal with 2:08 left put the Falcons ahead for good.

Cam Newton threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes for Carolina, but Gano missed a 46-yard field goal try with 1:27 remaining and had a 63-yarder blocked on the games final play.

“The way our season is going, we’re happy to have any win,” Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters said.

The Falcons got to Newton early for two picks, but the QB recovered and wound up with 292 yards. Down 16-3 in the fourth quarter, he rallied Carolina with a 22-yard touchdown to rookie Kelvin Benjamin to make it 16-10.

Then later in the quarter, rookie receiver, Philly Brown, got behind cornerback Robert McClain and caught a 47-yard score as he fell back into the end zone to briefly give the Panthers a 17-16 lead.

Ryan though would not be denied, and he quickly and smartly moved the Falcons into field goal range, completing three passes for 29 yards to Harry Douglas to set up Bryant’s clutch kick.

“I try to simplify things as much as I can,” Bryant said.

Newton still had something left, moving Carolina to the Atlanta 29. Gano then hooked the potential game-winner from 46 yards out wide left.

Roddy White, who had eight catches for 75 yards, caught a 4-yard TD pass from Ryan to give the Falcons a 16-3 lead.

The Falcons are back at home Sunday to host the 6-4 Browns, who lost at home Sunday to the Texans 23-7.

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