Falcons vs. Panthers 2013: Carolina's defense leads the way in victory

Streeter Lecka

The Panthers defense forced four turnovers in a game that essentially put an end to any remaining playoff hopes for the Falcons.

The Carolina Panthers are at four consecutive victories after earning a 34-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons that improved the team's record to 5-3. With upcoming matchups against the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots, the Panthers have tough tests ahead, but if the team can continue to play like it has, Edgar Salmingo Jr. of SB Nation's Panthers blog, Cat Scratch Reader, feels comfortable about its immediate future.

Particularly strong, according to Salmingo, was the performance of the Carolina defense:

The Panthers defense forced four total turnovers, two of them happening when it really mattered. Early in the first quarter, Kuechly intercepted Ryan's pass to Tony Gonzalez, and the Panthers converted it into 7 points. With the Falcons threatening in the third quarter, Thomas Davis took a tip from Quintin Mikell and intercepted the ball. Later when the game was out of hand, Drayton Florence intercepted a pass for a touchdown, and Frank Alexander recovered a fumble that Mario Addison forced. The defense looked good (and should have been good) against a depleted Falcons offense.

For the Falcons, any remaining playoff hopes look to be over after a blowout loss at the hands of the Panthers. At least, according to Dave Choate of SB Nation's Falcons blog, The Falcoholic, who declared that the "season's over" for the team:

That's the story of these 2013 Atlanta Falcons. Down to their backups, playing loads of rookies, they exhibit stretches of quality play that seem unbelievable considering everything working against them. They then pair those stretches with awful, game-changing mistakes. That's what has made this year such a delight complete pile of excrement to watch: The Falcons are always in it, until they're not.

The schedule isn't going to get much easier for the Falcons as they'll have to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. The Panthers will look to make it five in a row in a road game against the 49ers.

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