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Panthers edge arch-rival Falcons, 20-17

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Refocused: Carolina Panthers 20, Atlanta Falcons 17

While they were ideal inside of the red zone on Sunday during their 20-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers (6-3), the Falcons' offense couldn't get much going on third downs.

The Falcons had a chance to get at least within field goal range in the game's waning moments, but with the ball and 2:18 left, the Panthers defense held Ryan to just 1-of-4 passing for negative three yards on their final drive and Newton and Co. were able to eat enough time off the clock for the win. He was the game's leading rusher with 86 yards on nine carries.

A field goal on their first possession and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Mohamed Sanu got the Falcons up by 10 in the first quarter.

Carolina's Christian McCaffrey (22) and Cam Newton celebrate after a TD that cut Atlanta's lead from 10-0 to 10-7 in the second quarter Sunday.

Carolina is coming off a road stretch where the team played four road games in five weeks, finishing 3-1 away from home.

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With Benjamin gone, Funchess now leads the wide receiver corps with 33 catches for 357 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Instead, Adams beautifully undercut a throw to the tight end and then showed some good speed to run the ball all the way back to the Atlanta 31, setting up a go-ahead touchdown.

Stewart fumbled twice in the first quarter, both forced by Falcons safety Keanu Neal and recovered by Atlanta.

After the win, Panthers fans were excited and remembered most of the national media, who didn't think Carolina would be happy Sunday afternoon. The touchdown stood, giving Carolina a momentum-shifting lead as the teams headed into halftime.

With a tough slate of games ahead, including a pair of non-division matchups against the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, the Falcons will likely continue to work on executing in third-down situations. Atlanta would hang around until late in the fourth quarter. He also had a sack to increase his seasonal total to 6.5.

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