The Falcons and Panthers renew their “I-85 Rivalry” for the 37th time this Sunday with Atlanta holding a 23-13 overall advantage. The Falcons have captured seven of the past 10 meetings against Carolina.
Atlanta’s first road win in Charlotte in this series took place on September 6, 1998 in the season opener at what was then known as Ericsson Stadium.
The Falcons got two touchdown passes from QB Chris Chandler and used an overall methodical offensive attack to provide them with an impressive time possession advantage to grind out the win.
CB Ray Buchanan picked off a Panthers QB Kerry Collins pass at the Atlanta 2-yard line in the second quarter to thwart a drive and send the Falcons on their way to its first time-consuming drive of the afternoon.
After the interception, Chandler marched the Falcons 98 yards on 11 plays, chewing 6:38 off the clock, and culminating in an 11-yard scoring pass to WR Terance Mathis for an early 7-0 lead. But Carolina answered to knot the score before the half on a Collins to TE Wesley Walls short 6-yard touchdown play.
In an unusual way to re-take the lead, the special teams unit for the Falcons scored their next points as CB Ronnie Bradford tackled Panthers P Ken Walter in the end zone for a rare safety, providing a 9-7 cushion.
Fleet-footed WR Tim Dwight got free from the Carolina secondary for a 44-yard touchdown to increase the Birds margin to 16-7 after intermission.
Following a Collins to WR Raghib Ismail 56-yard bomb closed the gap to 16-14 in a busy third quarter, Atlanta turned to its ball control offense.
The Falcons’ rugged offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage for the rest of the day and built up an eventual 13 minute time of possession advantage for the game. K Morten Andersen closed out the scoring on a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and the Birds defense shut down the Panthers down the stretch. For the game, the Atlanta’s defense limited Carolina to a mere 2.8 yards per rush and just 54 net rushing yards as the Falcons claimed their first road victory in this series 19-14.