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Panthers 19, Falcons 13: 10 Observations

What did we learn from the Falcons this week?

Sunday's game between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers had a little bit of everything.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they ended up on the wrong side of a frustrating 19-13 defeat.

Our Top 10 observations from Mercedes-Benz Stadium...

1. The Falcons failed to capitalize on opportunities. On the first play of the game, the Falcons were gifted with a golden opportunity after Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard fumbled. However, the Falcons could not gain any more yardage with the short field and settled for a field goal. Had they scored seven, the momentum and vibe of the game might have changed dramatically, and it could have led to a Falcons win.

2. More Pitts, please! After amazing back-to-back performances, Kyle Pitts struggled today with just two receptions and 13 yards. The Panthers definitely game planned well for the rookie out of Florida, and with teammate Calvin Ridley out, Pitts drew a lot more attention. Now that Ridley is out indefinitely, the team is going to have to figure out how to best maximize Pitts' potential.

3. Tajae Sharpe was sharp today. For the first time this season, Tajae Sharpe was the leading receiver. Sharpe caught five passes for 58 yards. With Ridley out for a while, Sharpe will be relied on for more reps and production moving forward.

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4. The firepower was missing on defense. After the first play of the game, the Falcons struggled to force big plays on the defensive side of the ball. No sacks, no interceptions and no more forced fumbles. The Panthers brought the big-play energy, which is a big part of why they came out as the winners.

5. Matt Ryan's hand injury was scary. The injury was definitely in the Halloween spirit given all of its gory glory. However, the scariest part was how much the injury limited Ryan in the second half of the game. Ryan threw for a season-low 146 yards, and the Falcons scored just a field goal in the second half.

6. The Falcons are a first half team. For the second time this season, the Falcons held a lead at home going into the half and found a way to blow it in the second half. Playing four quarters of sound football is crucial if you want to win in the NFL, and the Falcons cannot say they did that.

7. Foye Oluokun continues to be a Pro Bowl candidate. The brightest spot from the Falcons came in the form of linebacker Foye Oluokun, who is improving his Pro Bowl case each week. On Sunday, the fourth-year veteran recorded a game-high 16 tackles, bringing his season total to 77.

8. Younghoe Koo is human after all. With the chance to take a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Falcons' reliable kicker lined up from 45 yards out. However, Koo missed wide right and the Panthers kept the lead. If you take the missed touchdown chance from the opening drive and the missed field goal early in the fourth quarter, that's the seven points the Falcons needed to win the game.

9. Calvin Ridley will be missed. Before the game, Ridley was announced as a surprise scratch due to personal reasons. It's the second game Ridley has missed this season with a non-football injury. During the fourth quarter, Ridley tweeted out a statement that indicated he could be out for an extended period of time.

10. The Falcons are entering "must-win" territory. The Falcons failed to move over .500 with the loss, and even though playoff hopes are still there for the team, a home divisional loss really hurts their chances moving forward. It makes every game moving forward, especially the divisional games, that much more important. Atlanta hopes to reverse its fortunes next week against the New Orleans Saints.