Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Scott Hamilton

A quick summary of what went right, what went wrong and what went off the rails during Carolina's 29-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

THUMBS UP: The Panthers converted 3 of 5 fourth-down attempts.

THUMBS DOWN: The Panthers had to go for it on fourth down five times after falling behind early.

THUMBS UP: Christian McCaffrey continues his campaign for the league's MVP award, this time putting together 181 total yards (70 rushing, 121 receiving) even as the Falcons' defense focused on No. 22. 

THUMBS DOWN: Carolina's offense didn't score a touchdown since a 17-3 loss at Chicago on Oct. 22, 2017. And it was shutout for the opening half for the first time since last season. 

THUMBS UP: D.J. Moore continues to evolve into a No. 1 wide receiver. He caught eight passes for 95 yards against the Falcons while serving as a nice compliment to McCaffrey. 

THUMBS DOWN: McCaffrey and Moore might be a little too much of a complimenting duo, as quarterback Kyle Allen focuses the majority of his passes in their direction. Twenty-nine of Allen's 50 pass attempts went toward either McCaffrey (19 targets) or Moore (14) while the rest were scattered among Curtis Samuel (seven) and Greg Olsen (five) with the combination of Reggie Bonnafon, Ian Thomas and Jarius Wright accounting for the remaining five passes.

THUMBS UP: After being shredded on the ground by San Francisco and Green Bay over the past month, the Panthers held Atlanta to 54 net rushing yards.

THUMBS DOWN: Carolina allowed Matt Ryan to complete 21 of 31 passes for 311 yards and a touchdown. It was the eighth time that Ryan has thrown for at least 300 yards against the Panthers.

THUMBS UP: Carolina was able to get to Matt Ryan three times on Sunday, raising its league-leading sack total to 39. 

THUMBS DOWN: The Panthers failed to force a turnover yet again. They haven’t picked off a pass or collected a fumble since midway through the fourth quarter of their win last month over the Tennessee Titans.

THUMBS UP: Carolina held Atlanta to a field goal on two of its four scoring drives, including a possession that stopped at the Panthers' 5-yard line.

THUMBS DOWN: Kyle Allen was intercepted four times. The second-year pro has now thrown three times as many interceptions (nine) as touchdown passes (3) over the past four games.

HE SAID IT: "Just a comedy of terrible football."

                                                      -- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen

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