If one single game could embody what it’s like to be a Falcons fan, Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win over the Panthers was about as close as it gets. With first place in the NFC South on the line, it seemed like neither team wanted to win. Finally, after a second missed kick by the Panthers, Younghoe Koo hit the game-winning field goal to end the madness.
Going forward, things will only get tougher for Atlanta. Expectations will create added pressure, but the players are happy to be where they are.
“You definitely feel excited, feel good, about being number one, but the hardest thing right now is to maintain and be there and stay there,” said LB Rashaan Evans after the win. “We still got a lot of good games that are coming up that we’ve got to win for us to be able to place for the playoffs.”
In Week 9, the Falcons take on the Chargers who are coming off a bye week. Then it’s back on the road for a rematch with the Panthers in Week 10.
“So, we’ve just got to make sure we heal up, get some of our guys back to be able to be full strength and I think we’ll be an even better team then,” continued Evans.
The Falcons were missing a number of defensive players in the secondary with A.J. Terrell, Casey Hayward, Jaylinn Hawkins all out due to injuries. This led to some major lapses on defense.
“There’s definitely a lot of things we can work on across the board, but defense especially,” said Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver. “We missed a couple things today that we know we can be better at for sure, so we will get those things cleaned up.”
The Falcons and Panthers scored on 10 consecutive possessions to end regulation before the game was sent to overtime.The defense needs to become more disciplined going forward. Atlanta cannot allow a banged up, depleted Panthers offense to score 34 points.
“Yea, it’s a good spot,” said Oliver. “There’s a lot of games left, and a lot of things can change. Just focus on getting better each week and get that next win.”
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Takeaways: Falcons still in 1st place after 37-34 win over Panthers