Panthers 34, Falcons 10

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers intercepted three passes, with cornerback Drayton Florence returning the final one 38 yards for a touchdown, in a 34-10 drubbing of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers (5-3) hold a four-game winning streak midway through their schedule.
Florence's pickoff of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan allowed him to run untouched to the end zone with 8:30 remaining.
Atlanta fell to 2-6.
The Panthers didn't generate much breathing room until quarterback Cam Newton scored on an 8-yard run with nine minutes left to complete a 66-yard drive and provide a 24-10 cushion. The touchdown came one play after teammate Brandon LaFell made a reception, fumbled and then recovered the ball on what became a 30-yard play.
Newton finished with 249 passing yards, completing 23 of 37 passes.
Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ryan with 1:55 left in the first half, pulling the Falcons within 14-10. There were few other highlights for the Falcons.
Carolina's Graham Gano capped the first possession of the second half with a 55-yard field goal. He added a 20-yarder with 1:13 to play.
Linebacker Thomas Davis' interception in the third quarter negated a potential Atlanta scoring drive.
The Panthers held a 14-10 halftime lead by using a couple of short drives.
Mike Tolbert's 4-yard run opened the scoring in the first quarter after Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly returned an interception to the Atlanta 39.
The Panthers were ahead 14-3 after Greg Olsen's 14-yard catch from Newton on a fourth-and-1 play. That possession began at the Atlanta 34 after Ted Ginn Jr.'s 24-yard punt return.
The Falcons settled for Matt Bryant's 28-yard field goal in the second quarter after a would-be touchdown run was wiped out by offensive guard Garrett Reynolds' holding penalty. Gonzalez caught three passes covering 46 yards on the 70-yard drive.
Atlanta's Robert Alford made an interception in the corner of the end zone with 14 seconds left before halftime to thwart a Carolina scoring threat. The play was initially ruled as an incomplete pass until video review showed that he had two feet inbounds.
NOTES: RB Jonathan Stewart was activated from the physically unable to perform list to play for the first time this season for the Panthers. The team waived RB Armond Smith. ... WR Drew Davis drew the start at receiver for the Falcons in place of WR Roddy White, who was inactive. ... Panthers OG Jeff Byers didn't return after a first-half ankle injury. ... Carolina defeated the Falcons for only the 14th time in 37 meetings. ... The Panthers and Falcons meet again in the regular-season finale Dec. 29 in Atlanta. ... Atlanta is home against Seattle next week. ... Carolina plays next week at San Francisco before a three-game homestand.

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