Falcons beat Panthers, Cam Newton suffers concussion
ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan shredded Carolina's defense, passing for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns, Julio Jones had 12 receptions for a Falcons-record 300 yards, and Atlanta beat the struggling Panthers 48-33 on Sunday.
One week after being held to one catch in a win at New Orleans, Jones had a 75-yard scoring catch late in the game as Atlanta solidified its early hold on the NFC South lead.
The totals by Ryan and Jones are the most ever allowed by Carolina.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton left the game in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Deion Jones on a successful 2-point run. There appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact but there was no penalty on the hit. Newton has officially been diagnosed with a concussion according to the Panthers.
The Panthers scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including scoring passes from Newton's replacement, Derek Anderson, to tight end Greg Olsen and Corey Brown.
Robert Alford's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining clinched the win. Alford picked off another pass from Anderson to end Carolina's final possession.
The Falcons (3-1) began the day leading the NFL in scoring and total offense. They were rarely stopped by Carolina, even when pinned back close to their own goal line. They scored touchdowns after beginning drives on their 2- and 1-yard lines.
Carolina (1-3) has lost two straight. Newton was sacked only once after being sacked eight times in last week's loss to Minnesota, but the Panthers' running game struggled as Jonathan Stewart was held out with a hamstring injury.
MISMATCH: Panthers rookie cornerback James Bradberry was overwhelmed in his matchup with Jones. Ryan completed passes to Jones on Atlanta's first three plays for 22, 14 and 15 yards.
INJURIES: Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis left the game with a hamstring injury early in the second half. Wide receiver Devin Funchess left the game in the fourth quarter with a toe injury. Bradberry returned after he was taken to the locker room in the first quarter with a left toe injury.
Falcons linebackers Jones and Sean Weatherspoon sustained calf injuries.