Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/30/12

Matt Bryant drove in a 40-yard game-winning field goal with five seconds remaining after a desperation throw from Matt Ryan in his own endzone somehow found Roddy White and the Atlanta Falcons escaped the upset bid from the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, 30-28.

Cam Newton bounced back from his miserable showing against the Giants and threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown. But in the end his fumble on a third-and-short play cost the Panthers a first down and eventually the game.

Hero

Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons. Even though Ryan was sacked seven times by what is considered to be just an average pass-rush from Carolina, Ryan made the plays when he had to. Ryan connected on 25-of-40 passes for 369 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. His desperation heave out of the back of his own endzone to Roddy White was probably the play of the game and then he dinked-and-dimed the Panthers zone defense to get Atlanta in field goal range to win the game.

Zero

Haruki Nakamura, safety, Carolina Panthers. The Panthers will probably be looking for a different starting free safety after this game. Nakamura was continuously abused by Ryan and Roddy White in this game and was left on a deserted island in the deep zone of the Panthers defense. Nakamura had a pass breakup on an early throw from Ryan to Julio Jones that would have been a touchdown, but other than that his play was poor. He took bad angles on passes all game and gave up a 49-yard touchdown to White early in the first quarter. He also gave up the pass to White to get Atlanta into Carolina territory with an opportunity to win the game, which the Falcons seized.

The Falcons (4-0) are off to their best start since 2004, when they reached the NFC Championship Game. (ESPN)



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