Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / email@example.com
FLOWERY BRANCH — In Cam Newton’s homecoming as a professional, the Falcons intercepted three passes and finished strong to post a 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win, coupled with Tampa Bay’s victory over New Orleans, leaves the defending NFC South champions one game out of first place.
What we learned
1. The run game still works: The Falcons put on a power-running display with 35 runs for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Turner led the way with a season-high 139 yards on 27 carries (5.1 per rush). The Falcons keyed on working the outside creases of the Carolina defense and cut Turner loose on some toss sweeps. He ran with authority, barreling over defenders as he finished all of his runs strong.
2. Harry Douglas can make the big catch: Douglas, the fourth-year wide receiver, started for the injured Julio Jones and was a few