The Atlanta Falcons offense had a record breaking day Sunday in a 48-33 defeat of the reigning NFC champion Carolina Panthers, but lost in the explosiveness of the day may have been the play of the Falcons’ defense.
Adairsville native and Clemson Tigers all-American, Vic Beasley, was part of a defensive front four that all got a hit on 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Beasley dropped Newton for a loss in the second quarter, while fellow front four defenders Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, and Derrick Shelby also applied pressure and recorded a team total of eight hits on Newton. Dwight Freeney logged a sack for the second straight game.
The most notable hit of the game on the Panthers’ quarterback came in the fourth quarter by rookie linebacker Deion Jones. That contact forced Newton from the game following a two-point conversion run and he did not return.
Newton remains questionable for this week.
While the Atlanta defense still lags behind much of the league in sack numbers, they were able to harass Newton for much of the day and were able to apply pressure.
As for the offensive explosion, Julio Jones hauled in a dozen catches for a franchise-record 300 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback, Matt Ryan, threw to nine different receivers in the victory for a franchise-record 503 yards and four touchdowns.
Atlanta improved to 3-1 to sit atop the NFC South. The Falcons travel to Denver for a 4:05pm ET start against the 4-0 Broncos.