Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and the Falcons took advantage of mistake-prone Carolina to rout the Panthers 40-20 Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
It was the first game for the Panthers since Perry Fewell was bumped up from secondary coach to interim coach following the firing Tuesday of Ron Rivera, who was in his ninth season as head coach.
The Falcons (4-9) continued a late-season surge, blowing out the Panthers for the second time in four games and winning for the third time in five.
Ryan was 20-for-34 for 313 yards without an interception.
Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen was intercepted twice across the first three quarters and ended up 28-for-41 for 293 yards with one touchdown throw and one touchdown run.
The Panthers (5-8) lost their fifth game in a row and were eliminated from playoff contention. Even standout running back Christian McCaffrey was held somewhat in check with 82 receiving yards and 53 rushing yards.
Running back Devonta Freeman, who missed last month's 29-3 victory for the Falcons in Charlotte, ran 13 yards for a third-quarter touchdown as Atlanta pushed the lead to 20-10.
By the time Ryan and Olamide Zaccheaus hooked up for a 93-yard pass play, the Falcons were in control, up 27-10 with 6:30 left in the third. Following a fumbled kickoff by the Panthers, Younghoe Koo's 29-yard field goal gave Atlanta 17 points in the third quarter and a 30-10 advantage.
Koo's 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave him four field goals for the game. It was 40-13 after Brian Hill's 3-yard run with 5:08 remaining.
Earlier, Koo's second field goal of the first half came on the final play before halftime, the 35-yarder giving the Falcons a 13-10 lead. He opened the game's scoring with a 37-yarder in the first quarter.
Ryan threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley with 5:15 to play in the second quarter.
Carolina countered on tight end Ian Thomas' 1-yard pass from Allen with 1:05 remaining in the half. Thomas' role expanded with tight end Greg Olsen out with a concussion suffered a week earlier against the Washington Redskins.
Carolina kicker Joey Slye made field goals from 46 and 42 yards.
--Field Level Media