Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey talks about team’s offense in win over the Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey gives credit to the O-line in win vs. the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.
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Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey gives credit to the O-line in win vs. the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.
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Social media reacts to Panthers slow start, bounce back win vs Atlanta

By Langston Wertz Jr.

lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

November 05, 2017 02:27 PM

Carolina’s 20-17 win over Atlanta began with the Panthers offense struggling mightily in its first game without Kelvin Benjamin.

But with Cam Newton running -- and diving -- over Falcons defenders, and Christian McCaffrey having his most effective day as pro, Carolina’s offense came to life, rushing for more than 200 yards. Meanwhile, Atlanta went into a funk, no play perhaps more telling than all-pro receiver Julio Jones dropping a wide open touchdown pass on a fourth down play in the fourth quarter.

Social media had it all covered.

#Falcons #JulioJones #Drop pic.twitter.com/3tWzycdsJ8

— FantasyFootball Info (@Fantasykillers) November 5, 2017

@juliojones_11 are you serious? Butterfingers. @AtlantaFalcons will NEVER recover from that Super Bowl choke job.

— Vince From The Burgh (@vinceja) November 5, 2017

Falcons fans were frustrated about Jones, but just as frustrated with their 2017 Super Bowl runners-up as a whole, as the Panthers rallied from a 10-0 hole to win their second straight game and improve to 6-3.

@ALJ_15 please explain to me why we are losing to Carolina and Cam has literally no one to throw mans hasn’t even went 100 yards throwing

— Falcons 4-3 (@JayGiuseppe) November 5, 2017

Ugh. The Panthers aren’t even the better team. The Falcons are just murdering themselves. #ATLvsCAR

— Ryan Polly (@RTPolly) November 5, 2017

Carolina fans rejoice a 2-game win streak

Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly (59) tackles Atlanta Falcons' Derrick Coleman (40) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone AP

After the win, Panthers fans were excited and at least one remembered that many of the national TV talking heads Sunday didn’t think Carolina would be happy Sunday afternoon.

Need some motivation!!! HERE IT IS! #KeepPounding @Panthers pic.twitter.com/tMlhZJeVuj

— Graeme Hovey (@GraemeHovey) November 5, 2017

Crown the Panthers defense.

— Charles Jr (@The_CSJR) November 5, 2017

Heck of a job by the Panthers front 7 today. They won this game today.

— Bobby Rosinski (@BobbyRosinski) November 5, 2017

Great win for the @Panthers!! Back to back division wins! #6-3 #KeepPounding

— Alex Snider (@bigsnide21) November 5, 2017

First half offensive struggles, until final two minutes

Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) celebrates with Cam Newton after his touchdown run against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn AP

For most of the first half of the Panthers’ first game since trading Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina’s offense didn’t amount to much. At least until the defense got a big stop and made a big play.

Down 10-0 to Atlanta, the Falcons were driving but were stopped on a fourth down and 1. After a nice Cam Newton-to-Devin Funchess pass, and two 15-yard penalties, Carolina got into the red zone and scored on a Christian McCaffrey option run.

On the Falcons next possession, Carolina got an interception from Mike Adams and Cam Newton & Co. got the ball at the Falcons 31. The Panthers drove in and scored another touchdown, this one on Newton’s 52nd career rushing touchdown. Newton’s dunking move caught the attention of a certain 2-time NBA MVP.

Dunking through traffic like it's nothing pic.twitter.com/NfxZExZ1OY

— Tate Frazier (@tatefrazier) November 5, 2017

So at halftime, Carolina led 14-10, despite playing the type of offensive football, at least early, that had fans ready to change the channel.

I hate to type this. I'm coming to the realization that the @Panthers just aren't very good this yr. Too many missed throws, turnovers, etc.

— Tim Southers (@TimSouthers) November 5, 2017

Why those kinds of tweets?

Well, the Panthers didn’t get off to a good start against arch rival Atlanta. There was a three-and-out, a punt and two fumbles from Jonathan Stewart, who had two fumbles in his first four carries. The Falcons, who haven’t exactly been their 2016 season Super Bowl selves, jumped out to that 10-0 lead.

Panthers fans jumped on their phones for the social media psychology couch.

Live look at the Panthers ball security. pic.twitter.com/SDaPDEEARS

— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 5, 2017

First quarter recap for Panthers:

2 fumbles for Stewart, three completed passes for Cam for 18 yards. And Panthers trail 10-0

— Brendan Marks (@BrendanRMarks) November 5, 2017

Live look at Panthers Twitter: pic.twitter.com/u9oE2lO40u

— Anthony Pagnotta (@FutureTarHeel) November 5, 2017

Hard to believe trading the Panthers best receiver didn't suddenly make the offense better. Wow.

— Adam Lawson (@GazetteLawson) November 5, 2017

Cam is the Panthers offense, their whole offense

— Joey D (@1stNameJoseph) November 5, 2017