Matt Ryan threw for 281 yards and ran for a touchdown to steer the Atlanta Falcons to a 25-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night in Charlotte.
Ryan was 21-for-30 in the air with an interception in the battle between the bottom two in the NFC South.
His 13-yard run for a score midway through the second quarter, and Younghoe Koo's 36-yard field goal on the final play in the half, provided the visitors to Bank of America Stadium with a 16-14 halftime lead.
"I feel like I've always been that way throughout my career, just fast enough to make them pay sometimes on third downs. It was a big score for us there. We really needed it," Ryan said.
The outcome came less than three weeks since the Panthers won 23-16 in Atlanta, and Raheem Morris became the Falcons' interim coach the next day upon the firing of Dan Quinn.
Atlanta (2-6), who were coming off a one-point home loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, improved to 2-1 under Morris.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones churned out another big game against Carolina, posting 137 yards on seven catches.
Atlanta kicker Koo was perfect from his four field-goal attempts, connecting from 20, 37, 36 and 29 yards -- although he did miss an extra point in the final quarter.
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel scored two touchdowns for the Panthers, while quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 15-for-23 for 176 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Todd Gurley's three-yard run after the main break gave him an NFL-leading eighth touchdown run of the season for Atlanta.
Falcons defensive end Charles Harris was ejected for a third-quarter hit on Bridgewater.
"I thought it was a cheap shot. It was late, hit him on the neck. You hate to see that," Carolina running back Mike Davis said.
The Panthers QB returned with just under 10 minutes left in the final period after receiving treatment but couldn't get the hosts over the line.
"We have to find ways to finish the game," Bridgewater said.
"That can't be the common thing around here - coming up short.
"They knew some of the things that we wanted to do and they had answers for it."
The Panthers (3-5) have followed a three-game winning streak with three straight losses.
Australian Associated Press