Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Bryant connected on four field goals, including a 44-yarder late in the fourth quarter that gave the Atlanta Falcons a 19-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers in an NFC South matchup.
Matt Ryan went 31-for-45 for 268 yards with a touchdown pass to Roddy White for the Falcons (4-6), who have won two straight to move into a tie with New Orleans for first place in the NFC South.
"It's been a different year for sure, but you play to be relevant in November and December," said Ryan. "I think we've played pretty effective football and I think things are starting to come together here."
Cam Newton struggled for much of the game, but did have two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and finished the game 23-for-37 for 292 yards with two interceptions for the Panthers (3-7-1), who have lost five straight after tying a game against Cincinnati in Week 6.
"We've just got to play better, as a team, as a group and take that challenge personally," said Newton. "I know I'm better than how I'm playing. We just have to get things going."
Newton's second touchdown pass of the fourth quarter had given the Panthers a 17-16 lead with 6:20 to play.
Ryan, though, was able to get his team into scoring position, thanks in part to three receptions by Harry Douglas for 29 yards. Bryant booted the 44-yarder in with 2:08 to play for a 19-17 lead.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of the guys in the locker room," said Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. "We got some critical plays made at the right time."
The Panthers were able to get into field goal range on their ensuing touch, thanks in part to catches of 15 yards and 17 yards from Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin, respectively. Graham Gano, though, missed a 46-yarder just to the left with 1:22 to play.
Carolina was able to force Atlanta into a three-and-out and get the ball back at its own 16. The team managed to get to the Atlanta 45 and Gano lined up for a 63-yard field goal attempt with just one second left, but it was blocked to end the game.
"This was a tough one to swallow," said Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. "I talked to the players about this and told them we're still in the middle of it, believe it or not, but we've got to start taking care of our own end first."
Newton was picked off on Carolina's first possession, but on the second touch he took the team on a lengthy 17-play, 83-yard drive that was ended on a 23- yard field goal from Gano on the first play of the second quarter.
Atlanta came back to tie the game on a 34-yard field goal from Bryant with 9 1/2 minutes to play in the second. The drive covered 64 yards over 13 plays and saw Ryan convert a 3rd-and-7 with a 19-yard pass to White.
Getting the ball back with 1:35 to play in the half, the Falcons were able to move into scoring position and Bryant booted one through the uprights from 42 yards out to give the team a 6-3 lead at the break.
Newton was picked off again on the opening drive of the second half, and that led to a 26-yard field goal from Bryant to give the team a 9-3 advantage.
Following another brief possession from the Panthers, the Falcons got the ball back near midfield. An 18-yard catch by Devin Hester was followed by a 20-yard reception by Levine Toilolo down to the 2. The next play saw Ryan find White on a crossing route in the end zone for a 16-3 lead.
Newton was finally able to get his team into the end zone with 9:12 to play in the game when he found Benjamin in the left corner of the end zone where he made a juggling catch for a 22-yard score and a 16-10 game.
Following a quick possession from the Falcons, the Panthers took the lead when Newton went deep down the right side and Philly Brown came down with the ball for a 47-yard score and a 17-16 lead.
White finished the game with eight catches for 75 yards, and Julio Jones added six catches for 59 yards. White now had over 10,000 career receiving yards, becoming the 42nd player to accomplish the feat ... Benjamin had nine receptions for 109 yards in the loss ... Carolina has off next week ... Atlanta hosts Cleveland next Sunday ... Carolina had won the three previous meetings with Atlanta.