CHARLOTTE — Atlanta intercepted Kyle Allen four times and sacked him five times as the Falcons defeated the Carolina Panthers, 29-3 on Sunday, for their second straight lopsided win against an NFC South foe.
The Falcons (3-7) had only two interceptions all season — and none since Week 2 against the Eagles — but intercepted Allen three times in the first half to build a 20-0 lead.
Matt Ryan improved to 7-1 in his past eight starts against the Panthers, throwing for 311 yards including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley.
Ridley found huge holes in the Carolina defense, finishing with eight catches for 143 yards and rookie Qadree Ollison added a 2-yard TD run for the Falcons, who won despite playing without running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper.
It was the second straight dominant defensive performance for the Falcons, who defeated the Saints 26-9 last Sunday.
Allen struggled all day for Carolina (5-5), continuing a disturbing trend.
They have lost three of their past four games with Allen under center, who is suddenly struggling with turnovers.
The second-year QB has thrown eight interceptions in the past four games, after not throwing any in his first four career starts. He spent most of the game under heavy duress, as the Panthers offensive line racked up holding penalties nullifying big gains.
“He’s a good young football player, and he’s done some really good things for us,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of Allen. “But today he got overwhelmed.”
Allen said it boiled down to “poor decision-making” on his part.
He didn’t get much help. Along with the lack of pass protection, the Panthers were penalized eight times for 68 yards which prevented them from mustering any momentum on offense.
Panthers veteran tight end Greg Olsen called his team’s performance a “comedy of terrible football.”
“We stunk. We played terrible,” Olsen said. “We got beat in all aspects of the game. Penalties, turnovers, drops — it was like every single drive. It’s impossible to play football like that.”
The Falcons dominated in every phase of the game, including special teams.
Kenjon Barner, who was drafted by the Panthers in 2013, gave Atlanta the boost it needed when he fielded Michael Palardy’s punt and weaved his way up the field, picking up blockers along the way en route to an early 10-0 lead. It was the first punt return allowed by the Panthers since 2016.
Christian McCaffrey finished with 191 yards from scrimmage for the Panthers but failed to score for the first time since Week 2. He passed LaDainian Tomlinson (238) for the most receptions by a running back in his first three NFL seasons.