Falcons blown out: News and Notes

ATLANTA - News and notes from Atlanta's blowout loss to Carolina.

FREED-UP FINN: Brian Finneran has triggered a clause in his contract that could make the seventh-year Falcons receiver an unrestricted free agent.

Finneran caught four passes for 45 yards in Atlanta's 44-11 loss to Carolina on Sunday, giving him 50 receptions and 611 yards for the season. He finished as the team's most productive wideout. His numbers were second only to three-time Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler.

RED-ZONE REDUX: Austin King made his first career start in place of Matt Lehr, who had a strained calf muscle, but the third-year guard from Northwestern had to leave the game after suffering a laceration between his nose and eyes on the opening kickoff.

Fortunately for King, the Panthers had the ball first, so he was able to go into the training room for a patch-up and return before the Atlanta offense took its first snap.

King didn't play the whole game, however. Right tackle Todd Weiner took snaps at both guard positions after Kynan Forney left with a recurring ankle injury. Barry Stokes played right tackle when Weiner moved inside.

AWOL GROUND ATTACK: Nobody had a worse four-game finish than No. 2 running back T.J. Duckett. The fourth-year veteran gained 33 yards on his last 39 carries.

As a team, Atlanta finished with 2,546 yards, seven more than the No. 2 Denver Broncos. In their first season under head coach Jim Mora, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and line consultant Alex Gibbs, the Falcons led the NFL with 2,672 yards, a franchise record.

"They got the ball first and drove down on us and put points on the board," three-time Pro Bowl running back Warrick Dunn said. "We tried to come back and answer with a 16-play drive, but we were only able to put three up. They just kept coming at us, and we just had problems offensively, defensively and on special teams."

BY THE NUMBERS: Through the first seven games, Atlanta had 24 sacks and was tied for second in the league. The Falcons managed just 13 over the next nine. Keith Brooking had the only sack of Jake Delhomme Sunday, which meant the pass rush produced one or no sacks in five of the last nine games. ...

Carolina won at the Georgia Dome for the first time since 1997. Former Georgia kicker John Kasay kicked three field goals in the 9-6 victory eight years ago and three in this win. The 15-year Panthers veteran connected from 19, 41 and 34 yards. ...

Atlanta's sagging run defense allowed a season-high 229 yards, marking the second time an opponent put up at least 200 and giving the Falcons their worst performance since Kansas City racked up 271 yards and eight touchdowns in the Chiefs' 56-10 victory during Week 7 of 2004.


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