RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Panthers could never get their running game going as Jonathan Stewart was limited to 31 yards on 13 carries. Mike Goodson only carried twice and fumbled once. Carolina managed 137 yards on the ground, but 89 of those came on reverses with Brandon LaFell picking up 60 yards and David Gettis 19.
PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Had it not been for a late touchdown pass against the Falcons' second string in the final minute of the game, Jimmy Clausen would have posted another beauty of a stat line. But the touchdown left him 19 of 33 for 182 yards with one touchdown and one pick. He still finished with the worst QB rating in the league. LaFell had four catches for 63 yards, but also dropped a long ball that would have resulted in at least a 45-yard gain. The Panthers played without star receiver Steve Smith, who sat out with a calf injury.
RUN DEFENSE: C -- Michael Turner has killed the Panthers in the past but he had to work for his yards on Sunday, gaining 67 yards on a 17 carries along with a touchdown. The Panthers did force one Turner fumble. It was clear the Falcons were going to move the ball through the air and that's exactly what they did. Atlanta ran for 99 yards on 32 carries.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- Matt Ryan showed how a real quarterback picks apart a defense. Ryan completed 22 of 32 passes for 236 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. He was sacked once and pretty much picked apart the Panthers secondary.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- The Panthers allowed Eric Weems to return a punt 55 yards for a touchdown to put the Falcons up 14-0 in the first quarter. Also, Mike Goodson fumbled another kickoff return and Armanti Edwards botched a punt return, although the Panthers recovered both. John Kasay connected on his only field goal attempt.
COACHING: C -- John Fox, who was the first man off the field Sunday, finished with a final record 73-71 with the Panthers. This year's 2-14 mark certainly didn't help that winning percentage. At least Fox tried a few trick plays on Sunday, but the call to kick a field goal instead of going for a touchdown in the second half was pretty wimpy. A lot of folks in Charlotte won't miss Fox's coaching decisions. Even more will be glad to escort offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson out of town.
How good of a coach is John Fox? Talk about it inside of the message boards.
Panthers Report Card, Week 17
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