Panthers vs. Falcons Post game notes

News and notes on the Panthers big win over the Falcons.

LCB DeAngelo Hall returned one punt for 17 yards against Carolina, but most of that was wiped out by a penalty. Generally, Hall is expected to get punt return opportunities when the kicking team is behind its 35-yard line or so. When the return man needs to set up inside Atlanta's 10- or 15-yard line, veteran WR Brian Finneran is more likely to be there.

On defense, Hall was matched up against Panthers WR Steve Smith most of the time, although early in the game he did not follow Smith to the slot. Smith caught seven passes for 65 yards and an 18-yard touchdown. The two have become friends, dating back to their time shared on the set of a television commercial last summer. On Smith's score, an 18-yarder in the second quarter, he caught a quick "smoke" route that Hall narrowly missed intercepting, spun loose from Hall's tackle attempt, and then easily cleared a feeble tackle attempt by S Bryan Scott.

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WR Michael Jenkins lined up deep on a kickoff during the Falcons' loss at Carolina on Sunday, and he may be a candidate to work there for however long Allen Rossum (strained left knee) is out. Jenkins did not have a return.

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WR Jerome Pathon returned one kickoff for 21 yards in the Falcons' loss at Carolina on Sunday, and he may seem more action there in the next game or two while Allen Rossum (strained knee) is out.

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CB Leigh Torrence, an undrafted rookie, took over at nickel back for the Falcons at Carolina once Allen Rossum strained a knee. After a couple of series, however, he surrendered those duties on those occasions that Panthers WR Steve Smith was in the slot, instead moving into an outside spot.

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G Tutan Reyes injured his knee late in the game on a DeShaun Foster touchdown run, but he said afterward that he'll fine and will play this week against Tampa Bay.

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LB Dan Morgan (ankle) did not play against Atlanta.

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LB Chris Draft started in Dan Morgan's place against Atlanta and did well, recording eight tackles and his first sack of the year. "He played better than I thought he would," Falcons RB Warrick Dunn said.

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WR Steve Smith now has 10 touchdowns this season, keeping him on pace for the league lead with Marvin Harrison, who also caught his 10th of the season on Sunday. Smith caught seven passes for 65 yards but also had two rare drops, including one that would have been good for at least a 35-yard gain and given him his ninth 100-yard game of the season.

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LB Will Witherspoon did an outstanding job of blanketing Falcons TE Alge Crumpler and not allowing him to become a big factor on Sunday. Crumpler had three catches for 52 yards Sunday. "The last time we faced him, I had a pretty bad day," Witherspoon said. "I guess I had a point to prove to myself that it was not going to be that easy for them. It was not going to be a day of pitch and catch for them."

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DE Mike Rucker left Sunday's game with a sprained ankle in the second half and did return. His status for this week remains uncertain.

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