It's quickly becoming apparent that one of these teams has something to play for.
The Atlanta Falcons have raced to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and the Panthers seem most interested in getting home quickly.
QB Matt Ryan authored an efficient opening drive, leading his playoff-ready team downfield in 10 plays. The touchdown pass to TE Tony Gonzalez was a pretty one, as he rolled to his left, and when he appeared to commit to run, LB Jon Beason bailed out of coverage and charged his way. Ryan froze, and lofted the ball softly to Gonzalez for an easy score.
They padded the lead on a punt return touchdown by Eric Weems.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
This thing's going to get worse before it gets better.
Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen already looks ready to crawl into a hole.
-- Darin Gantt