REPORT CARD: Ryan-to-Julio was magical

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Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones set a franchise record with 300 receiving yards receiving in the Falcons' 48-33 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from the Georgia Dome.

September 11, 2016 ATLANTA: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones takes the field to play the Buccaneers in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /

The defense came out strong, but the prevent defense was too soft and allowed the Panthers to hang around after the offense built a 34-10 lead.

It was time to stomp out the Panthers, but the young defense was not up to the task. They held the Panthers to a field goal on the first seven possessions of the game before giving up three straight touchdown drives.

The next time they are in that situation, defensive coordinator Richard Smith must tell the Falcons to keep their foot down on the back of the opponent's neck. Don't let them get up off the floor and try to make it a game. Once you have them down, keep them down.

"We’re not there yet, but some of it was a function of the coverage and some of it was a function of us not playing it exactly like we’d like to," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "It was probably a mixture of both.”

The young defense which is learning how to close out games, did this against Oakland after going up by two scores late.

I think Quinn calls that, "finishing."

Here are the grades:

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.