Charlotte, N.C. – The Falcons are road warriors.

In a battle for second place in the NFC South, the Falcons made the most of three turnovers and defeated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 29-21 on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

It was the Falcons’ fifth win on the road this season. Their lone “home” win was over the Jets in London.

“We’ve got to get it together at home,” said linebacker Mykal Walker, who returned a 66-yard interception for a touchdown.

The Falcons improved to 6-7 on the season, while the Panthers, who fired their offensive coordinator Joe Brady last Sunday, dropped to 5-8.

The Falcons and the Saints are tied for second place in the division, but the Falcons have the head-to-head tie break because of a 27-25 win on Nov. 7.

“It was huge,” Walker said. “We are preaching that we’ve got to go 5-0. One game down. We’re not done yet. We have to go back and win four more. For us, this game was a playoff game for us. That’s what we were preaching for the next couple of games.”

With the win, the Falcons now have road wins over the New York Giants, Dolphins, Saints, Jaguars and Panthers.

Here are five things we learned from the victory:

1. Return of the Panther: Falcons running back Mike Davis played for the Panthers last season.

Davis was steady in his backup role. He rushed 11 times for 44 yards and had five catches for 42 yards with 4:56 to play.

“Yeah, of course,” Davis said of extra motivation. “Anytime you play against a former team.”

Qadree Ollison came on in the third quarter and helped the Falcons rush for more than 100 yards for the third consecutive game. The Falcons rushed 36 times for 128 yards.

Running back Cordarrelle Patterson was asked on Thursday what were the keys to beating the Panthers and he said, “Run the ball,” Patterson said. “Run the ball. Run the ball.”

Patterson had his fifth rushing touchdowns of the season on a 5-yard run in the first quarter. Koo’s point after tied the game 7-7. He finished with 16 carries for 58 yards.

Ollison added 23 yards on five carries.

With the Falcons trying to run out the clock, Ollison fumbled with 3:49 left. The Panthers scored to make it 29-21, but the Falcons were able to run out the clock after Ryan connected with tight end Kyle Pitts for 23-yard gain on third down-and-14 from Atlanta’s 36.

2. Turnover central: The Falcons created three turnovers and turned them into 13 points.

With the score tied at 7, Walker stepped in front of a Newton pass intended for running back Ameer Abdullah and scored on a 66-yard interception return.

“I didn’t see him,” Newton said.

It was Walker’s first interception of his career and it put the Falcons up 14-7. After the touchdown, the team tweeted that Walker was also celebrating the birth of a child — a boy named Kayden — last week.

The pick-six marked the second one for the Falcons over the past two games. Defensive tackle Marlon Davidson intercepted Tom Brady in the previous game against the Buccaneers and returned it 3 yards for a touchdown.

Later in the second quarter, Falcons right cornerback A.J. Terrell picked off a P.J. Walker pass. The offense had the ball at Atlanta’s 46, but couldn’t move the ball and elected to let the run down the clock. The Falcons wanted to take a shot to the end zone, but Ryan ended up checking the ball down to Davis.

With the Falcons up 20-14, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett recovered a fumble by Newton in the third quarter at the Panthers’ 49.

“I got stepped on,” Newton said. “I just should have ate it.”

The Falcons went on a 10-play touchdown drive. The Falcons had to overcome a first down-and-20 after left tackle Jake Matthews was called for holding.

Ryan tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst to put the Falcons up 26-14 with 14:17 to play in the game. The Falcons went for the two-point conversion, but the play was well-defensed and Ryan threw the pass out of the end zone.

3. Run defense stands up: In the previous outing the Panthers ran the ball 47 times for 203 yards in the 19-13.

The Panthers rushed 26 times for 91 yards as the Falcons cut their output in half.

“We just took it personally,” Walker said. “Coach let us know. Kind of called us out last time. It was something that coach (Dean) Pees and them, they talked to us. It was personal. You let someone come in there and run all over you. You’ve got to fight back. The guys did a hell of job up front. I’m just proud of them doing that.”

4. Controlling Cam Newton: The Falcons defense had to be ready for the running of Newton.

The former Westlake High standout and Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn scored a 12-yard rushing touchdown on the Panthers’ first possession, but the defense played the read-pass-option plays much better the rest of the game.

Newton had 10 rushes for 47 yards midway through the fourth quarter.

5. Harris out: Falcons safety Erik Harris suffered a torn left pectoral muscle that will require surgery and lead to him missing the rest of the season, according to Dr. David Chao’s video review.

Harris’ injury was announced as a “chest” injury with his return to the game questionable. He did not return to the game.

The Falcons were already thin at safety with Richie Grant out of the game with an ankle injury. Shawn Williams was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. Jaylinn Hawkins took over for Harris.

Harris suffered the injury on Carolina’s first possession of the game when he made a tackle for a loss on Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard. He played two more snaps before and walked off the field with a member of the training staff.

Chao was a head team doctor in the NFL for more than 17 seasons. He’s a surgeon who provides sports medical analyst and real-time injury analysis.

Linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee left the game with a knee injury. Outside linebacker Dante Fowler left the game with a calf injury.

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Patriots 25, Falcons 0

Falcons 21, Jaguars 14

Buccaneers 30, Falcons 17

Falcons 29, Panthers 21

Final four games

Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19

Detroit Lions at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26

Falcons at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2

New Orleans Saints at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9