Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) trips up Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) forcing an incomplete pass Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

5 stats that matter as Falcons face reeling Panthers

The Panthers jumped out to 6-2 start, but have dropped six in a row after losing 12-9 to the Saints on Monday. 

Here are five stats that set up the matchup:

1. Cam Newton is not healthy: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Westlake High and Auburn,  revealed to Jourdan Rodrique of The Charlotte Observer more about his struggles to fully recover from the surgery he had after the 2016 season to repair a partially torn rotator cuff after the game last night. He didn’t throw the ball down the field and had a bad interception in the end zone when he didn’t throw the ball high enough for wide receiver Devin Funchess.  

2. Top rookie receivers:  Carolina made D.J. Moore the top receiver taking in the draft. The Falcons made Calvin Ridley the second receiver taken. In the previous meeting, Ridley had four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Moore had one catch for 51 yards and a touchdown. On the season, Ridley has 56 catches for 699 yards and eight touchdowns. Moore, before the Monday night game against the Saints, had 47 catches for 676 yards and two touchdowns. 

3. Series history: This will be the 48th regular-season meeting of the Panthers and Falcons. The Falcons lead the series, 29-18. The Falcons won the last meeting, 31-24, on Sept. 16.

4. 100-win club: The win over the Cardinals marked the 100th win for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. They are just the sixth GM-QB duo who have reached 100 wins for the same team together.

5. Ryan and Montana: Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, Ryan is the 12th QB to win 100 games with one team. He’s tied with Joe Montana (100 wins) for the 11th most wins with one team during that time span.

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