ATLANTA -- - Chris Chandler 's body was inside the Georgia Dome, but his heart remaining in Southern California on Sunday.
The quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons played knowing his father-in-law, former San Francisco 49ers great John Brodie, was in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a stroke suffered last Monday.
"It's really been a tough week," Chandler said. "Some things this week have more significance than others. For the most part, I just tried to survive."
Chandler accompanied his wife, Diane, to Southern California early Tuesday. The team faxed the game plan to him on Wednesday and he returned to practice on Thursday.
The distraction may have had an impact on his performance during Sunday's 13-12 victory over Carolina. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 191 yards, but he didn't throw a touchdown and he was intercepted twice.
Unlike previous weeks, however, Chandler seemed to have time to throw.
"If we can run the table in the second half, things could happen," he said, knowing a 10-6 record would likely get the Falcons into the playoffs. "Realistically, though, we need to think about playing hard. We played real hard today, especially on defense."
LITTLE BIG MAN: Terance Mathis added yet another milestone to his distinguished career when he caught seven passes for 89 yards. His fourth reception -- at the 12:48 mark of the third quarter -- was memorable because it was his 500th catch as a Falcons player.
In all, Mathis has 596 career catches in 11 years, including a four-year stint with the New York Jets early in his career.
The product of Redan High in nearby Stone Mountain, Ga., already owned club records for receptions and receiving yards. His performance Sunday increased those record totals to 503 catches and 6,578 yards.
FOUL MOODS: Atlanta and Carolina took Sunday's game personal -- literally.
Both teams combined for 156 penalty yards, including 10 personal fouls.
Atlanta was hit with one defensive pass interference, two holding calls, two roughing the passer penalties and an unnecessary roughness call, while Carolina was whistled for an illegal use of hands, a roughing the passer and a holding.
"When you walked off the field, they tried to bump into you and push you around," said Atlanta defensive tackle Ed Jasper. "That just fired me up. That made me mad."
Jasper earned one of the roughing the quarterback penalties -- an infraction that wiped out Ray Buchanan's interception and 19-yard return to the Panthers 41-yardline in the second quarter.
One of the Falcons' holding penalties against tight end Reggie Kelly nullified a 17-yard touchdown run by Jamal Anderson late in the fourth quarter. That run would have given Anderson his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, but he had to settle for a season-high 90.
The penalty must have upset Anderson because he dressed and left the Atlanta locker room before reporters were allowed to enter.
THE INJURY REPORT: For the first time all season, the Falcons came through a game without any significant injuries. Offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam was the worst with a hip-pointer.
Carolina, on the other hand, was rocked by injuries.
Tight end Wesley Walls (knee), running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka (knee), offensive guard Brian Stoltenberg (knee) and tight end Kris Mangum (shoulder) all will be evaluated today at the team's headquarters.
"The initial report on Walls are kind of dismal," Panthers coach George Seifert said. "All of the injuries are kind of dismal from the standpoint of whether they are playing in the next week or so."
EXTRA POINTS: The loss pushed Carolina's losing streak inside domes to five games ... Atlanta center Todd McClure made his first professional start ... Falcons wide receiver Shawn Jefferson won a bet with team strength and conditioning coach Al Miller. The bet was 20 up-downs in practice -- a drill where a person runs in place, then hits the turf belly-first -- for the alma mater that lost Saturday's college football game between Central Florida and Alabama. Jefferson, a product of Central Florida, won the bet when the Golden Knights upset the Crimson Tide 40-38 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
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