Originally created 09/24/01

Falcons 24, Panthers 16



ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons went long and short to extend their domination of the Carolina Panthers.

Chris Chandler threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Anderson and Michael Vick scored his first NFL touchdown on a 2-yard run, leading Atlanta to a 24-16 victory Sunday over the Panthers.

Carolina opened the season with a shocking victory at Minnesota but couldn't recapture the momentum after the league took a week off because of the terrorist attacks.

The Falcons (1-1) defeated the Panthers (1-1) for the sixth time in seven meetings since 1998.

John Kasay kicked his third field goal, a 31-yarder with 5:37 remaining, to bring the Panthers within a touchdown and two-point conversion of forcing overtime.

But the Falcons ran out all but the last seven seconds, converting a pair of key third-down plays.

Chandler threw a 22-yard pass to third-string tight end Brian Kozlowski, who wound up with a team-high four catches for 86 yards. Anderson ran 10 yards on third-and-3, virtually sealing the victory.

Anderson ran for a total of 98 yards, but he was on the receiving end of the biggest play of the game early in the third quarter.

With the Falcons backed up on their own 6 after a Carolina punt, Chandler play-faked to fullback Bob Christian and found Anderson all alone in the middle of the field.

The running back hauled in the pass at the 35 and ran the rest of the way with no defender in sight. It was the second-longest play in Atlanta history, surpassed only by Bobby Hebert's 98-yard pass to Michael Haynes in 1993.

Vick played only one full series, guiding the Falcons to a field goal, but he came on again when Atlanta faced third-and-goal at the Panthers 2.

The left-hander rolled to his left with no intention of throwing, burying his head and powering through safeties Deon Grant and Damien Richardson at the goal line.

Vick, momentarily dazed, finally hopped up and asked for the ball to mark his first pro TD, which gave the Falcons a 24-13 lead with 12:36 left in the game.

Before the game, a moment of silence honored victims of the Sept. 11 attack, and country star Shannon Brown sang the national anthem. The crowd of 46,804 - about 25,000 short of capacity but about normal for one of the NFL's poorest-drawing teams - willingly endured heightened security.

Carolina rookie Chris Weinke had another solid game, completing 27-of-41 for 276 yards. He also ran for his second TD in two games.

Chandler threw only 14 times but completed 11 for 244 yards and a pair of TDs.

The Falcons drove 76 yards on their first possession, taking advantage of sloppy Carolina defense. The Panthers were penalized twice for encroachment and another time for jumping offsides before Chandler hit wide-open Tony Martin for a 12-yard TD.

Weinke ran it in from the 5 to give Carolina its only lead at 10-7 with 8 1/2 minutes to go in the first half.

Vick played on Atlanta's next possession. He had his first NFL completion, an 18-yarder to Martin, then somersaulted through the air on a 12-yard run that gave the Falcons a key first down. Jay Feely wound up kicking a 25-yard field goal for a 10-10 tie at halftime.

Vick finished 2-of-2 for 27 yards and ran three times for 23 yards.