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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Ryan to OZ leads Falcons to another rout of Panthers, 40-20

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By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Younghoe Koo, Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Olamide Zaccheaus, Calvin Ridley, Ian Thomas

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) celebrates on a defensive play against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) celebrtates a tackle against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)


Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley (44) causes Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)


Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo (7) jumps into Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) after Koo recovered a fumble against the Carolina Panthersduring the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) hits Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)


Carolina Panthers wide receiver Greg Dortch (14) misses the ball against Atlanta Falcons defensive back Kemal Ishmael (36) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) celebrates his touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)


Carolina Panthers interim head coach Perry Fewell speaks with an offical during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) makes a catch against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. ran for a touchdown on the play. Zaccheaus(AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) makes the catch against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)


Former Atlanta Falcons player Roddy White speaks during a Falcons Ring of Honor ceremony during half time of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) misses the catch against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) works in the pocket against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) hits Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)


ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Falcons honored one of their greatest receivers at halftime.

Then a guy few people have ever heard of snatched away the spotlight.

Olamide Zaccheaus hauled in the longest touchdown pass of Matt Ryan's career, a 93-yarder that propelled the Atlanta Falcons to another dominating win over the Carolina Panthers, 40-20 on Sunday.

It was the first catch of the undrafted rookie's career - and came not long after the Falcons inducted Roddy White into their ring of honor during a halftime ceremony.

Before Sunday, White had been on the receiving end of Ryan's longest scoring play, a 90-yarder against San Francisco in 2009.

''I told O.Z. that he stole some of Roddy's thunder,'' Ryan joked. ''I'm so happy for O.Z. He's a guy who's worked extremely hard. He stepped up when his number was called. He knew his assignment and he broke a tackle, which was impressive.''

The game turned at the end of the first half and beginning of the second.

The Panthers made it 10-10 with just over a minute to go before halftime, but the Falcons (4-9) quickly drove into position for Younghoe Koo's 35-yard field goal on the final play.

After Carolina's Kyle Allen fumbled the ball away on a blind-side hit by Vic Beasley to start the third period, the Falcons replied with a 46-yard drive capped by Devonta' Freeman's 13-yard touchdown run that made it 20-10.

Then it was Ryan delivering the pass from his own end zone that finished off the Panthers.

The 5-foot-8 Zaccheaus beat Donte Jackson, hauled in the throw near the midfield logo, shook off Jackson's desperate grab and breezed to the end zone, with Jackson sprawled out on the turf behind him and no other Carolina player around.

''We were backed up,'' Zaccheaus said. ''I just had a one-on-one that I had to win. I just had to find ball and make a play for the team.''

The Panthers (5-8) were officially eliminated from playoff contention with their fifth straight loss, which ruined the debut of interim coach Perry Fewell. He took over at the beginning of the week after longtime coach Ron Rivera was fired.

''I don't think there's one person that's going to fix all this,'' running back Christian McCaffrey said. ''It's a collective effort and once again we've just got to do a better job of executing and stop making it complicated on ourselves.''

Atlanta snapped a two-game losing streak and swept the season series with their I-85 rival. The Falcons won the first meeting 29-3 at Charlotte on Nov. 17.

Fewell and the Panthers endured a thoroughly miserable game. Allen was picked off twice in addition to coughing up the fumble. Carolina fumbled another one away on a kickoff return, the ball deflecting into the arms of Koo, setting off a wild celebration as the kicker bounced toward the sideline.

It was the highlight of the day for Koo, whose four field goals also included a 50-yarder that ricocheted off an upright.

Ryan finished 20 of 34 for 313 yards, also throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley late in the second quarter as the Falcons piled up a season high for points.

Matty Ice became the 10th quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 yards. He's now at 50,279 and has his sights on John Elway, the NFL's ninth-leading passer with 51,475 yards.

Allen connected with Ian Thomas on a 1-yard scoring pass and tacked on a meaningless touchdown in the closing minutes with a 1-yard dive.

BLAME GAME

Jackson, who was beaten on the long touchdown play, blamed the coaches for calling an all-out blitz that left the cornerbacks on their own.

''We sent everybody,'' he griped. ''Zero coverage. No help. Backed up. With a quarterback like that? I don't care if you're Champ Bailey or any of those cornerbacks on the 100 (greatest players in NFL history) list, that's a play that's hard to make for any guy. Especially with a quarterback like Matt Ryan.''

Jackson also criticized the coverage on Ridley's TD catch.

''Two horrible calls,'' Jackson said. ''Two horrible calls that we didn't call in those situations all week at practice.''

INJURY REPORT

Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant added another ailment to his injury plagued year.

Trufant went out in the first half with a forearm injury and didn't return. He already missed four games this season with a toe injury.

Ridley also left the game with abdominal pain, while the Panthers lost backup linebacker Marquis Haynes with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

Carolina: Return home next Sunday to face the Seattle Seahawks in the penultimate home game of the season.

Atlanta: Head west Sunday to meet the San Francisco 49ers, who are coached by former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Player Notes
Emmanuel Sanders Dec 8 6:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders recorded 157 yards and a touchdown on seven catches in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. He also threw a 35-yard touchdown pass. After battling a rib injury the past few weeks, Sanders looked fully healthy in Sundays shootout, leading the team in catches, targets and yards. His touchdown came on a 75-yard bomb in the second quarter when he smartly got up from the turf and raced to the house. His passing score came later in the quarter on a nifty trick play to running back Raheem Mostert. With the Niners clicking offensively, Sanders fantasy value appears supported despite the emergence of wideout Deebo Samuel and Mostert. Hell carry WR3 value in Week 15 against a weak Atlanta Falcons secondary.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Allen Dec 8 6:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen threw for 293 yards and a touchdown on 28-for-41 passing during the loss to the Falcons. He also had two interceptions and fumbled twice. After not throwing a pick in his first four games after taking over Cam Newton (foot), the 23-year-old now has 12 throughout his last seven games. Don't expect much from Allen moving ahead as the team enters survival mode to finish out the year.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Dec 8 6:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught four of six targets for 41 yards in a 20-15 win over the Washington Redskins. It didn't help that quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for only 195 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers' poor performance and game script are likely why Adams saw a season-low six targets after compiling double-digit opportunities from Rodgers in four straight contests. Adams will look to be more involved in Week 15 against the stingy Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Dec 8 6:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman toted just three carries for six yards in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. In a 48-46 thriller, Colemans second consecutive bust confirms that hes been sidelined for Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida. He was seen early in the game but not much afterwards. After accruing just 128 rush yards in his last six games, Coleman is impossible to start heading into Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons.

From RotoBaller

Vance McDonald Dec 8 6:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (concussion) left Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals for further testing and is listed as questionable to return. The 29-year-old caught his only target for three yards in the game, which is a disappointing performance against the defense who has allowed 13 touchdowns to tight ends. It will be interesting to see if he passes protocol before next Sunday's game against the Bills, where he would likely be a non-fantasy factor.

From RotoBaller

Auden Tate Dec 8 6:30pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate was forced to exit Sunday's loss to the Browns with an apparent knee injury. After recording his first and only catch of the game, the 22-year-old limped his way back to the locker room after initially being evaluated in the medical tent. Tate has been a semi-regular target for the team this year, logging 39 catches for 559 yards and a touchdown on 76 targets. While he wasn't a consistent source of production, he does have value in deeper leagues. Look for an update regarding his status for the Week 15 encounter with the Patriots, but if he is out, look for the recently-returned John Ross to serve as the primary beneficiary.

From RotoBaller

Willie Snead Dec 8 6:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead was having a below-average performance in Week 14's matchup with the Buffalo Bills before reeling in a four-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Snead caught 3-of-4 targets for a measly 13 yards but was quarterback Lamar Jackson's most impactful receiver in the game. If tight end Mark Andrews, who exited the game in the first quarter with a knee injury, is unable to go Thursday Night, Snead could see more involvement in the offense. Baltimore matches up against a Jets Defense in Week 15 that has been relatively vulnerable against opposing wide receivers in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Eifert Dec 8 6:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert caught all four of his targets for 49 yards during the loss to Cleveland on Sunday. After failing to surpass 21 receiving yards in each of his last four outings, this was one of the most efficient performances from the veteran on the year. Nonetheless, this season has still been a major disappointment for 29-year-old, with not much expected to change moving forward, especially in Week 15 against a rough Patriots Defense.

From RotoBaller

Mark Ingram Dec 8 6:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed for 50 yards on 15 carries in Week 14's win over the Buffalo Bills. Ingram added 29 yards on three receptions as a pass-catcher. The veteran struggled to break free, averaging 3.3 yards per carry with his longest gain being just nine yards. With Lamar Jackson clogging up the run game for Baltimore, it will be hard to view Ingram as anything more than a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets in Week 15. Ingram will look to bounce back next week against a Jets Defense that's allowing just 63 yards per game to opposing running backs in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 8 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams picked up 24 rushing yards on seven carries and failed to register a reception on one target. Williams played second fiddle to Aaron Jones, who exploded for 192 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. It's entirely possible that Williams, who was a late addition to the injury report on Thursday, was battling through a sore knee in this one. Perhaps that would explain why he was out-touched 22-seven by Jones. Still, Williams was in for 42 percent of the snaps, indicating that he'll maintain his role in the offense going forward. Williams and the Pack will take on the stingy Chicago Bears in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Dec 8 6:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had two catches for 28 yards during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. Ross made his return to the lineup for the first time since Week 4 after missing some time with a chest injury. The upside is there, but his outlook for the remainder of the season is less than favorable, especially in Week 15, against a problematic Patriots Defense. Nonetheless, he still has value in deeper formats for those who are looking for the 24-year-old to duplicate the success that he had through the first two weeks of the year.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Dec 8 6:00pm ET

The New York Jets Defense allowed plenty of yards to the Dolphins Sunday, but never let Miami in the end zone. The Dolphins scored all 21 of their points via the field goal and the Jets defense added an interception and two sacks for a mediocre fantasy day. Anyone using the Jets defense as a streamer may want to stop now ahead of a matchup vs MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the high-flying Ravens in Baltimore on a short week.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Yeldon Dec 8 6:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon was inactive for the seventh straight game in Week 14 against the Ravens. The Bills are rolling along with Devin Singletary and Frank Gore as their lone rushers. Singletary had a big game in Week 14, gaining 89 yards on the ground and another 29 yards through the air. Gore has been a decent No. 2 behind Singletary, despite struggling in Week 14. Yeldon has no business on fantasy radars at this point.

From RotoBaller

Hayden Hurst Dec 8 6:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst had his best performance of the season after Mark Andrews exited the game with a knee injury. Hurst caught all three of his targets for a season-high 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown in Baltimore's Week 14 win over the Buffalo Bills. If Andrews is unable to play Thursday Night, quarterback Lamar Jackson will likely heavily target tight ends Hurst and Nick Boyle. The Ravens face a Jets Defense in Week 15 that has held opposing tight ends to two touchdowns in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Sam Ficken Dec 8 6:00pm ET

New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken made three field goals on three attempts including a game-winning 44-yarder as time expired. Ficken also hit from 42 and 37 yards out. It wasn't all good for Ficken who only went 1-for-2 on extra points but he made the big kick when it counts. Ficken has been good for the Jets but there are better kicking options on better offenses to use in fantasy, especially with the Jets brutal remaining schedule.

From RotoBaller

Ty Montgomery Dec 8 5:50pm ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery rushed nine times for 31 yards and made three catches for 30 yards in a win over the Dolphins Sunday. As expected, Montgomery took a backseat to Bilal Powell in the absence of starter Le'Veon Bell (illness). Powell (ankle) left the game late, however, and the status of both running backs is up in the air for a Thursday night game in Baltimore. The Jets will provide an update on Bell and Powell Monday but if either is out Montgomery should have a role Thursday, albeit in a tough matchup at Baltimore.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews exited the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. Andrews caught 1-of-3 targets for 14 yards before heading to the locker room in the Ravens Week 14 win over the Bills. According to ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, Andrews' injury isn't considered serious and head coach John Harbaugh explained it could just be a bruise. Baltimore faces the Jets on Thursday Night in Week 15 and Andrews will likely be questionable going into the matchup.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught five of his six targets for 75 yards during the loss to Cleveland on Sunday. While he was still semi-productive from a fantasy standpoint, he was relegated to a lesser role by Joe Mixon, who had 23 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown. The 25-year-old had a touchdown in each of his last two games coming into Week 14 but failed to find the end zone in this one, and though he always has a shot to score, his outlook is less favorable than usual against a tough Patriots Defense in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 8 5:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones posted a season-high 134 rushing yards on 16 totes with a touchdown and caught six of seven targets for 58 receiving yards in a 20-15 win over the Washington Redskins. With game script on his side, Jones was fed the most touches since Week 8- and he responded by gashing the Redskins' run defense for 8.4 yards per carry. The 24-year-old was Green Bay's leading rusher and receiver. Jones also found his way back into the end zone for the first time since Week 10. Up next for the star running back is a Week 15 matchup with the stout Chicago Bears Defense.

From RotoBaller

Buffalo Bills Dec 8 5:50pm ET

The Bills Defense did a decent job of containing a potent Ravens offense in Week 14. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for just 145 yards in the game, his third-lowest output on the season, and his 40 rushing yards in the game were the fewest he's managed since Week 1. Unfortunately for the Bills defense, the Ravens were able to put three touchdowns and a field goal on the board in their 24-17 victory. The Ravens' 24 points were the second-most any team has scored on the Bills this year. The Bills were able to come up with an interception in the game, but they had only one sack. The Bills defense should be able to bounce back strong against the Steelers in Week 15.

From RotoBaller