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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Ryan, Falcons hand Panthers 7th straight loss, 24-10

Sun Dec 23 4:24pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Heinicke, Tevin Coleman, Christian McCaffrey, Calvin Ridley

Carolina Panthers' Taylor Heinicke (6) sits on the ground after being sacked against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu (12) runs past Carolina Panthers' Captain Munnerlyn (41) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu (12) runs past Carolina Panthers' Captain Munnerlyn (41) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons' Calvin Ridley (18) runs for a touchdown after a catch against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) looks to pass under pressure from Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly (59) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Carolina Panthers Kyle Allen (7) looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, right, argues a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Carolina Panthers' Donte Jackson (26) breaks up a pass to Atlanta Falcons' Calvin Ridley (18) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Ian Thomas (80) runs past Atlanta Falcons' Ito Smith (25) and Sharrod Neasman (41) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons' Tevin Coleman (26) runs against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) runs past Atlanta Falcons' Brian Poole (34) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Taylor Heinicke (6) holds his arm after being injured against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Taylor Heinicke (6) is examined after being injured against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Taylor Heinicke (6) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons' Grady Jarrett (97) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. Heinicke was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) is tackled by Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly (59) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass past Carolina Panthers' Mike Adams (29) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Atlanta Falcons' Mohamed Sanu (12) runs after a catch as Carolina Panthers' James Bradberry (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)


Carolina Panthers' Taylor Heinicke (6) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22) runs as Atlanta Falcons' Damontae Kazee (27) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton celebrates with Taylor Heinicke (6) after Heinicke's touchdown pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns, and the Atlanta Falcons handed Carolina Panthers their seventh straight loss and knocked their NFC South rivals out of playoff contention with a 24-10 win on Sunday.

Ryan found Calvin Ridley for a 75-yard touchdown strike on the first play of the second half for the go-ahead score. He also connected with Mohamed Sanu on a crossing route for a 44-yard score and threw a 1-yard TD pass to Julio Jones in the back of the end zone.

Ridley had three catches for 90 yards and Sanu had five grabs for 81 yards for the Falcons (6-9). Brian Hill had 115 yards on eight carries.

The Falcons intercepted Taylor Heinicke three times and forced four turnovers after allowing a touchdown on the game's opening possession. Heinicke, making his first NFL start for the injured Cam Newton, left the game briefly in the second quarter with a left elbow injury, but returned and was hit repeatedly by the Falcons.

He finished 33 of 53 for 274 yards with one touchdown.

Christian McCaffrey had 21 rushes for 101 yards and 12 receptions for 77 yards and set an NFL record for receptions in a season (106) by a running back.

He became the third running back in league history to record 100 receptions and 1,000 yards rushing in a season, joining LaDainian Tomlinson and Matt Forte. Next week at New Orleans, McCaffrey will have a chance to become only the third player to post 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving.

McCaffrey was pulled late in the fourth quarter to rest, marking the first time he's missed an offensive play since Week 9.

MORE FINES FOR REID?

Panthers safety Eric Reid has already been fined four times by the NFL for illegal hits and almost certainly will get a fifth letter in his locker next week. Reid was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ridley in the second quarter as Ridley tried to make a sliding catch.

Reid has been outspoken about the league drug-testing him six times in 11 weeks and fining him for four hits, one of which has already been overturned. Reid sued the NFL for collusion for keeping him out of the league because of his decision to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to protest racial and social injustice.

Reid knelt before Sunday's game.

KEEPING UP WITH JONES

Jones continued to be a problem for the Panthers. He came into the game averaging more than 100 yards in 12 career games against Carolina and didn't wait long to assert himself with four catches for 28 yards and 1-yard TD catch on Atlanta's first possession.

INJURIES

Falcons: Running back Tevin Coleman left the game with a groin injury in the second half and did not return with the Falcons up by two scores.

Panthers: Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Visit the Buccaneers next Sunday.

Panthers: Visit the Saints next Sunday.

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jaquiski Tartt Jan 20 8:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) aggravated his injured ribs during the NFC Championship game but should be available for Super Bowl LIV.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 7:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 6:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated shoulder during the NFC Championship game but had it popped back into place, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. The team is still waiting on the results from Coleman's MRI.

Fantasy Spin: Coleman could be a game-time decision for the game, so fantasy players should keep an eye on his status over the next few weeks. He could be a starting fantasy option if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 6:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has undergone an MRI on his injured shoulder, but the team is waiting for the results, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said Coleman has a chance to play in Super Bowl LIV.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on Coleman's practice participation over the new few weeks to see if he has a chance to play against the Kansas City Chiefs. He will be part of a committee at running back if he plays and could be a starting fantasy option.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Jan 20 4:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (rib) suffered a broken rib during the Divisional Round playoff game but continued to play in the game.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins could miss some offseason workouts but will be fine for the 2020 season. He is one of the top receivers in the NFL and will be an early round pick in fantasy drafts.

From TheHuddle

Logan Ryan Jan 20 4:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans impending free-agent CB Logan Ryan said he would be interested in re-signing with the Titans this offseason but does not know what will happen in free agency.

From TheHuddle

Marcedes Lewis Jan 20 4:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers impending free-agent TE Marcedes Lewis said he wants to continue his playing career and hopes to re-sign with the Packers this offseason because he felt comfortable with his role in head coach Matt LaFleur's offense.

From TheHuddle

Philip Rivers Jan 20 2:03pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers is set to become a free agent at the end of the league year and recently moved from San Diego to Florida in order to be closer to his family in Alabama. The combination of the two is fueling 'a lot of buzz' that Rivers may be a potential target for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.

From TheHuddle

Philip Rivers Jan 20 1:50pm ET

There has been buzz that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a possible landing spot for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who will become a free agent in March. After his worst season since 2007, the aging gunslinger is unlikely to re-sign with the Bolts, and he recently moved his family from San Diego to Florida to be closer to his extended family in Alabama. The 38-year-old might have a year or two left of football in him if he continues to play, but the 2019 season showed that he's near the end of the line. Rivers would only be an option for Tampa if they choose not to bring Jameis Winston back for at least another season after he led all of football in passing yards last season.

From RotoBaller

J.J. Watt Jan 20 1:10pm ET

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been fired, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has been promoted in his place, according to league sources. Houston's defense was a liability for most of the year, especially their leaky secondary. The Texans allowed 51 points and seven straight touchdown drives to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round loss. During the 2019 season, Houston's defense allowed 388.3 yards per game (fifth worst), 267.3 passing yards per game (fourth worst), 121.1 rushing yards a game and 24.1 points per game. Getting J.J. Watt back healthy for a full season will be a start to the Texans rebounding on defense under Weaver.

From RotoBaller

Luke Kuechly Jan 20 1:00pm ET

The Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow as their new defensive coordinator on Monday. Snow oversaw the defenses for Matt Rhule at both Baylor and Temple. He has 37 years of college coaching experience and has also served as a defensive coordinator at UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Boise State. Snow coached four seasons in the NFL with the Lions from 2005 to 2008 when he worked with the team's linebackers. Snow will lead a Carolina defense in 2020 that will be without All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who recently announced his retirement from football.

From RotoBaller

Jan 20 8:43am ET

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is not expected back in 2020. Defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is the top candidate to replace him.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 2:03am ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has a 'good chance' to be available for the Super Bowl, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

From TheHuddle

Jaire Alexander Jan 20 12:53am ET

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (thumb) suffered a broken thumb during the team's NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander is hopeful he won't need to undergo surgery.

From TheHuddle

Green Bay Packers Jan 19 11:50pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense recorded one sack and allowed 37 points in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers steamrolled past Green Bay's unit for 285 rushing yards and four rushing scores. To make matters worse, they couldn't generate much pressure or any turnovers. Despite the disappointing end, the Packers defense was much improved from last year, ranking 15th in sacks with 41 as well as third in interceptions with 17. They may not be among the top defenses drafted in 2020, though they should be on every fantasy managers' radar.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Jan 19 11:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham caught four of five targets for 59 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Graham was a big disappointment this season in a year filled with disappointing tight ends. The 33-year-old put up the lowest numbers since his rookie season and never really put together a good stretch of play until very recently. Graham has one year left on his contract worth about 7.5 million dollars. Given how much of a bust he was, perhaps Green Bay cuts ties with him and goes younger at the position in 2020.

From RotoBaller