The Panthers ended their four-game losing streak Sunday against the Falcons in a matchup where Carolina was able to hold Atlanta to just 213 total yards of offense. It was a largely disappointing outing for all facets of Arthur Smith’s squad, but the primary catalyst that rendered the offense useless was the porous offensive line.
Carolina’s defensive front dominated the Atlanta’s offensive line, but that wasn’t the only reason Atlanta was only able to muster 13 points. The offense couldn’t maintain drives as a group, only successfully converting three of ten third-down conversions. The run game was decently productive, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Even still, there was a tangible shift in the momentum that even Arthur Smith pointed out. In the fourth quarter, the Falcons were down 10-12 on a 3rd and two from the Carolina 27, Matt Ryan found Kyle Pitts for the would-be conversion, but the rookie phenom couldn’t hold on to the ball. Then, Younghoe Koo would come on to miss the field goal.
"We don't catch a third down. We miss a field goal." Arthur Smith said that momentum is real, and this was the moment he felt things start to take a turn.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) October 31, 2021
Just before the first divisional matchup with Carolina that could result in Atlanta being over .500 for the first time in a while, the Falcons reported that they would unexpectedly be without Calvin Ridley. Due to a personal matter, the star receiver put out a message in which he stated that he would be taking time away from football.
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) October 31, 2021
First and foremost, all respect should be given to Ridley in this challenging time; he should take all the time he needs to get his mental health in order. Still, the Falcons are dangerously thin at receiver with Ridley indefinitely gone from the team. All sights should still be set on winning, so the Falcons will have to find a way to replace him.
Terry Fontenot could elect to acquire a wideout through trade, but that would require giving up some draft capital, which this team needs every bit of. Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks voiced his displeasure recently, and could be made available. DeSean Jackson is also available as Los Angeles looks to find a trade partner. Jake mentioned Brandon Aiyuk of the 49ers as a potential option.
Albert Breer noted the following could be available for trade in his Friday GamePlan column: Dolphins DeVante Parker; Giants Darius Slayton; Cardinals WR Andy Isabella. Josh Reynolds of the Titans could also be a potential target for the Falcons. There are many names the Falcons could bring in, but more than likely, they will roll with what they have; which means some combination of Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus, and Tajae Sharpe to fill the snap void.